NaNoWriMo Preparations | From the Writing Desk: NaNoWriMo 2016 #1

nanowrimo-preparationHello everyone! It’s the last week of October, and do you know what that means? It’s almost here! No, not Halloween. NaNoWriMo!… I made this joke last year. It wasn’t funny then and it still isn’t funny now. I don’t know why I keep doing it.

Speaking of last year, I did a post back then that talked about how wrimos should spend their Octobers, Novembers and Decembers. I think it still very much applies, so check that out if you haven’t seen it before.

This year, I’ll be doing a weekly series to be posted every Saturday for the duration of NaNoWriMo. There are five posts planned and I’ve already written parts of it, so it shouldn’t be too hard for me to do both NaNoWriMo and these posts. There’s also the usual scheduled posts to worry about… and my thesis’s result comes out next month, and I’m expecting that I’ll need to do some amendments… I’m wondering if I made the right decision to participate in NaNoWriMo. Unlike last year, where I was finishing my experiments and only did one blog post per month… God, what have I gotten myself into?

Anyway, let’s brush that aside. For this first post, I thought instead of running you through what my plan is, or what my advice to you for NaNoWriMo is again, I’ll tell you how my preparation has been like.

First of all, I failed to take my own advice. When I was writing my last Work-In-Progress (WIP), I planned to finish in early September, so I could have two months to prep myself for NaNoWriMo and have some time to rest too. Turns out, I underestimated my last WIP’s word count by about 15,000 words and I only managed to finish it earlier this month. So I had only three weeks to think up my NaNoWriMo novel.

Luckily, I had started thinking about what I wanted to do for NaNoWriMo as I was working on my WIP. I considered finishing my 5-novellas-in-one-novel WIP, which I worked on in last year’s NaNoWriMo and Camp NaNoWriMo earlier this year. But I didn’t quite feel like doing it for a second time running and wanted to do an actual full story. Plus most of it would be trying to tie up storylines and the novellas had some issues that I want to iron out slowly instead of rushing in something like NaNoWriMo.

And then I thought about what else I could do for NaNoWriMo. I flipped back and forth between some ideas in my Idea Vault folder (where I keep word documents of all my ideas), and between two other new ideas – one is a retelling of the Three Musketeers in a different setting and the other is a retelling of Romance of the Three Kingdoms in a fantasy setting. I ultimately rejected doing the latter two ideas for NaNoWriMo because I think it would require a lot of research and I didn’t want to do it, since I really didn’t have any time to plan. I also briefly considered doing the Romance of the Three Kingdoms retelling as a serialization, but I don’t think I’m up for the task. Maintaining this blog is time consuming enough! Haha.

So I went back to my Idea Vault and picked a story which I had been developing for a while. The premise and setting of the story is pretty much completed, I just needed to outline the story, which turned out a lot harder than I had bargain for. First of all, while I had already developed the world and the overall premise, I had not given the characters much thought and the story flow even less. So while I had a start and an end, the middle was totally blank. I had a few scenes in mind I wanted to insert, and as I tried to piece them together, the start got affected too. And then I found myself being influenced by a book I had been reading, which was horrifying to me. So I became super conscious of each beat in the story and wondered if I was subconsciously influenced by what I was reading. Not that it’s wrong, but it wasn’t what I wanted this story to be. Mind you, I had planned the story long before I read the book, and there were similarities with that base structure itself, so I wonder if maybe I’m just overthinking it.

Anyway, I’m glad to say that I’ve ironed out those issues and I have the outline for my story ready for NaNoWriMo 2016! I hope all you wrimos architects/outliners have done the same 🙂 In any case, best of luck for NaNoWriMo and Happy Writing!

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