As of this posting, it’s the third day of NaNoWriMo, in which a slew of crazy-crazies try to write a 50,000 word novel by the end of the month. Time is limited, so every day matters…which means I’m in a little bit of trouble. Because also as of this posting, I’m in the middle of my Disney World trip, and I just know I am doing little, if any, writing.
To prepare myself for this, I decided to spend a lot more time plotting out this novel than I normally do. This way, I figure, I won’t get hung up on wrong turns in the story, and that I’ll know enough about what’s coming next to motor me through to the next scene. We’ll see if this helps me with my writing speed next month. But definitely one thing it’s helping me do: visualize my whole story.
I’ve generally been a pantser with my writing, coming up with a few vague ideas and then running with the story from there. I’ll scribble down future plot ideas in notebook margins as I go, but I rarely spend time figuring out the big twists and turns my character will take. I love doing this — I stumble across awesome ideas this way — but I’m also super likely to crash into a wall, or spend all day on a tangent only to scratch it all out and drop my head on the desk.
Not that I don’t think I’ll do some of these things with an outline — a couple of bullet points can look awesome, while the paragraph itself is garbage. And it’s not as if I plan on having every single detail hammered out; there’s still plenty of room for my character to walk into this house, talk to this stranger on the street.
But I know what my beginning is; my middle has a gelatinous form; my ending is a mountain peak that I can see in the distance against the sky. My story has a shape, vague as it is, and while I know I have the freedom to change every point on a whim, it’s comfortable knowing that I have a path, that I’m very excited about, laid out ahead of time.
Other WriMos: how do you do it? Do you write by the seat of your pants? Or do you plot out your novel meticulously?