Nanowrimo Prep: Get to know your characters

After you complete you decide on an idea and outline how you see your novel break down, it is time to introduce yourself to your characters.

For my stories, I start with my main characters. I ask myself the following questions:

1. Who is this person (where was she born, does she have an accent, what is her nationality)?

2. What is her motivation in this novel (revenge, love, greed)?

3. Where do I WANT her character to end up. (I highlight the word want because as a writer I recognize this may change once the story unfolds and the character truly presents his/her true self)?

I then take this information and write a little snippet. It is like a scene that introduces me to character via the questions above. Sometimes these items get implemented into the story but many times I just use these stories as a reference point when trying to flesh out the character.

How do you get to know your characters? Share in the comments below:


Nanowrimo Prep: Outlining

After you have decided on an idea, the best step is to outline. I used to be a pantser, but never succeeded in my National Novel Writing Month goes. I would find myself stuck at mid-month, get frustrated, and then shelve the project. However this changed with Campnano.

During this summer version of Nanowrimo, I finished my first novel and it was because I sketched out what I wanted to do with my novel. I learned that I needed a shell – and this has served me well (unintentional rhyme!). I usually shoot for a 12 chapter outline. This is not set in stone! I started with a 12 chapter outline for my last book and ended up with a 26 chapter book once the novel was done.

For my current Nano project, I wrote a little blurb (summary) of what the story will be. Then I outline 10 chapters. I have a clear introduction to the character, a defining action for each chapter, and the ending. For me, I have to know the ending even though this may change as I write.
Outlining this story has really made me eager to begin this project. I can see the story taking shape and ideas just keep flowing in.

Do you outline for nano? Share your strategy in the comments below:




Nanowrimo Prep: What do I write about?

So like every writer, ideas pop into my head at any given moment. I have been driving my car, a thought pops in my head and bam I am scrambling for a pen to jot it down. Ideas also pop in when I am in the throes of writing others novels and doing my homework.

Thus, National Novel Writing Month (Nanowrimo) is almost upon me and I find myself reviewing sticky notes, Word document blurbs, Evernote, and random scribbling searching for the best of the best.

I spent Sunday afternoon reviewing my notes. It was AWESOME. I read all of these great ideas and reintroduced myself into these worlds I created. After one pass, I cleaned the house a little to see what stayed with me. If a story does not stay with you at this point, there is no need trying to dedicate a month to writing about it. Next, I narrowed it down to a top 3. These were ideas that I felt were my strongest contenders and they were a very colorful bunch. After writing little blurbs about these ideas, I sent them away to those whose feedback I treasured and asked what stood out to them. From there, I slept on the feedback and woke up knowing what was going to be my November project.

I am super excited about Nanowrimo and the story I have chosen to delve into. It was a choice between a mystery and something undefined – of course I chose the undefined one. It will be such a welcome challenge – the ideas will not let me breathe and I love when stories start like that!

Do you know what you’re writing for Nano? How did you decide? Share in the comments below!


Revisions: Repetitive Words

Many writers would say, an author usually writes like he/she talks. If you use “seriously” or “like” a lot in your daily speak, it is highly probable that it will turn up with some frequency in your novel.

In my case, the word is “immediately.”

I really don’t think I use the word much in my daily speak but it does creep up often in business emails and things of that nature. After making my novel into an Epub book so I could proofread it via my nook, my husband brought up one instance where it was used frequently – which then led me on a detailed search. My goodness, the results were never ending!

So my revision tip for this week is: look for repetitive words. Have your beta readers and CP’s make note of those words that crop up frequently. Also, if you are proofing on your own, read the first 3 chapters and notice words that pop up repeatedly. Adjust accordingly!

What words have popped up continuously in your writing?