Nanowrimo Prep and Scrivener Sneak Peek by Catharine Bramkamp
In this post we share another post by Catharine Bramkamp on “Nanowrimo Prep and Scrivener Sneak Peek.”
NaNo is Coming
I was completely stuck on my next book.
I wish I could say I had so many ideas I couldn’t record them fast enough.
I would love to brag that the book just flowed out of me.
I would give up coffee if I could say, wow, the characters sprang to life on the page!
But none of that was happening.
Just barren reams of blank paper.
Or rather, a white screen.
Ahhh… Snow Blindness!
Then Beth asked if I could contribute to the NaNoWriMo prep to help writers set up their novels for a successful 50,000 marathon in November and I suddenly realized that I could do the same.
I could postpone writing this novel until November.
That realization, strangely, relieved all the pressure to wrestle this book to the ground and beat a plot from it’s lifeless corpse.
I stored the file deep into my computer hard drive and tried to forget about it.
Which brings us to the question, why prep for an event famous for promoting spontaneous writing?
Why prep for NaNoWriMo?
NaNoWriMo Prep will edge you closer to a finished novel draft one sneaky step at a time.
Like any enormous endeavor, dismantling the whole into the sum of its parts will give you the edge when you start writing.
Instead of waking every morning with the enormous idea of “Today I write my Novel,” you will wake and think, “Today, in honor of not writing a whole novel, I will write exactly one sentence.”
As soon as I put my novel aside, I felt free to tinker.
I started to fill in a few more character features. I made a couple notes.
I queried ChatGPT about plot lines or outcomes or character backgrounds. I realized that Chat GPT doesn’t know what the hell it’s talking about.
If you are ready for NaNoWriMo and want to sort of, kind of, organize a few things that may accidentally contribute early to the 50,000 words for the win, here are some ideas:
Sign up for the event.
Go to the NaNoWriMo website and sign up.
Direct link: https://nanowrimo.org/
Commitment is halfway to completion.
Create Scrivener File for Your Book
Fill in the new Scrivener files for your new novel (or any writing program you prefer) and create sections for scene ideas under the manuscript tab.
Do not create files titled chapter 1, 2, 3.
Use descriptive titles with enough details that on November 30th you will easily remember what you wrote on November 3rd without Opening.Every.File.Again.
Create a logo or a book cover
Create a logo or a book cover.
Canva is a wonderful online program that will help you make up a mock book cover that will inspire you all November.
A book cover helps contribute to the illusion that the novel is the real deal.
Follow Excellent Plot Suggestions
Follow some of the excellent plot suggestions that proliferate in the fall.
Stay here and read all the information available on Writer’s Fun Zone, as well as the NaNoWriMo website.
And, read Chris Baty’s No Plot? No Problem!
Start: Open a Scene File
Open up a scene file and stare at the blank page because in October.
It doesn’t matter if something is written or not.
Good thing, because I know that for the 15 long minutes you stared at that blank screen and not a single word came to mind.
The win here is that you opened the book file.
Call it good and close the screen and make a note to open it again tomorrow.
I feel you.
The Good News
Here is what may happen.
Because you’ve removed all the pressure to produce in August by procrastinating and postponing writing the book in November, characters will start to talk to you.
A plot or scene will spring up during your morning journaling.
You’ll get a brilliant idea while watching a mediocre movie.
You will overhear a perfect dialogue point while standing in line at Starbucks.
There is great energy in cheating.
If you have a few thousand words when you start on November 1st, good for you!
A win on the first day (ahem, 1,600 words each day), is a win, and that’s what we are all about here.
The Point of NaNoWriMo
The point always of NaNo is to loosen up writers and give them permission to write terrible words, scribble down strange ideas, and record messy thoughts.
That is is joy of it as well.
There is nothing better than the act of writing, the joy of words careening out of the imagination and tumbling across the page.
Prepare for joy.
Start out November with a few words on the page, a couple of ideas or scenes that only need a little more fleshing out, a list of possible characters, and you just may “win” by finishing up a solid, messy, satisfying draft by November 30th.
At least that’s my new plan. It can be yours too!
Watch Catharine’s video here.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Catharine Bramkamp is a successful writing coach, Chief Storytelling Officer, former co-producer of Newbie Writers Podcast, and author of a dozen books including the Real Estate Diva Mysteries series, and The Future Girls series. She holds two degrees in English and is an adjunct university professor. After fracturing her wrist, she has figured out there is very little she is able to do with one hand tied behind her back. She delights in inspiring her readers.
Connect with Catharine on the socials:
More Nano Prep Resources
Plan Your Novel Like A Pro by Beth and Ezra Barany – book and course and other resources
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The Writer’s Fun Zone blog is by and for creative writers. Edited and curated by creativity coach for writers, Beth Barany.