Countdown to NaNo: 5 days. To to list for NaNo: too long to count! (But I’ll pretend it’s only 5 because that has such a nice ring to it).
How do you know when you’ve planned something fully enough?
In the past three days of pre-writing I’ve learned that I overestimated some things and underestimated others. A character I was worried about personality-wise has charged into scenes and never lacked for opinions and ideas. A character I thought was all figured out is fumbling and doesn’t know why she’s there.
And yet, after the initial wave of terror passes I remind myself that this is a good thing. Discovering holes is necessary. How else can I work on the problem unless I know it’s a problem? Instead of “In five days I have to write about a character I don’t know!”, I can say “I have five days left to work on a character I don’t know well enough yet”.
I don’t actually talk to myself that nicely. But you get the idea.
So here are the 5 things I’m doing in the next 5 days for NaNoWriMo:
1. Character, show thyself. She will figure out why she’s there (I’ll double-check that everyone else answers the roll-call, too). And if she fumbles, it will be a character flaw and not a writer flaw.
2. Pre-writing stretch. Every day, at least 1667 words.
3. World-building rehash. I’m going over my outline to make sure that unique fantasy elements are placed, consistent, and foreshadowed. And if I have time to brain-storm some other ways to enhance these elements, that’s gravy.
4. Beat-sheet Battery. One printout to mark up testing for holes and pacing and whatever concerns crop up, another clean copy to mark up as I start writing (and if you read ‘battery’ as the kind involving violence, that’s a good description of my hand-writing).
5. Say it loud. Reading work aloud can be a great way to catch all sorts of things. But instead of reciting, I want to try a different approach. For every scene planned, I’ll “wing” a summary out loud like I’m explaining it to someone. Hopefully any weird things I missed will jump out and scream for my attention.
Got any last-minute preparation tips to make sure your story goes as planned or pantsed?