I’ve been participating in NaNoWriMo for years. My first year, I began the month with a blank page and no plan, and I generated characters and scenes out of thin air. It was awesome! But it was not a book. My second year, I began the month with a theme and some vague ideas, and I stalled very quickly. I don’t even remember much of what I produced back then. Even after reaching my 50K word goal two summers ago, I still have not produced a novel.
I finally joined a local group of writers who meet monthly to discuss The Craft. I started to see the wisdom of making an outline and thinking about the importance of plot and structure in building a story. I found books and articles and blogs that all presented their own spin on the idea that a story must have a structure. Some of the focus was on movies or television episodes, so the templates might not work ideally for a novel, but the concepts are all there. A story has ingredients, and they come together in a fairly common mixture. I was afraid at first that my outline would restrict me, like a template or a formula which produces the same bland thing each time. Now I like to think of it as a recipe, and the results can vary with the cooks.
#NaNoCoach this week, @teribrownwrites, mentioned a post about feeding the muse by @KristenLambTX. Find it here: http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/2013/10/16/fueling-the-muse-for-nanowrimo-part-one/ …
And with that link, I was off on an adventure. I discovered more info about plot points, much of what I’ve read elsewhere, but it is finally starting to sink in. The rest of the blog is full of similar inspiration. I now have a synopsis of my story and a list of scenes ready to tackle.
Is it November yet?