What Does NaNoWriMo Have in Common with Baseball? by Carol Malone

Fight Card: Ladies NightPlease welcome author and book coach in training Carol Malone. Today she’s sharing her article on what NaNoWriMo has in common with baseball. Enjoy!


As I was sitting in my favorite chair in my family room watching the Chicago Cubs beat the snot out of the Los Angeles Dodgers – my team – during the fourth National League Championship game, I thought how similar NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month – is to playing baseball, and more particularly, the World Series. I know you’re probably scratching your head and thinking, Carol’s anxiety over the Dodgers’ losses has caused her to flip out. Comparing baseball to NaNo, that’s ludicrous. Maybe, but hear me out.

If you participate in NaNo, you’ll understand how difficult it is to keep writing every day all month. 

For the first two years I participated in NaNo, I won, of course, but it was hard work because I didn’t prepare beforehand and sometimes I had to stop and look stuff up before I could continue writing. It wasn’t smooth. I thought I could jot down a couple of character names and a brief description of each, with a quick setting, and plunge right in. No real prep before I started to write. I was a true pantser. I thought the creativity of pantsing would be lessened by too much preparation and plotting. And though I won, the manuscripts were far less than desired. Of course, there was good stuff in them, but if I’d only prepared first, I could have had something really special, like my third and fourth manuscripts.

What was different about my third and fourth NaNo writing experiences?

For my third and fourth novel writing experiences, I joined Beth Barany’s course, “Plan Your Novel,”  a month-long workshop dedicated to the preparation of story ideas, writing methods, world-building, and outlining to assist you in writing your novel in November as easily as possible. When I put in the work during Beth’s workshop, I reaped the reward of starting on November 1st and writing every day without stopping. I owe the ease of writing to being totally prepared through Beth’s course.

So where’s the comparison between baseball and NaNo?

Let’s take the Dodgers for instance, since that’s the team I know. They started early in 2016, if not before, with their basic training: running through drills, fielding balls until their hands ached, pitching until their fingers bled, and sprinting around bases until their legs throbbed. After all that, they participated in batting practice and then more batting practice. They had a great season scrapping their way to the championship of the Western National League Division. They were prepared for success.

Beth’s program, “Plan Your Novel,” did the same thing for me. I exercised my crafting muscles and was able to get myself prepared for the Big Writing Game come November. Beth even offers a FREE 7-mini-lesson-course which is super-duper for a quick prep.

Just like the Dodgers and the Cubs and the other teams who prepare for and work toward their goal of playing in The Fall Classic, we aspiring authors, published novelists, or best-sellers can stretch our particular physiques in order to get prepared to write, and write without stopping during NaNoWriMo. October is the time when searching for your Muse will have been accomplished before you put fingers to keys, or pen to paper.

There were down times during the baseball season and some games were lost, but the Dodgers didn’t lose focus to reach their goal. And sometimes when writing during NaNo, situations may arise that will prevent us from moving forward toward our goal, but with the best prep under our belts, we can be successful. Beth teaches her writers how to keep their focus on the parts of novel preparation that will be of the most use to them. There is still enough time to prepare for a winning season of NaNoWriMo, if only you’d get prepared now.

Some of those basic literary exercises presented in Beth’s program, “Plan Your Novel Mini Course are:

  1. Learning to craft an elevator pitch that will open your eyes to the possibilities of your entire story.
  2. Crafting a basic synopsis will allow you to brainstorm story ideas, characters, and conflicts.
  3. Digging deep into character development through questioning them will help you develop lovable, believable characters.
  4. Creating a believable world in which your characters dwell will add depth.
  5. Mapping and plotting the forward movement of your characters and their storylines will keep you focused.
  6. Discovering how to throw the worst possible junk in the path of your characters while they’re trying to achieve their goals is mean, but will be loved by your readers as is reaching down deep to explore your characters’ fears and then using their fears against them.
  7. Outlining and building a plausible plot of problems and accompanying resolutions will keep your reader riveted.

If you are planning to write a 50,000-word novel during the month of November and don’t know where to begin, you might want to look into Beth’s short FREE course, or take her full course with loads of other great information to help you craft a compelling story, and develop a believable plot that won’t fall apart in the middle, but will deliver a satisfying and emotionally satisfying ending.

If you’d like more information about NaNoWriMo, you can check out the official site: http://nanowrimo.org/. If you’d like support as you write, you can take a course at Barany School of Fiction and join their Fellowship of the Pen. You can join us by clicking here. Also, Beth and Ezra Barany hosted a free Plan Your Novel Party Saturday, October 29, but you can still sign up here.

Good luck and enjoy your journey to story-telling heaven.



Author, Carol MaloneAn award-winning author, Carol Malone writes new-pulp-fiction suspense kissed with romance that rockets readers into the past to uncover a hard-fought happily-ever-after. If not hammering out new tales, Carol is reading, watching the Dodgers, reruns of Castle, and the Food Network with her sci-fi author husband on the coast of California. She loves to connect with her readers and invites them to chat about romance and sports on her website.

Website: http://carolmalone.net/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/carolmaloneauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CarolAnneMalone

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