I’m making a deal with myself that I can do this year’s NaNoWriMo as long as I don’t freak out and go all Type-A (“50,000 words? Pah! I shall write more, more I say!”)

No.

I need to chill. Fifty thousand words in a month is enough.

But, here’s the thing. I have done nothing to prepare – yet. (What can I say? I’ve been busy!)

So, this weekend is going to be dominated by a frenzied attempt to come up with an outline. I’m lucky, I know the characters, I know the background stories – I mean it’s book three of a series if I don’t know these things by now there’s something wrong with me.

This weekend I need to gather my few, random notes (and my equally random wits) and focus.

You don’t need to go into November with a grand plan, plenty of people wing it. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t tempted by the thought of just writing whatever came into my head. But, eventually, I want to publish these stories, and you better believe that the rewrite process is a pain in the behind even when you’ve got a properly thought out draft to work with. I don’t need the extra work.

So, this weekend, I need to:

  • Read book two.
  • Decide what the story will focus on.
  • Choose my viewpoint characters.
  • Make sure I character sketch any new characters.
  • Complete world building for any new environments.
  • Start writing a storyline with an ordered scene list.

In past NaNoWriMo’s I’ve used a method from The Marshall Plan for Novel Writing to plan scene distribution. While I know it’s important to ensure the main character has the most scenes, I also know that I need to be pretty flexible with this.

I’m not going write a scene from a certain viewpoint just because I need to fill that character’s scene quota. I think most scenes need to be seen through the eyes of the character it affects the most – unless it’s better for the story to let it be told from a different perspective.

Planning is great, and for me it’s an important part of getting through November, but sometimes you just have to follow the story.