100 Days of Writing – Day 24
How handy is it that NaNoWriMo falls bang in the middle of the 100 Day Writing Challenge? For those of you not familiar with it, the objective is to write 50,000 words or the first draft of a novel throughout November. It’s a global thing, and anybody can take part. Hey, go on, sign up! Let’s do it together! With only 26 days to go, now is the time to plan your arse off so that in November it’s just write, write, write.
I’m going to use NaNoWriMo as an opportunity to finish the first draft of Book 2. So far I’ve been plodding along with it, semi-happy, working from the original idea but not really following any specific plot outline. And that’s been the problem. The plodding and the non-specific outline are directly related. I’ve know this for a while but have chosen to ignore it and carry on, despite not loving the direction the story has been taking or the way the characters are developing.
Because planning is so BORING.
Yes. Boring it is. But it’s also so very very NECESSARY.
So yesterday, with a bit of a face on, I sat down with a pen and paper (I know!) to write a detailed outline of the book from start to finish. But then, in a head-slapping moment of clarity, I remembered a brilliant technique that an author taught me while I was writing my first novel:
Start at the middle and work from there. The theory being that the mid-point should be the turning point – even the ACTUAL point – of the entire book. It’s a solid technique that keeps you on your toes and makes your plot structure really sound.
If you want to give it a go, there are lots of books on the subject. The one I’ve found to be most helpful is ‘Write Your Novel From The Middle by James Scott Bell.
Whatever your writing style, however you like to plan, the general advice is DO IT. The NaNoWriMo website also has lots of tips on how to get ahead of the game.
Of course outlining is just the beginning. Suggested next steps: 1. complete scene list ; 2. full character analysis and 3. details of setting/location.
Happy plotting, people.