(2 and 1/2 minute read)
It’s almost time for Nanowrimo, the National Novel Writing Month, held for the whole month of November! If you’ve never written a novel before, or need some help getting organised, the process can be daunting. I’ve come up with 5 helpful tips to get you prepared and feeling boss-confident for the writing ahead:
#1 – Define the story you want to work on with a simple “what if” statement.
The first step is to come up with an idea to work into a novel! Most of my story ideas start off as a “what if’? I’ve heard many other writers say the same thing. To give you an example, my Bloodworth Family paranormal romance series started with the following “what if” question:
What if a witch and vampyre fell in love?
See how basic that is? That’s the point. You want to keep it simple for now. Let this question roll around in your head for a couple of days then:
#2 – Expand that statement into a paragraph (3-5 sentences) and notes.
If you’ve kept the question in your mind, it should have started to take some more definite shape. Characters might have started “talking” to you. A setting might have popped up. Or several plot points could have flashed forward. Now is the moment to write it down. Expand on your “what if” statement to make it a “what if” paragraph. Mine looked something like this:
What if a witch who is destined to kill vampyres due to a family curse starts having premonitions about a handsome vampyre? What if she meets the vampyre and discovers he has been having visions of her? What if the more they get to know each other, the more they fall in love? What if there is a war between the vampyres and witches?
This gives you a lot more detail, doesn’t it? It also provides something more solid for you to work with come Nanowrimo. Don't stop there. Continue to jot down any insights regarding character, setting, and plot that come to you over the coming days and weeks.
You have your story organised. Next, you need to get yourself prepared.
#3 – Plan your words
How many words do you want to write? The standard for Nanowrimo is 50,000 words, but you can set whatever goal you want. The only proviso I would suggest is making it realistic yet challenging. If it is too easy, you might give up; if it is too hard, you might give up. This is where balance and knowing yourself comes in handy. Figure out your words then decide on the days you can realistically (again) commit to it. Then, divide the words by the days each week you plan to write. This gives you your DWC (daily word count). The following is an example for 40,000 words by the end of the month:
40,000 words divided by 5 days per 4 weeks of Nanowrimo (i.e. 20 days)
= 2,000 words per day.
Now that you know your DWC, you can:
#4 – Plan your time
Writers, aspiring and established, are also known as professional procrastinators. They will find any excuse to avoid writing. That is why you are going to grab a calendar and mark on it blocks of time when you are going to sit down and write.
#5 – Gather your tools
Make sure your computer is ready, you have copious amounts of pens and paper, and all your reference guides (dictionary, grammar book, thesaurus, fiction/non-fiction writing books, etc) are within reach.
N.B. I am giving away a paperback copy of “Save The Cat! Writes A Novel” to one lucky (Australian) member of my LOVELEIGHS CLUB this month . . . just in time for Nanowrimo! To enter, simply join the club here: www.fallinlovewithleigh/loveleighs
You are now prepared and (should be feeling) like a boss to tackle Nanowrimo. :-)
Let me know how you went in the comments below.
Yours in love and romance books,
A.K. Leigh xo
About A.K. Leigh
A.K. Leigh is an international-selling romance author, identical triplet, writing instructor, incurable romantic, love guru, self-love advocate, amateur mystic, mother, sometimes blogger and vlogger, and trauma survivor.