National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) starts November 1st and I can’t wait to bring the story of Emerson Page to life in Where the Light Enters. In 30 days, tens of thousands of writers will band together and make a pledge to each write 50,ooo words in 30 days. I’ve wanted to participate for years, and now that I’ve made the leap to write full-time, I can do this. Here’s how I’m preparing to make the most of those 30 days:
Though I’m a big fan of free writing, when I have a specific goal and deadline, I always use an outline. It helps me to see how the pieces I have hang together and identify the gaps I need to fill. I build a flexible structure with plot points, story arcs, and scene sketches. Though I’m an auditory learner, I’m a sensory writer. I see a picture, hear a line of dialogue, pay attention, and try to get it all down with as much authenticity as possible. My notes are fairly free form, and then I go back and pull from them to build the outline brick by brick. It’s like doing a pencil outline of a painting and then layering the color onto the canvas one stroke at a time.
I love research. It’s one of my favorite parts of writing, and the research often leads me to new options and ideas for the story. Because of research, my final story often changes significantly from the idea seed that I originally planted and that’s as it should be. We make the best decisions we can with the information we have. As we get more information, we naturally adjust to make more informed choices.
Character and relationship development
My stories always begin with an individual. This person has something to say, something to do, and somewhere to go. I just tag along and ask questions. I imagine myself interviewing them. I show them my outline of their story and take their input. I walk around trying to see the world with their eyes. I get to know them. They become family to me, and eventually I find that a part of me is embedded in each of them no matter how different we may seem. I’m also fascinated by the relationships between characters. I like to put them into uncomfortable situations together and let them run wild to see where they’ll take the story. I play the guide on the side and let them steer the ship. I grab a front row seat to record the action.
Editing, marketing, and publication plan
I’m very serious about taking this story through its paces. I’ve spoken to an editor I plan to hire once I have a solid draft. Emerson Page is on social media and engaging with her community, and I hope to have the book’s website up and running by November 1st. I’m doing research on book marketing as well as the agent and publishing company query processes. This is where my business experience comes in handy. This book is a product so I’m able to comfortably wear my product development hat with ease and excitement. This piece is as much fun for me as writing the book!
Are you participating in NaNoWriMo? I’d love to hear how you’re preparing for the challenge. Let’s connect!