Nanowrimo will be here soon, so I thought I’d write an article about nanoplamo, or national novel planning month. This goes hand in hand with nanowrimo, and in my mind is the absolute key to successfully completing the challenge.
If you are completely baffled by all these nano words, then you might want to check out this article about what nanowrimo is and why it’s useful and / or this article about nanowrimo success.
A step by step nanoplamo!
Step one – get your tools in order
By tools I would include:
A place to work – preferably somewhere to call your own, where you can leave your stuff permanently, but if this isn’t an option, then at least a get a box where you can pack up all your nanoplamo / nanowrimo related things and keep them together.
Computer / software – unless you write on paper (in which case you must be insane), you’ll need a decent, reliable computer and somewhere to back up your work. All you really need for the writing itself is Word and a folder system for putting notes on various things in – but if you’re like me and hate spending time on admin when you could be writing, you might want to consider some dedicated novel writing software – and as you might imagine (because we built it) we would recommend The Novel Factory.
A moleskin notebook / app – while you’re immersed in your novel planning (and writing), lots of things you see in the rest of your life will give you ideas, and unless you have a photographic memory, you’ll need somewhere to note them down. A pocket sized notebook or an app on your phone is perfect (I use iA Writer on the iPhone).
Research materials – if you are setting your novel in a particular time or place, then borrow some books from the library on the period (or buy them from if you prefer – try Green Metropolis for ethical and cheap) and have them in lovely inspiring piles around your workplace for dipping into.
Step two – make a plan
You should have a plan of action for what you need to have achieved by whatever day of the month. It may look something like this:
Day one – write your premise
Day two – sketch out the rough overall plot
Day three – outline main characters
If you don’t want to work all of the steps out from first principles, then The Novel Factory includes exactly this step by step guide, or as we like to call it - Roadmap. You can read more about the Novel Factory Roadmap without having to download the software (which is free to try anyway) here.
Step three – follow the plan!
If you’ve followed steps one and two, then you’re in a good position to get started, and all you have to do now is have the willpower and determination to follow it through. And if your plan is in good shape before the 1st of November, then you’ll be in much better shape to get that first draft knocked out in one month.