NaNoWriMo is just 15 days away! That means we’re entering crunch mode for NaNo Prep.
Regardless of how you write, I highly recommend going into NaNo with a plan. For my fellow discovery and pantser writers, I don’t mean you have to have an outline and your characters all figured out. You do however, need at least some semblance of a plan. I already covered the when and the who in a previous post, but for today I’m specifically focusing on the what for those writers who don’t need an outline beforehand.
For the most part, the writing versus prewriting spectrum is defined as whether you need a plan (architect- or planner-type writers) or if you need the story written before you can start planning (discovery or pantser-type writers). This is not a hard and fast one-or-the-other type of label. Most writers fall somewhere in the spectrum between discovery and architecture.
If you lean more towards discovering the story then you may not need an outline beforehand, and may even struggle more once you have an outline. You can skip the outline for certain! But you do need a few solid ideas to help you through a writing challenge like NaNoWriMo.
The best thing you can do for yourself as part of preparation for November is to get your ideas together.
Inspiration comes in a lot of forms. If you find images the most inspiring, try a mood board! Pinterest is a great resource for creating a digital one, but you can also copy images into a word document or plain old MS Paint. Collect images that might inspire you for anything—things that evoke the sort of mood you want for your story, as well as character and setting inspirations.
Another good source of inspiration might be a song playlist. Often these can help inspire specific scenes or even give you a basic plot to work with. Look at lyrics to determine what some of your plot points are and give yourself a loose structure to work from.
There are also thousands of writing prompts you can draw inspiration from. Find the ones you like and experiment with how you might combine some of them together. Are there dialogue lines that could be stitched together? Character ideas and conflicts that resonate with you?
Finally, if you’re still struggling to think of an idea, take the premise of your favorite show or movie and toss new elements into it. What would happen if you added vampires to your favorite sci-fi flick? What about mashing a crime and mystery show with time travel? Or, pick up the characters from a medical drama and see how they’d react to being dropped into a land of dinosaurs.
What are some of the ways you’re getting inspiration for NaNo? Are you ready to kick off the writing challenge on November 1st? Let me know in the comments below!