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National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) Prep #NaNoPrep

NaNoOriginally published October 2013

Preparing to write a manuscript in a month can be a daunting prospect—especially if you aren’t prepared. So let’s get prepped!

Creating a Story Bible Step 1—Pick Your Poison (or Software)

    Something that all writers (should) do is to keep a “bible” for your book/series (even more important in the case of a series) in order to keep up with all the trivial—and not-so-trivial—details going on.

Creating Your Story Bible—What Do Your Main Characters Look Like?

    If you haven’t already done so, it’s time to put the full description of each of your main (POV) characters into your story bible.

Get Your Characters into SHAPE | KayeDacus.comCreating Your Story Bible—Getting Your Characters into SHAPE

    Here’s the easiest way to remember how to do your prep work when it comes to character development. Get your characters into S.H.A.P.E.

Setting the Scene in Your Story Bible

    Add a section for Settings to your story bible. I say to add a “section” because there are various aspects to setting that need to be explored/recorded, and you’re going to need more than a “page” for this part (and probably a whole lot more than just one day).

Propping Up Your Story Bible

    We aren’t necessarily “showing” every single prop in every single scene. But it is important to know where things are, whether or not you’re mentioning them every single time your character is in the same location.

Dressing Up your Story Bible

    Whether you’re writing ancient Rome, Regency England, Mars Colony circa 2445, or a world of your own making, your characters will, in most cases, need some kind of garments to wear. And even if you’re writing contemporary, you still need to figure out what is in your characters’ wardrobes. Because what they wear says a lot about them.

Adding Secondary and Minor Characters to Your Story Bible

    This section will grow as you write your story and as incidental (or not so incidental) characters pop up in scenes. It always happens.

Creating a Style Sheet

    These are SOOOOOOOO helpful, not just to an editor, but also for yourself both in your revision process and as you go forward in a series so you can maintain consistency in the way you do things.

Figuring Out What Your Story’s “About” Before You Start Writing (writing blurbs, synopses)

    One of the essential ingredients in pre-planning your writing in order to be able to churn out a high word count in a short time span is to know what your story is about before you start writing.

Taking Pre-Planning Your Story a Step (or Seven) Further with an Outline and/or Synopsis

    The easiest way to write a full synopsis—as well as to have a good structure for planning your story—is to use some kind of outline structure.

Draft Writing vs. Regular Writing

    One thing that can make a writing marathon like NaNoWriMo discouraging and make writers want to give up is the failure to realize the difference between draft writing and regular writing.

Setting Daily Word-Count Goals and Tracking Your Progress

    Two main things that can really help motivate you (or discourage you) when you’re participating in a marathon writing challenge are setting daily word-count goals and then tracking your progress.

Quick Reference Resources for NaNo or other Writing Marathons

    Here are some quick-click reference resources that you can bookmark to allow you to look something up quickly and then get right back to writing.

What If You Get Stuck or Blocked?

    What if you did gangbusters the first day or two and you’re sitting at about 3,300 words? What if you’ve lost interest in your story or characters? What if your motivation just disappeared?

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