The Power of NaNoWriMo
The Power of NaNoWriMo – How To Write the Future podcast, episode 61
“If it is your dream to write a novel this year, then I invite you into our plan your novel material.”
“I’m asking you to think about the kind of story that you want to write: the genre– the kinds of things that you customarily see in your genre.”
In Ep. 61, “The Power of Nanowrimo,” host Beth Barany, creativity coach and teacher, and science fiction and fantasy novelist shares how writing your novel in one month can challenge you in a good way and discusses how she can guide you through your story idea and theme by taking her course or working with her directly.
Transcript for episode 61 Plan Your Novel + The Power of Nanowrimo
Welcome back to another episode of How to Write the Future.
A little bit about our podcast. This is a podcast for science fiction and fantasy writers who want to write positive, optimistic futures and for anyone who cares about the future because when we envision what is possible, we help make it so.
Today’s episode is a little bit different, special.
I want to share with you about an annual challenge for writers that comes up every year called NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month.
And I want to share with you about it because it is a very powerful exercise in stepping into making your dream a reality.
And today I’m also going to share with you about a resource for people who want to write a novel, but don’t know where to begin and want to get started planning their novel because- yeah- planning is important if you’ve never done a novel before. And there’s a lot of different kinds of planning.
So I’m going to share with you about a resource that I find really important that I created because I needed it.
So, let me tell you about it. And let me ask you-
Are you having a nagging sense of guilt waking up in the middle of the night?
You know what it is. You’re not working on your book. You’re not working on that novel that’s been haunting you whispering at you niggling at you for maybe many years, maybe since you were a kid, like me.
The story or stories that you have inside you won’t let you go.
Well guess what? Now is the time.
So I believe that now is the time for you to commit to your beautiful idea and put that idea into form. Put it into the page, put it into a book. A book that people will hold, a book that readers will be so, so excited to hold.
I invite you to start planning your novel, especially if you’re curious about writing your novel during NaNoWriMo, which is every year in November.
So, I want to help you turn your ideas into words on a page. And I want to help you turn those ideas into a story outline, or if you don’t like the idea outline, which I actually don’t. I consider it a plan.
Another way to think of it is a roadmap.
Once you have that plan, once you know how you’re going to get from here, kernel of an idea. And you’ve mapped it out, the whole story is mapped out for you, then you can sit down to write.
You want to write it confidently when. You have a map and you know how you’re getting from here to there. Now you have confidence. And hopefully clarity.
November, as I said is National Novel Writing Month. NaNoWriMo is the shorthand for it. It’s an international movement to write 50,000 words in one month.
I know it can sound nuts. November! November where in the United States we have Thanksgiving and people start taking vacations. But it’s totally doable.
Hundreds of thousands of people have done it. Kids teens, adults, and some year after year.
It is a beautiful container to test yourself. To do what you’ve always wanted to do.
Maybe unconsciously, you wanted this, maybe very consciously. You wanted this.
I invite you to step into the experience of now being the time. Is now the time for you?
Now you may be wondering what if you fail. What if you can’t meet that 50,000-word goal? You might, totally realistic. You might.
But if you’ve never done it, you don’t know.
So I invite you to step into this and try.
So hi everyone. I’m Beth Barany. If you don’t know me already, I am a writing teacher.
A writing coach. And an award-winning science fiction and fantasy novelist. And I love the container of NaNoWriMo.
Now I often more often than not do not try to write a 50,000-word novel. I tried a few times. It did not sit with me. But I love the container to challenge myself to do something within that month. I love month-long challenges. A month is a long enough time that you can create a container for yourself and create a doable goal.
So this year, like many of the past years, I will use the month of November to edit because I am editing a novel. And that takes actually a few months for me, but I love creating a very strong container for myself and keeping track of my progress.
Now, as I said, I have, I have tried NaNoWriMo, and I never did finish at 50,000 words, but I did write an 80,000-word novel in two months, November and December. And then I used New Year’s Eve as my deadline to just push myself a little bit. And it was fun. I’ve also written novels in three months or four months.
I have to say that finishing a book is so powerful.
And I was able to finish because I, well, I’m thinking back to that very first novel. It took me five years. I didn’t really have a plan. I had somewhat of a plan, but it didn’t work for me. So I’ve learned a lot through trial and error. And now when I plan out my novel, I know for sure I can reach The End. I can write that first draft.
And it’s all because I have a robust step-by-step planning tool that I created. And it’s great for people who want some structure, but not too much. And who want prompts, but not being told what to do? And often these people are called pantsers.
We’re kind of in the middle. We’re not writing completely without any guidelines; we’re writing with some guidelines and some structure. And I find that really, really helpful.
So, I find that my method works really well for people who are rebels, freethinkers, playful spirits, quirky.
Maybe you’re searching for a new home as a thinker, as a creative, and having some guidance in how to write your novel is very, very helpful. So you can put your vision onto the page.
So my method is called the Plan Your Novel method. It’s not plotting. It’s planning. It’s very simple. I walk you through theme, through taking your story idea, writing it in one sentence to flushing that out to a short synopsis, using a really cool template one of my fellow writing friends and writing teachers created.
Then I have you daydream about your characters in very specific ways. Not random ways, not writing a Bible, but very specific ways. And then, we go into plot and story structure, and genre.
Now we’re getting down to more granular things. And then I have you think about scene structure. Understanding scene structure is the building block of being able to write your story.
And throughout all of this, I’m asking you to think about the kind of story that you
want to write: the genre– the kinds of things that you customarily see in your genre.
