So my writing friends, the time is again upon us to plan for Nano! For weeks I had no idea what I wanted to write about, but a grand idea has come to me and now I am excited about the upcoming Nano month. Today I wanted to talk about planning. How do you get ready for your writing? Some years I have just gone into the month without much planning at all, other times I have done quite a bit of writing before hand in an effort to get to know my characters. This year was a planning year so I am excited to share some ideas. If you do something different, or find something that works really good for you feel free to share it.Today I am going to cover just one of my techniques, and hopefully we can cover others through out the rest of the week.
1. First off you need to have a good idea of what you want to write about, what you wanted my plot to be like and picking characters that fit with your ideas. Also a time period, setting, and lesser characters all need to be decided. In my case I needed a hero and a heroin, but there are a lot of players in this new book and I wanted to be able to keep them all straight, but how?
2. Character interviews, or reviews. Sometimes it is helpful to ask your characters questions about what they want from the story. What is their end goal? What do they want to succeed? This is a good way to get to know your characters. I read somewhere that even our villains think they have good intentions. Not every one is purely evil, most good bad guys have very human, understandable traits. Make sure that you know what everyone wants from the story so that you can understand why they do the things that they do. Things like age, birth, childhood memories, and physical characteristics are helpful in this stage so you know what their proper reaction to things will be. A twenty year old woman is going to react differently than a thirty five year old woman. Maturity or perceived maturity is a big thing in writing to make it believable. Rich, poor, strong, weak, all of these characteristics will lend life to your character.
Also background checks are incredibly important. There isn't a lot of time to fill your manuscripts full of background, but that doesn't mean that your characters don't have one. The things that happen in our lives make us who we are, influence what we do from here on out. We can't just assume that a person is a villain because we want them to be, there has to be a real reason for the story to be valid. The same goes for our hero's, they are human but something about their past has caused them to be heroic, what was it? These are good questions to ask your character so you know them before you start writing their lives.
I find if I know my characters and what motivates them I don't spend time trying to figure out what they would do in a certain situation. It would be completely natural to write what happens next because I know them better than I know myself. Don't be afraid to do this because you think there will be no spontaneity in your writing because that just isn't the case. Sometimes, more often then not, I still manage to surprise myself with what I do. Just because you know someone doesn't mean they can't surprise you.
Those are two of my preparations for writing Nano. I should really take a lesson from myself and be better at doing this for my other manuscripts. If you do something similar let us know it, comparing notes is the best way to improve our writing.