NaNoWriMo — are you ready?

NaNoWriMo is just around the corner. It started as a small idea and has grown into an international movement. But every year, I see people after a few days or weeks announce to the world that they haven’t been able to get into it. This is all because of one thing -

They were not ready.

It is really tempting to turn up on November 1st and expect to walk straight into writing a novel. That’s what the movement advertises, doesn’t it? Nope. November is all about the writing. The time before that is where the planning happens. Don’t walk into this unprepared. You wouldn’t do it in any other walk of life — your writing is far too important for that.

What planning do I need?

If you sign up for an idea that tells you there is a novel inside you — and this can come out in only 30 days — then you can get hooked on the timeline idea. But the writing isn’t all of the work needed to write a novel. It took me several months to write my first novel David’s Goliath, and then some time after that to edit it.

We’ll skip thinking too long and hard about the editing at the moment. The premise of the month is to get the core of a novel written.

But before writing, you need some structure. There are only a couple of days left, so I suggest we look at the most important parts that will get you ready for NaNoWriMo -

1. Set out a storyline. This should be a structure of what happens — from start to finish.

2. Think about any twists or turns in the novel. Creating tension will help people engage with what you write.

3. Develop your characters. Write down what they look like, what they stand for.

4. Then develop the relationships between characters. This will make your novel feel real. Interactions between people happen in the real world — they need to happen in your novel.

5. Develop ideas about the locations you will use. You need to know these places inside out, so you can guide your readers through them.

These are 5 key areas that you should plan, map out and write down in preparation for writing your novel. Don’t scrimp on the preparation and you can be one of the people with success stories from the month, rather than joining those that tried and fell.

Good luck!

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