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#NaNoWriMo Prep: Preparing for Old-Fashioned Writing by Hand | #amwriting #NaNo2018

Sunday, October 28, 2018

NaNoWhen I was writing books under contract, I did it mainly on the computer—whether at the desk or with a laptop in bed or out at a coffee shop or library. But when I first started writing—and when I would get creatively stuck—I always turned to pen and paper. Getting away from the computer (and, by extension, all the distractions on the computer and Internet), enables me to tap into my creative side in a way that typing doesn’t.

Preparing to Write without Technology

One thing I really want to do during November is take the time at least a couple of times each week to write remotely—away from home. But I don’t want to have to feel obligated to take the laptop with me. Instead, I’d rather take a notebook to write in—but if I do that, I wouldn’t have access to things like the characters’ backstories, the list of locations/businesses in my fictional setting, my hand-drawn map of the city, and so on.

One of the first things I did was pull up the final manuscripts of the three previous novels in the Bonneterre series. I searched for Jenn’s and Clay’s names and copied/pasted the lines or scenes in which they were mentioned or appeared into a new document. I then printed everything I’d written last time I tried working on their story. I went back into the archived folder from back then and put together a couple of collages of ’shopped photos in which I put the two templates together and pulled up the fake book cover I created (I use Corel PaintShop Pro) and printed those. Then, I printed and filled in my calendars.

Putting My Longhand Writing Notebook Together

I put everything together in a three-ring binder, along with plenty of blank college-ruled notebook paper. Then I started adding all the pieces:

Month-at-a-glance calendar for tracking words

Week-at-a-glance schedules (and the fake book cover)

A collage of my templates and the story summary I posted on the NaNo site, followed by everything that I pulled from when I tried writing this story five years ago. And, yes, I printed everything in a handwriting-style font on regular notebook paper.

My hand-drawn map of Bonneterre and list of business/setting names.

Background info for the characters (from my story bible).

All mentions and scenes from Stand-In Groom, Menu for Romance, and A Case for Love.

Assignment: What kind of “kit” can you put together that will help you to write without the assistance of technology?

One Comment
  1. taylorsl83 permalink
    Monday, October 29, 2018 1:10 pm

    It’s funny, I set up the story bible but I still prefer to do the story work-up (any planning) by hand and then type it up afterward. So I’m lucky in that it will already be in a notebook. I see myself doing something more like what you’ve done when it comes to additional books in the series though! 🙂


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