- Sam McAdams
- Have been NaNo’ing for ten years; first year as an ML
- National Novel Writing Month started by Chris Baty in 1999
- Goal: 50,000+ words in 30 days (1667 words per day)
- Finish your story in the month if at all possible (when you are surrounded by your support system)
- Sign up at nanowrimo.org (there will be some e-mail pep)
- Donate and buy NaNoWriMo swag (everything is free but NaNoWriMo need funds to keep the website going and to fund the Young Writers Program)
- Track your progress on nanowrimo.org. Make sure you update your wordcount every day.
- Don’t forget to validate and submit your word count to be eligible for the sponsor prizes. Must be validated by Nov 30.
- You can estimate if you are hand writing.
- Q: If you submit early but keep writing, can you resubmit? Yes.
- Regional forum
- Make sure you set up USA :: Illinois :: Naperville as your home
- Regional site: naperwrimo.org
- naperwrimo.org/events – has the whole calendar with prep workshops, meetups, write-ins, kick-off
- RSVP to the kick-off for the pot-luck
- naperwrimo.org/irc – online chat room
- The (Writing) Journey (writingjourney.org)
- Cafeteria style–join in whatever interests you
- workshops, writing exercises
- social get togethers
- Shakespeare Reader’s Theatre
- short story anthologies
- writing retreats
- NaNo Hipster PDA
- tips for getting through writer’s block
- Try for NaNo Bingo
- reference links
- NaNo calendar
- Why do NaNo? Big support system in November, deadlines of NaNoWriMo
- Write-ins (lots of them, some as part of our Library Crawl)
- You can get a card from each write-in
- You can turn these in for raffle tickets
- kick-off party Saturday, October 24, 11:45 am – 2:45 pm, please RSVP
- TGIO party, Saturday, December 5th (there will also be an RSVP sign)
- mid-month meetup at Pal Joey’s
- All-day write-in, 9 AM-9 PM, Friday, November 13th
- Prizes from NaNo sponsors
- hardcover and paperback books
Visualize Your Novel: Creating an Outline for Your Story
Presented by Sam Brown (aka Basil Cliffside) – see the Powerpoint slides
- Started NaNo in 2011, have participated in five, won three
- Did a Camp NaNoWriMo
- Was a pantser the first time she did it (2011) – didn’t want to look up any rules or advice, just to get a feel for it. Perfectly viable option for a first time.
- Second time worked on the same thing: 150K words, not all the way done
- Third time: Fall, 2012, doing it by the book (new idea), planned it out, outlined it, had 32 index cards – roughly one card per day. Had a better handle on things, more freedom to play around. Cool experience.
- Plotting made a lot more sense to me.
- Useful to explore preparing: Back cover blurb to detailed summary.
- Sam is an artist, has a 3D visualization company
- You have a story idea, might be a little nervous but excited.
- Writing is the best; adults need more opportunities to exercise their imagination and creativity–writing is a great way to do that.
Writing 50,000 words
- Flying high on the writing buzz
- Many resources in the NaperWriMo group, in the websites. You’re imagining yourself in coffee shops. Muse whispering constantly in your ear.
- Blank page can be a scary thing.
- Easy to forget that you have to do it.
- Writing an outline can help eliminate that deer-in-the-headlights feeling every day.
Plotting vs. Pantsing
- Pantsing feeds off of NaNo energy
- Energy is great for first timers, letting loose and getting rid of the inner editor, get a feel for what 50K words feels like.
- Some people don’t want to publish and just want to write–that’s perfectly viable.
Plotting is a slightly calmer ride. Gives you a better chance at publishing–you’ll solve some problems ahead of time.
- Plotting gives you the steering wheel.
- Can be a brief summary to an in-depth roadmap.
- Excellent for pacing.
- Good for spotting problems, connections between people, sets up your story for its brightest future.
- Socrates or Plato said this. Be honest with yourself. Figure out what kind of person you are. What do you like?
Road trip analogy
- Imagine you are planning a trip. How much would you plan out?
- Most people will want an idea of where you’re going.
- Are you the kind of person who plans out budget, weather forecast, things to do, plan B, contingencies?
- Or are you the kind of person who picks out certain landmarks and bullet points of things to see?
- Or do you say, I have gas in my tank and am set to go!
- You’re off to the grocery store: what do you bring with you?
