NaNoWriMo. It stands for ‘National Novel Writing Month’, though it’s not really national anymore – it’s a global event. The way it works is quite simple: you create an account at nanowrimo.org, add a bit of info about yourself (as much as you feel comfortable sharing), add details about the novel you intend to write (title, description, cover if you have one, that sort of thing) and then get ready for November 1st, when everything kicks off.
Here’s the details I put in about the novel I’m writing:
As with writing any novel, it’s vital to be prepared before you begin. Thankfully, most of my characters had already been in the first novel, Montgomery’s Trouble in the Underworld, and I had written a detailed plot plan seven months beforehand, so the majority of my planning had already been done.
That said, there were still a few things left to sort out, including details for new characters, Underworld maps and a few plans for those discussions where five or more people were going to be involved (such as when Montgomery is talking with the nine members of the Novaristee and the leader of another city – eleven people all needing to get a chance to be heard!)
In my series of posts called, A Novel Observed, I explained some of these areas of planning. Here are some links for more details:
- Creating a concept
- Fleshing out main characters
- Putting together a plot plan
- Setting the Scene
- Choosing what ‘voice’ to use
Joining a Region
One of the best things about NaNoWriMo is knowing that you’re not alone as you struggle away to reach 50k (yes, of course it rhymes – I may sell it as a new motto.) There are thousands of others around also busy trying to forge piles of words into the general shape of a novel, all in the same 30 days (aka November).
That’s a lot of people!
And a lot of words!
This being the case, it’s worth shrinking this ocean of fellow writers down to more of a pond, or maybe a lake, by joining a region. On the NaNoWriMo website, click on the ‘My Region’ menu and select ‘Find a Region’, where you’ll see a vast list of possible regions, and a ‘Closest Region to Me’ (which uses your current location). Join it.
I’m a member of the Southampton region, and on their region page, it shows who the ML is (that’s a Municipal Liaison, which is basically a volunteer coordinator – more info here), has any notes and info about the region, a calendar, regional forum posts and a link to the Southampton Wrimos Facebook group.
This last one is the most important as it’s here you can get in touch with other Wrimos in your region, give and receive encouragement, shout about how well you’re doing and whine about how hard it’s going. It works well and you really get to feel like you’re part of something going on in your area.
Next time: getting started and keeping going with your NaNoWriMo marathon…