Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Outlining to November

Now that it's October, NaNoWriMo is well and truly on the horizon. And that means that writers around the world are getting their novel outlines ready for the big day. That includes me. Normally I wouldn't be thinking about my novel yet, or preparing anything. I'd be sitting back, letting the planners plan, and waiting for November 1st to roll around so I could start pantsing my way through my novel. But not this time.

No, this time I've decided to have a go at being one of those planners myself. This time I want to see if taking the time to plan before November will leave me with a better, more coherent story at the other end of the month. And so, like every other NaNo planner, I'm working on an outline of my novel, hoping it'll be ready in time.

Of course, I've never actually planned anything before. Always before I've jumped in feet first and made everything up as I went along, which is exciting, and very fun, but not really that good for having a solid plot by the end of things. So I don't actually know a lot about planning at all.

Which is where my new favourite writing book comes into it. I've been reading K.M Weiland's "Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success". I've never much liked the idea of outlining before, but this book has definitely helped me find a style of preparation that I actually like.

With the help of this book, I'm working out my plot by writing out every idea I have in a notebook, and allowing myself to come up with every sort of ridiculous idea, and finding the good ideas among those. I'm even starting to get an idea of my characters by just writing down everything I think about them. With this style of planning, I think I'll definitely have a good idea of my plot before November.

I can't say I'll come out of this knowing every scene, every character, every event, or even every chapter. The pantsing side of me doesn't like the idea of that. But I will hopefully get to November and have a good idea of where my plot is supposed to go before I start. And maybe, just maybe that'll help me have a not quite so completely rubbish first draft.

Are you preparing for NaNoWriMo? Have you read this book? What writing books would you recommend?