NaNo Prep, a.k.a. WHAT?!? Only five days until November?

As you can probably tell from the title, I am not prepared. I am not even less prepared than I usually am and less than I planned (which is par for the course, really), I’m spectacularly unprepared. I don’t have a story that I can rewrite that’s not either already rewritten and being edited, waiting for the previous novel in the series to be edited, or postponed indefinitely. Well, unless you count Underhanded Deals, but I haven’t been able to sort out the huge, enormous problem that is the plot. It’s the kind of story where you need to know where it’s going, or you’ll end up with a huge mess, which I have already tried. Twice.

Ignoring the option of rewriting something for now (not editing, by the way), I usually have at least a few new ideas that I would like to try out, except that this year I don’t. I have what I think of as the Kitchen Sink story, where I throw in pretty much everything I think is cool, but I haven’t got a plot yet. Not sure I can get one in so few days, when I only have a very vague idea of the setting and barely any characters. I do have some other ideas, but I tend to get stuck after just a few thousand words, so I need to work on them some more before I attempt to write them.

So that’s basically it. One story I need to work on before I can write it without getting stuck, and one idea I really need to flesh out before I start writing. In other words: I’ve got some work to do in these five days. Or three, since I’m busy all day today and tomorrow. And half of Saturday. And most of Monday. Let’s try again: I have a LOT of work to do on Sunday. I guess tidying and cleaning my apartment before NaNoWriMo just went out the window. The annoying thing is of course that I will probably have to plot both, just in case. I am aiming for 100k this year, maaaaybe 150k if I reach 100k very early, so I might very well need to write more than one story. This year I won’t have time to plot as I go either.

The reason I’m not pantsing this year is because I have so little time. Not only do I have a new job with slightly longer work hours, but it’s also a full time job, so I’ve lost an entire writing day all of a sudden. I don’t have my usual November vacation. I can’t skip dance classes as I’m one of the instructors now. I work out a lot more. In other words, if I am to write lots of words, I need to be able to make the most out of what little writing time I do have. That means spending as little time as possible thinking about what needs to happen, and knowing what comes next every time I sit down to write.

I guess I technically could have lowered my goal, but where’s the fun in that? At least I have the sense not to try to beat my personal best from last year, which was 211k. At least not yet…

Hopefully I can figure out a plot for my Kitchen Sink novel. If any story’s fun to write, I think that would be it. It has vampires, werewolves, sinister and not-so-sinister sorcerers, creepy old mansions, a bit of romance, a bit of everything, really. Hence the name. Basically, the only thing it doesn’t have is a plot. But I think I’m going to find one of my trusty writing books (I’ve read a few lately) and simply pick a method and follow it to create the plot. Or find my own method. Who knows, it might be fun!

Are you prepared for NaNoWriMo, or are you flailing like a headless chicken like I am?


NaNo Prep, part 1!

There was no Worldbuilding Wednesday post yesterday, because, well, stuff. Had to help out a friend of mine with something, had a translation to do and had to work a little on a mandatory assignment for my studies. The headache didn’t exactly help either.

The main reason, however, is a good one. For once in my life I’m actually prepping for NaNoWriMo beyond deciding what story/stories to write. Not that that’s not quite a bit of work in itself – I tend to write more than 50k and also tend to need more than one story – but, well, with this crazy November and a wordcount goal of 200k I need all the prepping I can get.

Story 1 will be the second draft of Rogue Sorcery. It will be a complete rewrite (only a tiny bit will be left from the first draft, as the plot is wildly different), so I don’t feel bad about including it.

Story 2 will be a story I’ve tried to write twice before, but I have never been able to find the right plot. I had the premise and the characters, but nothing more, until last weekend. I’ve planned the main points of the plot, but hopefully I’ll have time to revise and flesh it out a little before November starts.

Story 3, the reserve story, is also a story I’ve tried to write several times before. I have six or seven versions of the beginning in my files, and I also posted it as my Saturday Snippet on the 8th of August. The plot has changed a bit – it was originally about the youngest son of the farmer’s family, who had his head in the clouds and headed off to adventure once he was told to get the dragon away from the village. Now it’s about his rational, steadfast brother instead, who is dragged along in order to keep his brother from harm. It will also feature a character I’ve been dying to use in a story for years now, after his own story fell through.

In other words, I have plenty to do before November, but I’m looking forward to it. Now I’ll just have to work hard on finishing the plots, and then finish all the other things that need to be done so I won’t have to think about them in November. We’ll see how it goes!

Keep it simple, stupid

I’ve been working on this website for ages now. When I say working I really mean “doing everything else, because there is just waaay to much to do”. Sometimes, the answer isn’t to just get to work, but simply to reduce the workload and make it more… possible. Because let’s be honest here, if I had followed the original plan, I would not only have had to written up character profiles and story introductions, but I would have had to finish my worldbuilding (like you are ever really finished), make five Elvish languages and ensure that they could possibly be related (I am currently still struggling with the first one), and make two human languages. You know, as a beginning.

Yeah… No.

What I often forget is that I can always go back later and add one more category, one more menu item or one more page for that thing that I would love to have on my website, if I had only written that thing yet. It doesn’t all have to be ready right away, even if I have a clear image in my mind of how I would like this website to be.

Today I have gone through the menu and removed every single page link that isn’t ready or doesn’t at least have some content in it. Conworlding and conlanging were the victims this time, I’m afraid, and only left a few traces. There will be more content in those categories soon, though.

I’ve also changed some fonts (seriously – the menu font was ridiculously small, and too narrow) and colours – I’m still not sure I’m completely happy with it, but it’ll do for now. Feedback is much appreciated!

With that, the list of things to do before NaNoWriMo is getting shorter. I have found a way of organising my worldbuilding (password protected wiki), have transferred most of my notes there, realised that a very, very important part of the worldbuilding was never written down (and now I’ve nearly forgotten it), which in turn gave me a new story idea (which is not about something going missing, unless you count the sanity of a great number of people), I have done the rough edit on most of my photos (quite a bit of work still remains, but I don’t feel as stressed about it), I am nearly done with the grammar of Ancient Elvish (I just need to write the changes into the document) and will start making actual words any day now (fingers crossed that it hasn’t somehow mutated into some garbled nonsense in the meantime). That means that I can actually start making one of the daughter languages soon! I am also half-way through cleaning my apartment, preparing for a dance competition next weekend, aaand reading some of my unread books. (I seem to love parantheses today, can you tell?)

I should probably be planning my stories for NaNoWriMo too, but eh. I’m a pantser by heart. I have a general idea of most of them. This year I’m aiming for 200k – last year I got 160k, so it is doable – but I’ll be very happy as long as I get at least 150k.