So I wanted to share it, because I think it's a darn good blog, even if I do say so myself. Although I am giving plotting (in the most basic of forms) a try for this year's NaNoWriMo, I am a pantser at heart. Every story I've started has come from a main character and a "Wouldn't it be cool if..." statement. And that's it. So although I'm dipping my toe into the plotter pool, I'm probably diving back into the pantser lifestyle soon after.
Without further ado...Here's a post about NaNo and my Top 4 NaNoWriMo Prep Tips for Pantsers.
For anyone who isn’t familiar, NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is an online gathering of people who are all trying to score fifty thousand words in just thirty days. There are forums, and regional meetups, and really cool little graphs to help get you to those two magical words… “The End.”
I am that writer who loves the blank page. I adore starting stories. Those first few thousand words are my favorites. When the characters are just starting to dance across your brain cells, it’s exciting and new and the possibilities of where their tales will go are endless.
Starting stories was always easy for me. I had notebooks full of plot ideas, thumb drives stuffed with story starters, and hundreds of thousands of words that I had to get out of my head.
Unfortunately, up until a few years ago, I didn’t have a single finished novel.
Then I found NaNoWriMo. I created a profile and signed up. Seeing all of these seasoned authors sprinting along with me was amazing. We were all there for the same reason…to create a story. It didn’t matter what we were writing, we all had to get words on the page.
This is a series about how to prepare for NaNoWriMo. But I’m going to let you in on a secret…
Not all of us plan. Like…at all. Not even a little bit.
NaNoWriMo taught me a new term. “Pantser”.
A “Pantser” is someone who does no or very little preparation before they start. They turn on their computer and write.
My name is Roxy Mews, and I am a pantser.
I open Word, and I go. Sure, I don’t write the neatest first drafts. (I owe my CPs and editors some serious chocolate.) Sometimes my characters change attitude, hair color, and eye color, or even name.
Preptober about NaNoWriMo prep, so let me give you some ways to prep if you too are in the Pantser Camp.
#1 Get acquainted with the “Review” tab in Word.
When I am writing and I know I need to research something for a plot point, or I am putting in a crucial tidbit where a character needs to act differently, I make a note. I click that lovely “New Comment” box in the Review tab, and remind myself what I need to do.
Killing someone with a gun? Google model descriptions later.
Have to find a regional food? Ask the twitterverse when that part of the world is awake.
Need to see if humans can bend that way while getting intimately acquainted? Just make sure your safe search is off, and the internet will reveal all.
Make your notes and move forward. NaNoWriMo is all about turning off your inner editor and finishing the story.
#2 Stock up on a stash of bribe items.
There are days when you won’t want to write. The dreaded week 2 blahs strike many of us hard. Pick your favorite treat and keep them under lock and key until you put your butt in front of the computer.
You only get that piece of chocolate when you reach your word count goal.
That fancy coffee you love to treat yourself with? Only order it when you have your first ten thousand words under your belt. (I highly recommend Death Wish Coffee for this bribe)
You can also arm yourself with a special playlist, or a great smelling candle. They don’t have to be pricey or full of calories, but chocolate and caffeine tend to be what keeps me moving forward.
#3 Easy meal prep
The most exciting part about being a Pantser is when the muse sits on your shoulder and starts screaming the story in your ear. Those moments are not ones you want to stop in the middle of. If your muse is anything like mine, you can’t get her to start again when you’re ready.
Have easy meals ready to go.
Put the local pizza delivery place on notice, and let them know when you call them grunting into the phone it means you want a large bacon and pineapple. Tell them you’ll leave the money on the porch when you sprint for the bathroom break you’ve been putting off all afternoon.
I suppose you could cook things ahead of time too, but you’re about to write 50k in a month. If you’re anything like me, you don’t have time for that kind of thing.
#4 Get a buddy
One of the best things about the NaNoWriMo website is the buddies feature. You can add buddies to your page and the NaNo site will let you peek into their word count. You can see when they’re slacking and guess what…they can see when you are.
Having that accountability is one hell of a motivator. Find a buddy. Find a group of them, and push each other. When I see I am only a hundred words from topping one of my buddies for the day, I always get another cup of coffee and push ahead.
If you want to be my buddy, you can find me HERE.
At the end of the day, if you are a Plotter or a Pantser, we all start with zero words on our boards. We all start with nothing and work to create a complete story. It’s not meant to be perfect, it’s not meant to be pretty, it’s meant to be finished.
If you’re waffling on joining up, and think you missed your time to prepare, you’re wrong. You don’t need a perfected outline. You don’t need character charts. You just need to write. Why not do it with millions of other people?
Are you a Plotter or a Pantser? I'd love to hear about it.