NaNoWriMo continues to encircle our thoughts and forces most of us to plan. 50,000 words isn't something to shake a stick at, so, unless you are amazing at 'seat-of-your-pants' writing, you need to do some planning.
My first novel attempt, Summer In The Bitterroot, was a 'seat-of-my-pants' experience and it went really well. Unfortunately, I'm yet to finish Summer, but have since completed Sweetwater Springs. Sweetwater was also a seat-of-the-pants writing and I am very happy with the results.
But since those attempts, I've tried to spend more time planning, organizing, plotting.
For NaNoWriMo 2009, my first NaNoWriMo attempt, I did all kinds of planning. I had my characters well-defined. I did several character interviews. I had their pictures hanging on my wall above my workstation.
I use real people for my inspiration. I took time to research, plan and choose the right actor for the part. Just in case they ever made a movie out of my book, I'd know who was to play the part. You know, because - why wouldn't they want to make a movie out of my book!
As I continue to gear up for this years NaNoWriMo, I'm following people on Twitter and blogs who seem to have an endless supply of ideas and concepts for planning. Some of them I find very useful, others, not so much.
I did recently come across one suggestion that I'm trying, in an effort to get to know my characters and plot better before the big write-in. Ink Stained Scribe
The first part helps you get to know your character using Descriptors, Nouns, Secondary Descriptors, Motivations and Secondary Motivations. That post helped me get to know my early characters better. Define them. Help me plan for later for when my character must do something. I can think back on that summary of them and help them behave as expected.
I'm thinking of trying notecards this year for NaNoWriMo. Physical, write-on or print-on notecards. I've seen posts and suggestions to try this.
One thing I am learning, though, is that there is still plenty to learn.