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.