Preparing for NANOWRIMO

by RS on October 17, 2010

One of my writing buddies, Beth Camp, asked on her Facebook page what we’re doing to prepare for NANOWRIMO, so I figured this would be a good post and detail what I’m doing (or not).

Right now I feel like my dogs before I let them loose for a run. If you have a dog or dogs, you’ll understand what I mean. The anticipation to be released from the leash is too much. They’re whining, straining, and pulling. They’re muscles are so tight with joy and excitement of running free. They’re besides themselves. Once you let them go it’s Whoosh! They run, and run, and run. For the first five minutes it’s nothing but action, then they stop and piddle about with intermittent chasing, but mostly it’s sniffing and exploring with an occasional roll in deer droppings or a fox turd.

Well, I’m experiencing that ready to run bit. And as much as I want to start outlining, and getting reading for that big, first day, I’m keeping everything in my noggin. Why? First off, I don’t want to duplicate efforts. I’m waiting for Scrivener (eight more days!) to come out with its Windows beta version. In fact I am so obsessive about this program that I check their Facebook page everyday, and their forums with the hope that they release it sooner than October 25th. No chance in hell, according to their last forum post. I just have to tick off the days on my calendar, and wait patiently.

Nonetheless, I do have plans on how to plan The Wilde Solution so I thought  I would share them. Feel free to pop in with your comments, I’m always looking for ideas. Okay here goes . . .

  • As I mentioned, I’m waiting for the Windows version of Scrivener to come out so I can get familiar with the software and not stumble around wasting time during NANOWRIMO, but this time my approach to writing this story is very different. In what way? I’m going to outline. Yes. Me. Outline.  I never outline. This should be relatively easy because I know that The Wilde Solution is a three act story. I figure each section will have at least five chapters, so a total of fifteen chapters. Two, maybe, three scenes per chapter. So what I’ll do is breakdown the chapter with a title, and each scene with a subtitle. For example: Chapter One: The Dissertation. Scene One: Cyprian meets Hal, her dissertation chair.
  • Fleshing out my characters. I usually have a pretty good idea of who my characters are in my head, but this time I plan to write character bios and CVs, and I mean for all of them, including the minor ones. And I will try to find photos of who they resemble to better describe facial and body features. This is new for me. I mean I know what they look like, and I give readers pieces of those features then let them form their own pictures of the characters, but sometimes that doesn’t work. For example: When I gave the old, first chapter of The Wilde Solution to my friend Carol, I described Hal as paunchy. Now in my mind, Hal looked like the late actor Ron Silver. The way I described him was bearded and a bit paunchy . Yet, Carol read more into it and thought he was this fat, flabby, bald and a completely unattractive man. So this time, I plan to show a better picture of the character.
  • Although the story doesn’t require any research. In the sense that none of it has any historical context, I still have to some do some locale research. This story takes place in Berkeley, California. It’s been years since I used to hang out there, so I’ll need to use Google maps and photos to describe some of the places. Same with San Francisco.
  • I already have a good idea of the major plot points, but the subplot is a little iffy. Of course, this appears in the second half of the book where a lot of the action is supposed to take place. So instead of crossing that bridge when it happens, in my outlining mode I will stipulate where the sub-plot rears it’s head, where the confrontation occurs, and when it’s resolved.
  • The question of point of view was brought up by Carol, and she suggested I switch off between Hal and Cyprian. I originally wrote it with Hal POV, with the idea that the readers discover the mystery of Cyprian along with Hal. So do I keep it strictly from Hal’s perspective or do I switch off? Questionable. I’d love to write it as an omniscient narrator, but that’s hard to pull off, and sometimes it comes out stilted.  So it most likely will be third person, switching from Hal’s and Cyprian’s POVs. I’ll have to figure out how to drop hints along the way so the story isn’t given away in the first three chapters.

That’s about it for the time being. I’m sure along the way other things will pop up that I’ll need to think about.

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