Like many writers, October is NaNoWriMo preparation month, among other things.  If you don’t know, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month and it’s how I wrote my first book.

You’ll hear many people proudly proclaim whether they are a pantser or a planner and I find I’m a bit of both.  When I first started this competition, 9 YEARS AGO, I was a complete pantser.   I barely had a story idea before I dove in.  That might be why it took me 3 years to finally win.

Now I’m more of a hybrid, I plan a little before hand then pants the rest.  I don’t have an outline in the traditional sense but I have a good idea of key scenes that need to happen and about when.  The rest develops organically.  Below is a list of what I generally do to prepare for November.

  • Select a book title:  Seems pretty basic but if you don’t like a project enough to name it something more than Work In Progress, it sounds doomed to me.  The name can change at any time.  Stealing the Wolf Prince was originally called The Three Brothers but since it ended up a romance I knew I had to change it or give the reader the wrong idea.
  • Create a book cover:  I don’t  know about you but I’m a visual person and having a cover helps me think of my book as a tangible thing.  I’ve also caught myself staring at my cover in time of writers block as a form of motivation.  Did you know that according to the NaNoWriMo website, people to set a cover are 60% more likely to finish?
  • Write your logline:  If you can’t sum up your book in one line or two, you might have to rethink it.  This is an easy way to determine holes before you get elbow deep and realize it wont work.  It can also help you get back on track if you wrote yourself off on a tangent.
  • Character Profiles:  I use RPG character sheets I found online and fill them out beforehand.  I refer to them a lot and update them as the story evolves but they are a necessity.  Otherwise my characters traits change through out the book but not by design.  Their motivation is also what pushes the story forward and staying true to their drives is key.
  • Other:  Other oddball things I do to prepare include setting up a Pinterest board for the novel, writing the blurb if I know enough about the novel to do so, create a Spotify playlist, stock the house with ready-to-eat healthy snacks, warn my family this insanity is coming, and make sure my computer software is updated.

I’m sure other writers have other things they do to prepare.  Why not share them here?  Tell us what you do to prepare that I’ve left off the list or share resources people might enjoy.  Next week I’ll blog about my project specifically and of course keep you updated all November.

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