Yes, its that time of year again – NaNoWriMo. For any non-writers out there, it means that many writers you know, will spend November holed up, mainlining caffeine and sugar while they try to write 50k words in 30 days. If it sounds like complete insanity, that’s because it is.
After taking a NaNo break last year, I am planning to attempt it again this year. I successfully completed NaNoWriMo in 2011 and 2012. This time around, I’m planning on a slightly different approach.
My first attempt, I planned meticulously. Multi-coloured post-its adorned my walls and I had character sketches, mind maps and all manner of other plot aids to help me stay on track. It didn’t work. I wound up getting so caught up on the details that my creativity was stifled. I ended up with major writer’s block by week 2, and I struggled to break free. The end result was a stilted mess filled with cardboard characters and dull plot-lines.
For my second attempt, I tried ‘pantsing’ (flying by the seat of your pants…no plan, no plot, make it up as you go along) which was an even bigger disaster. The words flowed freely, but at the end of November I had an even bigger mess. My main character changed profession seven times, murdered someone and then vanquished a demon…in chapter one. Car-crash mess.
This year, I’m aiming for somewhere in the middle. I’m drawing up detailed character bios and sketching brief chapter outlines. I’m using the snowflake method I’ve read so much about, but never actually given much thought to and I’m hoping to know exactly where my story is going, without bogging myself down with too much detail. Sounds easy, right?! Ha!
Have you/are you doing NaNoWriMo? What is your strategy? Do you have any tips?