Tuesday, November 2, 2010

NaNoWriMo Novel Preparation

If you've been out in the internet world, particularly the blogger world, recently, you would have heard something about NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, which is held in November. Brave and possibly crazy souls gather around the warm glow of their computers (or notebooks) and attempt to pound out 50,000 words in one month.

This is my second year participating in NaNoWriMo.

Last year, I wrote my YA Paranormal novel VIRTUOSO in 29 days and 68,000 words. I went into this novel with only an outline and a book blurb. A year later, I realize it wasn't a bad zero to first draft of a novel, but it needs a ton of work, which I'll start coming December.

Before I wrote VIRTUOSO in November 2009, I spent nine months and 98,000 words writing my YA Epic Fantasy novel THE PHOENIX PROPHETESS. It was the first novel I ever started and completed. I had the idea for the novel and a few notes on it. I pondered scenes for three years before I started typing the first chapter. Was I any more prepared to write THE PHOENIX PROPHETESS as opposed to VIRTUOSO? Maybe a little bit, but that novel needs work, too, and I hope to get back to it after I polish up VIRTUOSO.

Every writer approaches a novel differently, and there is no one way to do it. Some are pantsers...or they fly by the seat of their pants. They might have an idea or even just a character in mind. Then, they run with the story. Some might even have a brief outline or no outline. Others are plotters. They'll sit down and create the story before writing the story. It can takes days, months, or years. As I said, everyone is different.

For my first two novels, I must say I was a bit of both. I plotted a little more in VIRTUOSO than I did in THE PHOENIX PROPHETESS. I didn't even have an outline for THE PHOENIX PROPHETESS until I was 2/3rds finished with the novel. I wrote a chapter, and then spent a few days thinking about the next chapter. For VIRTUOSO, I stuck mainly with the major outline, but other characters and such popped up and I found ways to fit them into the storyline.

For my new novel, I wanted to do something different. I had just come out of the James River Writers Conference, and I heard about how different authors planned their novels. It inspired me to try a more plotted out approach. The new novel I'm writing is an adult thriller/horror novel titled SARAH'S NIGHTMARE. In October, I wrote a new book blurb for it, a timeline, an outline, and a synopsis. Then, I took the main three characters and created a character sketch or profile for them, which included key events in their lives, what they liked/disliked, appearance, personality, etc. I wrote a world building document, taking key places in the novel and describing them. I even went to the Mill Mountain Star in Roanoke and took pictures. The main action of my novel takes place there, and it was the first time I ever visited a place I was going to write about. It was SO helpful. I highly recommend it. After that, I did research on things I didn't know that would be helpful for my novel. I did all this before I wrote a single word of the actual novel.

Yesterday, I wrote 3393 words and two chapters in SARAH'S NIGHTMARE. So far, being prepared is working for me. We'll see if I can keep it up.

Here is the book blurb for SARAH'S NIGHTMARE:
A government secret program nestled under the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Five children ripped from their homes at twenty-year intervals.

With one exception in 1985.

Thirty-year-old Sarah Richards is an assistant professor for Star City College, pages away from finishing her doctoral thesis, and has a live-in boyfriend, psychiatrist Theodore Merriweather. She's happy and settled in her life. When she agrees to teach a History of Criminology course for a fellow professor, a case of missing children sucks her into the past and her own nightmares of wall monsters. The lights might not keep them at bay this time. The disappearances are happening again. While Sarah and grad student, Marc Bishop, race against the clock to stop this government conspiracy, they realize nightmares really do come true.


Sheila Deeth said...

Cool. Congratulations and good luck. Sounds like you're off to a great start.

Cherie Reich said...

Thanks, Sheila! And, I sent you a copy of my Once Upon a December Nightmare to the email on your blogger profile. You were one of the winners. :D

Aubrie said...

You are a NaNoWriMo champ, Cherie!

Lisa Rusczyk said...

Cherie, it sounds great. Sorry I haven't commented sooner, but m computer was messed up - Dad to the rescue! Took him 2 days to fix my puter and now I'm all good. Now to read your excerpt...

Cherie Reich said...

Thanks, Aubrie and Lisa!

Lisa - I'm glad your dad could fix the computer!