Preparing for NaNoWriMo

When NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) begins on November 1st, are you ready to sit down and begin your novel? Is this your first time participating? Is it your fifth? Do you not have any clue as to what you’re actually planning to write? That’s okay, I have a checklist to make certain you’re caught up in the preparation process.

Plotting a pacing out your novel will help you to keep on target. Getting through the introductory portion of the novel, I feel, is the hardest. But the middle can be quite the slog, especially if you have no idea when your novel is going to pick back up. What helps me to get through that? Having the book planned out chapter by chapter. This also makes certain that the lulls between action doesn’t last too long, making the audience bored.

Having character profiles and, in some cases, sketches sorted out ahead of time can greatly benefit you as an author. If you already have these ready to go then you won’t get stuck during writing (at least for not very long!), because all you’ll need to get going again is to look over your character profile to make sure you got his eye color or her height correct when you referenced it just barely. This helps you to understand and visualize your character easier, thus not stopping to figure out whether he’s got brown hair or blond, or whether or not she has freckles.

Untitled novels can still be completed, but it’s a lot harder to tell someone about your novel if you don’t have a title for it. During November there will be countless friends and family members asking what you’re up to. Another plus, other than ease of communication, is that potential audiences will remain interested if you have a title. If you tell them about it, they ask what it’s called and you stutter and stumble over saying it doesn’t have a name yet, they think it’s further from completion than it actually might be. You can monopolize on their interest with a title, making them think it’s closer to being on book shelves than it actually is. It’s handy and it makes talking about your story that much easier.

Summarizing your novel into one cute little synopsis (like NaNo suggests) is actually a really great idea! If you can figure out what your novel is about ahead of time it will keep you writing until the very end—more people will ask questions about your novel and want to know about it. If it’s a well written synopsis then it will draw people in to say it sounds interesting and they want to read it (when can they read it?). It always helps to spur you on knowing that people want to read it even as you’re writing it.

A book cover isn’t a necessary element, but as statistics have shown in the past NaNo’s, books with covers become winners 60% more often. If you’re interested in both completing your novel during NaNo as well as having a pretty cool cover to show everyone (it’s almost like your book’s already out!) I suggest investing the time (and in some cases) the money in it. There are a couple of ways to go about it: creating one yourself which may mean getting permission from models, photographers or artists to use their work in such a way, or it may mean going out and taking your own pictures, drawing your own piece, etc. This way takes a lot more time and energy on your part in which you might lose interest or not have it done before NaNo begins. Another way is to pay someone else to create a book cover through graphic design, photography or their chosen art medium. You have plenty of people and prices to choose from this way and it’s a better means for people who aren’t artistically inclined in such a way or don’t have the time to invest in it.

Hopefully this checklist has helped you to figure out where you’re at with NaNoWriMo. If you have questions or just want me to cover one of the topics more in depth, feel free to comment below. I love hearing back from my readers! Good luck with the 2014 NaNoWriMo!

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