This year is my first time doing NaNoWriMo. Through all of the youtube videos, crash course blogs, and twitter posts surrounding the challenge, i almost feel like i’ve done it before! But the antsy anticipation is catching up to me, I am so ready to get started… but also a little nervous. But I have to remind myself this is FUN, for ENJOYMENT. I found a topic and plotted a story idea that i genuinely feel deeply for, and today i’m sharing all the processes that worked for me to plot this novel.
First off, a notebook. I wanted to create three notebooks for the character, plot/setting, and synopsis/query work, but no. I stuck to one notebook, color coordinated the tabs, and that was the best decision. All of my thoughts are in one place, and it is so nice. Creating more than one notebook definitely would have overwhelmed me.
Next, I started by brainstorming topics I am interested in and thinking about what books I thoroughly enjoyed in the past. I’ve heard from many creators and writers that the first novel should always be about something you like. Don’t follow trends (not that i would do that anyways), but for the sake of finishing the writing and staying engaged throughout, stick to ideas you love. And that’s what I did.
After brainstorming for a little while, I started to develop the main character. I focused on that one character for a while, and then slowly started to branch off of it, creating the family, friends, and surrounding low developed characters. From the characters, I found bits and pieces of traits and features from real life people I know to intertwine with my fictional ones to create a more realistic physic to them mentally and physically.
I chose a real city to avoid having to create a fictional land and complex setting development, which helped the flow of my story build up go much smoother. It is a city I also love, which made the story that much easier to imagine and create within.
Avoiding a soggy middle is my biggest goal, I have seen a lot of authors talk about this and so developing the stakes, plot, character arc, and conflicts were super important to me. It has taken the most time for this, but as I go along I think of more ways for this or that to happen or enter the story, and it is like a constant elevator.
The biggest thing I have learned is to be ok with change. Your initial ideas will not stay the same. Coming up with new ideas made me anxious because it had me change some scenes but in the end it makes the story that much better. So trust the process.
Overall, starting a month early for story brainstorming was the best idea. It has given me plenty of time to go at it, sit back, and develop a new world. I am so excited to write this story and hopefully one day you can read it!