WE’RE GETTING CLOSE TO THAT TIME again when we start thinking about Nanowrimo and asking ourselves if we want to commit to the month-long writing marathon that happens every November. If you think you’re up for it this year, then October is the month to do your Nanowrimo prep. You can even start now.
So the kinds of exercises that are helpful for Nanowrimo prep are things like character templates, character interviews, plot outlines, synopses, scene lists, etc. Another suggestion that can be helpful for getting started is to write your future book jacket copy. Here’s an example below. Let’s say you’re writing in the genre of young-adult speculative fiction (as I am), go to Google and search your genre. Find a few books in the genre and copy the text on the book jacket. I just pulled these from Amazon:
“Matteo Alacrán was not born; he was harvested. His DNA came from El Patrón, lord of a country called Opium–a strip of poppy fields lying between the United States and what was once called Mexico. Matt’s first cell split and divided inside a petri dish. Then he was placed in the womb of a cow, where he continued the miraculous journey from embryo to fetus to baby. He is a boy now, but most consider him a monster–except for El Patrón. El Patrón loves Matt as he loves himself, because Matt is himself. As Matt struggles to understand his existence, he is threatened by a sinister cast of characters, including El Patrón’s power-hungry family, and he is surrounded by a dangerous army of bodyguards. Escape is the only chance Matt has to survive. But escape from the Alacrán Estate is no guarantee of freedom, because Matt is marked by his difference in ways he doesn’t even suspect.”
“One choice can transform you. Beatrice Prior’s society is divided into five factions—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). Beatrice must choose between staying with her Abnegation family and transferring factions. Her choice will shock her community and herself. But the newly christened Tris also has a secret, one she’s determined to keep hidden, because in this world, what makes you different makes you dangerous.”
“In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, “The Hunger Games,” a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed.”
The idea is to know what the setting is, who the main character is, what his or her primary conflict will be in the novel. How is the character special and unique? How is the character flawed? The book jacket copy for The Hunger Games could have also mentioned that Katniss volunteered for the Hunger Games in order to save her sister’s life because that’s fundamental to her character and her personal conflict.
So you get the idea?
Good. Now try it for yourself. The more you prep now for Nanowrimo, the better chance you have of completing your 50,000 words by midnight on November 30th.