NaNoWriMo Boot Camp: Essential Novel Prep

NaNoWriMo Boot Camp session 2.5: Essential Novel Prep. Only on #TheWritersaurus. #amwriting #nanowrimo

Click here to see the previous posts in the NaNoWriMo Boot Camp series. 

Previously in the NaNoWriMo Boot Camp series, we discussed writing goals, story starters, and writing prompts. In this post, we’re going to talk about what to focus on during the pre-writing stage.

It can be difficult to know exactly how to channel your pre-NaNoWriMo energy. If you’re like me, you start every NaNoWriMo promising to do better next year, because you feel like you’re going in under-prepared.

After some thought-experimenting, I’ve come up with a theory. Now, this is neither fool-proof nor tested. I’m sure it will evolve as I write my next projects and get feedback. This theory is in its beta-testing phase, if you will.

My theory is that you need to know the following things in to write a story with as few hiccups as possible. I came up with these by looking at my own writing habits, and when and why I get sidelined.

  • Main cast of characters (Protagonist, antagonist, protagonist friends, antagonist allies and lackeys)
    • protagonist and antagonist must have mutually exclusive goals
  • conflict
  • light world building to accentuate the characters and conflict

If this all sounds vague, it’s supposed to. The purpose of this post to give a broad overview of the entire theory. I will focus on each of these things in its own dedicated post. This allows me to explain in-depth why we are likely to fail without these things.

Is my theory missing any pieces? What do you need to have before you can start a novel? Let everyone know in the comments!

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H. Duke
H. Duke writes fantasy, horror, and more. Her works include the weird west / urban fantasy serial mashup, Jeremiah Jones Cowboy Sorcerer and the Christmas horror collection, Things on the Shelf: Three Tales of Christmas Terror, as well as the forthcoming Pagewalker series. She wrote the first season of Jeremiah Jones Cowboy Sorcerer while living in Arizona with her husband, Giru, and a shiny black dog named Jupiter. To see what she's up to now, visit her website.

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