Writing the Novel – Thinking about NaNoWriMo

I found out about NaNoWriMo a while ago thanks to Ishana’s blog Resplendence. The objective is to write a 50.000 word novel from scratch in one month’s time. I have set it as one of my writing goals for the coming period. I have some ideas for a novel in my head, so I guess now is as good a time as any to actually start writing it.

The working title for the story picked is “The Reluctant Prophet.” It’s an idea for a fantasy story I already have for a couple of years, and it has gone through many transformations in my head since then. I will hopefully be work a lot on the structure in October. All I have now is the beginning, most of the main characters and a general idea what the story is about. I’m not even entirely sure about the scope yet. For example, how much of the past events should I reveal in the novel, e.g. in the form of flashbacks. Or do I reveal past events in a natural way as the plot moves along? So there is really a lot of work left to do.

I’m also not sure about the method yet. I am quite curious about the Snowflake method (thanks again to Ishana!), so I will explore that. I’m also currently rereading The Seven Basic Plots by Christopher Booker (read it, it’s available on Google Books as well!). It’s not really a method, but it does contain a lot of theoretical ideas on how stories are structured, and what kinds of stories there are. It also describes the 5 phases of a story, so I will also use that as a sort of guide. I will also explore the 3 acts – 3 disasters structure in more detail (it’s getting predictable, but again, thanks to Ishana :)). Finally of course, I hope the workshop I am currently following will help me write different characters more effectively. I’m afraid all my characters sound a bit too similar at the moment.

As a 50.000 word novel is nothing to sneeze at, especially for a beginner, I also need to think about how to keep track of all the characters, scenes and plot developments. I will work them out first with pen and paper, but I need something better than Word to store and organize them. FreeMind could be an option, as the concept of mind mapping does sound interesting, though I would first need to learn how the program works. I was going to experiment with it for documentation purposes at work, but somehow I didn’t get around to doing it.If I’m going to use the Snowflake method, there is a software package called Snowflake Pro, which also seems like a very intriguing option. But I’m probably going to try using MediaWiki at first. I’m already somewhat familiar with working with a wiki (relatively speaking, at least), and I find it to be very useful. In case you were wondering: yes, I am planning to use a wiki solution for documentation purposes at work. I don’t know if it is the right tool to keep track of my plot, but I will experiment with it and post my experiences with it. And maybe I will try out the other programs anyway in the future, if just for comparison’s sake.


Filed under NaNoWriMo

3 responses to “Writing the Novel – Thinking about NaNoWriMo

  1. I am interested in your findings as to which tool helps most efficiently in organizing characters and plot. Good Luck in Nablopomo.

  2. I’m glad to see another writer on the WriMo train! As for using a wiki for documentation, I’ve found that it’s a good system for taking notes, since you can link pages for easier navigation (definitely a plus as the story grows more complex).

  3. Yeah, I really think the Wiki should work great. Maybe I’ll try to replicate the snowflake method in wiki, if possible.

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