Most of my writing efforts this year have been focussed on editing, and while I haven’t managed to keep it up every single day, I’ve definitely done a lot more across the year than I have previously. But now it’s time to put that aside for a month, as National Novel Writing Month is upon us once more.
I had several potential ideas, which I eventually narrowed down to the next instalment in my historical series (a direct continuation of last year’s NaNoWriMo) and a story about dinosaurs. When I struggled to decide, I did my tried-and-tested method of going for a walk to somewhere quiet and green, and meditating on the issue to see which idea had the stronger pull. The result was that the dinosaur idea won out – but I had no idea what the plot would be; I just thought that it would be fun to write about dinosaurs after the concept has been on my ideas list for so long.
So first I did some brainstorming by asking myself, ‘What do I want to see in this story?’ This included such concepts as the characters encountering dinosaurs in both their natural habitat and the present day, and a list of particular dinosaurs and prehistoric settings, as well as a few ideas that fell more within the science-fiction area. Once I had established the method by which humans and dinosaurs would be brought together, I had to lay down ground rules and look for potential queries that needed to be addressed. What I ended up with felt like too much for one story, which means more projects for future NaNoWriMos or Camp NaNoWriMos – but with follow-up stories in mind, I would still need to figure out a three-act structure, conflict and resolution for this initial story for it to be satisfying. Using the Snowflake Method, I was able to pull together a decent plan. The characters, meanwhile, are a mix of fresh faces, characters I initially came up for an unfinished story many years ago, and characters I’ve had in my head for a while without having a proper story for.
Having already completed NaNoWriMo so many times, and knowing what kind of prep I usually need to get through it, I was able to get all the necessary groundwork laid down by the middle of October. Now I feel ready to just jump in come the first of November. It should be fun!