NaNoWriMo 2019: Warmup Step 2

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So, as you will have seen, I did things that added slight delays to writing practice every day in Step 1. We will still continue with sharing my strategy, in order, so you might work out what you need to do for this November.

Today, we will step off the computer for the first half. I will teach how I mapped the plot out in 2018. Next, I will show how to map it out in NaNoE for ourselves. This is being done by me early this year so you can take the time in October for yourself.

Take note: I will not be sharing what happens in Accidental Distance completely here. Rather, some information will be kept hidden.

Jot Characters Down

Take note, this strategy for planning our plot for 2019 will use paper, a pen (or pencil), little sticky notes, and a bit of filing. Similarly, we write it out on paper so we can have it anywhere for us glance at in the day. You might think of other things to add, what you should remove, or feel like a double-check of what you thought of.

So, grab your exam pad, then jot down the character’s name. I am planning the second book, so I won’t need to just change it completely, I have used the character before.

Create a box around him, I figured for my characters I wanted 8 per page and made the box that size.

Finally, we add in words to hint at what we want to know about the character. It can be a sentence, or two, or a word, or three, just jot ideas about the character in its box.

Now it is simple for us, we can go through each of the main characters we want to have in our story and come and we get to glance at our notes as fast as we need.

Finishing this strategy we can place this page into our file, I don’t buy file dividers though. We can use a little sticker folded over the side of the first page and mark it as characters for ourselves.

Jot Places Down

Now, this could be a slightly bigger task for you. You should understand that before you go through it. Think about where you want the story to take place.

For Accidental Distances:

  • On the new planet
  • Back on Mars

See? Simple (insert sarcastic winking eye here).

No, we cannot just go “let’s describe a planet,” or “let’s describe what Mars looks like.”

Consider where you want the story to take place for yourself. Back on Mars will happen to, thankfully, be right next to the base the settlers created. So, the first jot for a place will be there. I will describe and think of changes, how it looks, how you can get in or out now.

That is the smallest place for me to write. To help with this, we are now on the new planet right at the start of the second book. We are in a small plain bordered by a forest. The colors I’ve already adjusted for here, I will also add notes on how things look there.

If we can add interesting settings for everywhere, it will be even easier to write the plot ideas for the events in our novel. This way we can make our story exist in a lively world.

The blurred plot points

The Story Pipeline

Technically? This isn’t quite the best way to do it. It just works well for me. So, I figured I shall just share how I do it. This technique follows the ideas for how we will use NaNoE for ourselves.

Take note, this isn’t what will happen with your chapters when you write your novel in November. You can split anything up, move anything around, it is an easy way to do the initial mapping. It is nicer to have ideas for what you will write.

In the center of the top of your page write what the chapter should have. For instance, mine is simple: Sun Rises, where are we? That is the idea I have for where the story begins. Then, using arrows, I point at elements important to cover in this part of my plot. So adding notes, what I should pay attention to, whatever I should describe.

Consider this as if it is a short-hand summary of the entire story you are writing. This is just to remind yourself where the story should go. I find this easiest for working my story out.

Where shall we begin? All right, we are on a new planet; the colors are different. There can also be different smells perhaps, maybe the trees look different. Character 1 would do “something X”, so he finishes it off right here.

There we go, all of those as minimal jots on the first circle of what happens. Then the second circle, we also add interesting story ideas to it. We move on, and on, for ourselves. That way you should have a full idea of what you want to write for NaNoWriMo.

Now, it is something I remind you of a few times, just please take note. Never worry, this isn’t your actual novel. When you are writing you will also have new ideas, different ideas, and contradictory ideas. This can just help you work out how they can fit in when you are writing. This is helping to plan the idea you want your story to have. It may, or may not, end up keeping it. This can just help your story grow.

Let’s Move it to NaNoE

Now, take note, I will update NaNoE regularly for a while. The images here might be from an older version than you will use. I will try my best to keep the NaNoE download page up to date with any changes that may come. It should still work the same for this method, for the foreseeable future.

Obviously, we start by creating our novel save for ourselves to start it out for using NaNoE. My choice in this case is to create the file Accidental Distances. Natural Order. v1.0

You can tell, it will make it into the sqlite file for us. I will, essentially, regularly as part of my writing this November be keeping an exact copy of this file on my Google Drive and my OneDrive. I will have each location sync the sqlite database file, so you can understand I can then use NaNoE anywhere. My laptop, my tablet, my computer, my friend’s computer, you name it, I can access it everywhere easily.

Once we create our database for the novel in NaNoE we can start putting the elements into Helpers to the right.

You will note, with the updates NaNoE went through this year we have more control of what we want here. I will make each of the characters with their names. Any other item I add in helpers, such as the places, will be marked as such.

You will note, blurred just so I can be secretive. The next this is selecting one, then adding notes underneath it. This is from the words we hint at on the previous steps, though this time, we might add more. More descriptions, we may have thought of new things to add, and so on.

Next, we move on to the plot. We will do the chapters in order for ourselves, and this way we can easily jump around. Take note, this may not be the chapters you end up with while writing your novel. This is mostly just so the elements inside the plot are easy to jump through when you want to work out what you want to write.

You can map out anything here in the way you want to. It does bring a few ideas I want to bring to add to NaNoE which I will be putting in the updated version to download on the page later today. There will be more functionality again, bringing the older features back in, then also adding a few more for us.

Click Chapter Start and there you go, NaNoE we can use to write.

This will be where you can quickly move around in your plot ideas and see what you want for your novel this NaNoWriMo. Good luck this year!

My plan is simple every day:

  • Make sure I have the word count minimum for making sure I finish the 50k every day. So I’ll try to get 1667 a day minimum
  • Make sure I edit everything I wrote yesterday before I write something. This should help my editing and adjust my writing style
  • For October I will slowly adjust the elements in NaNoE, adjust my plot, and test more ideas for myself