Now, if you’re writing like cross-genre or mashup, like I to have a tendency to do, or you’re absolutely not sure where your book would fit on a bookshelf, my prompts will help you start to pull together what’s in your imagination that’s maybe half buried.
Maybe it’s in your unconscious or subconscious; it’s ready to emerge. And this method will gently, gently help you bring yourself into a writing practice that is specifically aimed at writing and finishing a first draft– your novel.
I believe there is so, so much power and sitting down and doing your art. There’s so much satisfaction there. There’s so much food for the soul.
If it is your dream to write a novel this year, then I invite you into our plan your novel material.
You can enter at any point in the book that feels comfortable for you though starting at the beginning if you’ve never done it is really, really great.
So I have lots of resources for you. I have a book and I have a course. And you can check them all out at planyournovel.com.
Also, if you want more individualized support to go very quickly through the process, you can hire me to work one-on-one as a creativity coach. As I said before, I’m a science fiction and fantasy novelist. I’ve won awards for my work, and I am a working novelist teaching writers and working with people who want to write and edit and polish and publish, and market their novels.
So they have that satisfaction -satisfaction- oh, my God. It’s so satisfying to be able to hold your book in your hand. Something that you’ve worked so hard on and just cherish so much.
So I invite you in. I hope to see you there. My resources are at plan your novel.com.
All right. And now I want to share with you something that I wrote. and recorded. Gosh, about six years ago on talking more in-depth about the power of NaNoWriMo.
Power of NaNoWriMo
In today’s current economy, I sometimes feel like a thing, you know, a commodity to be pushed around, quantified, as if I have no heart. But I’m not a commodity. Neither are you. I am an invaluable, multi-layered, complex human being like you are. And like you. I create a product for public consumption, genre novels that I price and market and promote, and edit to be appealing to my readers.
Our books have several purposes- to create an experience that attracts the reader, keeps them in the story, and takes them away from their everyday life.
So pleasure and escape.
Even though I create a product, I am not a product or a machine. It can feel as if we’re expected to be a machine though in this process to write a novel.
Yet, there is no straight line to a finished book.
It’s complicated – creating a book that readers will love and consume and extremely creative. What’s my point?
My point is that it’s complicated, but all is not lost. We can find a way through the mess.
Even though there isn’t a direct line from start to finish, there’s always a lot of bumps in the road, detours, getting lost. There’s more to this metaphor.
You can break down writing a book into its smallest steps and get writing or editing or marketing done.
I know this because I’ve done it 16 times. I’ve written 16 stories. Get it?
This is one of the reasons I like NaNoWriMo so much.
They encourage you to think in a daily word count one day at a time.
NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month where people aim to write 50,000 words in the month of November. A free nonprofit guides you every step of the way. That’s 1666.67 words a day, or about six and a half manuscript pages, measured at 250 words per page. That’s still a lot of words, and you don’t have to write that much because you can be a Nano rebel.
I know I will be this year and have always been a Nano Rebel. I gotta be me.
Even with my experience, I can comfortably usually write 40,000 words in a month.
Any more than that and I need to be not doing anything else to make it happen, but that’s me. Your experience may be different. But you won’t know until you try it.
I mean, do it.
My husband, Ezra Barany, also a novelist and co-teacher at Barany School of Fiction, has met and exceeded the 50,000-word count in the five-plus past years, and that’s worked for him.
As I mentioned above, I’m a nano rebel again this year and won’t even be writing a novel. Instead, I’ll be editing one of the novels I wrote earlier this year.
Last year I wrote four novels from November 2016 through June 2017.
Other Nano rebels include Ezra, who will be writing four 12,000-word stories in a series.
I have group members who will be editing and students who will be planning. Nano Rebels Rock.
If you’re looking for a reason to dive into your book, or you just want to use this global focused program to work on your book in some manner. I encourage you to take advantage of NaNoWriMo’s energy this coming month.
If you’re looking for local events in your community where people get together and do a write-in, check out the NaNoWriMo site at nanowrimo.org.
Want more nano tips? Check out articles on our blog at Writer’s Fun Zone.
FAST-FORWARD TO TODAY
Like/Subscribe and Stay Connected
If you like this episode, please like, share, subscribe on the channels. I’m also on YouTube, on Apple Podcast, on Spotify.
Please share with the writers in your life who are writing science fiction and fantasy, and want to create positive, optimistic futures, because when we vision what is possible, we help make it so.
Also, if you have any questions, please let me know because your question can be answered on a future podcast. Like I, I have done in my episodes.
All right, so that’s it for this week, everyone.
Stay Tuned! What’s Coming!
Stay tuned for some more great interviews coming with people on the future of publishing, on futurism, futuristics, foresight planning, and on, oh my gosh-
some people- I’m going to be talking to you soon about climate fiction. And new ways of presenting stories. We’re also going to be covering the different kinds of sci-fi sub genres coming up also.
So stay tuned, everyone. Thank you so much for listening. It means so much. I really appreciate it.
That’s all for this week, everyone, Take care and happy writing.
So, write long and prosper.
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ABOUT BETH BARANY
Beth Barany teaches science fiction and fantasy novelists how to write, edit, and publish their books as a coach, teacher, consultant, and developmental editor. She’s an award-winning fantasy and science fiction novelist and runs the podcast, “How To Write The Future.”
Learn more about Beth Barany at these sites:
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SHOW PRODUCTION BY Beth Barany
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