Hi everyone! Many writers know that November is referred to as NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month. NaNoWriMo is a virtual event that takes place globally, where the goal of all participating writers is to write 50,000 words in 30 days. I’ll be participating in NaNoWriMo next month, so I’ve been using October, otherwise known as “Preptober,” to prepare for NaNoWriMo. I thought it might be helpful for other writers to hear some of the ways I’ve been prepping, since I have participated in NaNoWriMo (and won) twice before.
First, I have been working on creating a rough outline for Book 2 in my psychological thriller series, which will be the sequel to my debut novel, The Long Shadow on the Stage. This involved writing a few key points that I want to happen in Book 2, as well as writing a brief overview of the overall story arc. I already knew how I wanted the book to start, decided tentatively how I think it will end, and planned a few scenes that will help the plot progress to the ending I’m currently envisioning.
Additionally, I wrote character bios for all the main characters and a few new characters that I plan on introducing. The character bios don’t go into a lot of detail, but provide details like personality traits, a description of the character’s appearance, information about their family and occupation, and what their purpose is or how they are involved in the story. This was also the perfect opportunity for me to name my characters, which is something I ordinarily struggle with. I did my name research beforehand this time, so hopefully these names end up sticking!
This month, I also started reading Save the Cat! Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody. Although I have read several books about the craft of writing and proper spelling, punctuation, and grammar, I have never read any books that provide a specific “formula” for writers to follow when outlining their book. I haven’t finished reading Save the Cat! Writes a Novel yet, but it has already helped me with several small breakthroughs and realizations about how Book 2 in my psychological thriller series needs to be structured. I’m sure that once I finish reading the book, completing the suggested writing exercises, and following the “15 Beats,” my outline will be much better and I will be in a great place to start writing the first draft.
Please comment below if you’re a writer participating in Preptober and NaNoWriMo and let me know your tips for preparing for NaNoWriMo as well! I always love hearing how other writers plan and plot their novels and learning new techniques I can try.