- A detailed list of everything you need and coupons you’ve clipped the day before
- It’s Saturday night, what do you wear?
- Amongst your friends you can always be counted to
- be on time and know exactly where the group is going
- You finally have a free weekend afternoon, what do you do with it?
- Catch up on sleep and old movies
- It’s your birthday, what do you want to do?
- You’ll be going on that fabulous vacation you’ve planned
mostly A’s: you’re a plotter
- mostly B’s: you’re a bit of both; enjoy the best of both worlds. Foresight is good, but don’t plan the life out of your story
- mostly C’s: You are a pantser, a ball of creative energy
Many ways to outline your novel
- skeletal outline
- visual map
- expanding snowflake
- contextual prep
- go tech
- Start iwth a sentence or paragraph (back cover blurb)
- Elaborate some more (a page to a couple pages)
- Write the whole story (but without the dialogue, sensory descriptions, exposition, etc) — what will happen in each phase of your story
- Keep it loose; if you don’t like something, cross it out.
- Like research papers in school–breaking things down into bullet points; organizing it
- Looking at a huge block of text is intimidating, so sectioning it out into short bullet points with different headings will make it less intimidating, easier to say what has to be done in week 1, week 2 or day by day
- Separate events into scenes, scenes into chapters, …
- Visualize how much of your story is spent on beginning, middle and end
- You can use a spreadsheet:
- when (date, time)
- Avoid consistency issues (through time and location)
- Index cards on a bulletin board
- you can do a scene for each one
- easy to rearrange things
- divide total by 30 to finish your whole story in November
- bird’s eye or God’s eye view of your world (zoomed out for a good perspective)
- Visual learners are rare (16% of people are visual learners)
- Mind mapping
- Great way to organize things: you can start with a core idea and work out from there
- Diagram how characters are connected to each other
- Collect pictures and make sketches
- You can use index cards (e.g., with characters)
- Seeing everything in front of you can illuminate plot holes and weak spots
- Expanding snowflake method is similar — look it up; very good for initial planning
Floor plan, map of surrounding town, inspirational, evocative images
- Spread things out, solve the problems, put cards in order; when writing, stayed on track; be sure to number the cards
- Google keep to keep track of scenes, then archive the note
- There is an app for ipad called index cards (by the same company that does Scrivener)
- Takes the most amount of time
- World building — taking care of the minutiae so that when you’re writing you don’t have to do research
- you could also make markers and placeholders to replace later
- Character bios, character sheets
- secondary and tertiary characters too: gives you something to draw on
- Floor plans and world maps
- Historical information
- helps set the mood
- Political, cultural, or religious info
- Clothing and hairstyles of all your different characters, to give your story life through descriptions
- Many apps and software
- Google docs (folders, multimedia)
- Google keep
- ywriter (word processor that tracks chapters, scenes, characters, locations, etc)
- rate the tension by scene to avoid having too many successive scenes with high tension
- Aeon Timeline (~$40) – tracks chronology and a lot more
- Scrivener ($) – word processor and outliner designed for authors
- 50% coupon through NaNo
- Scapple ($) – streamlined mind mapping
- Trello (project organizer, good for collaboration)
- WorkFlowy – an online notebook for lists
Group 3: Visual map
- Old Mother Hubbard went to the cupboard to give her poor dog a bone. When she came there, the cupboard was bare and so the poor dog had none.
- Historical mystery: where did the bone go?
- The dog killed Mr. Hubbard
- Mr. Hubbard #3? #4? Those are his bones in the cupboard
- Mrs. Hubbard stole children and used them to commit crimes
- The children, tired of crime and poverty, left when they grew up but are now sniffing around, sure that Old Mother Hubbard is wealthier than she is letting on.
- A new Mr. Hubbard is being sought by Mrs. Hubbard, who is not nearly as old and dumpy as she usually disguises herself to be. She seeks him at the Moulin Rouge
- Her children discover the cupboard of bones and decide to try to blackmail Old Mother Hubbard. Twist: the kids are all adopted, though they didn’t know it.
- The dog is found starved to death.
- Old Mother Hubbard feeds new bones to the new puppy (the new bones are from her kids!).
Group 1: Humpty Dumpty (summary)
- expanded each sentence
- while running a marathon, HD becomes exhausted (last of the noble egg people)
- sits on city wall where the marathon was taking place
- he falls (literal and metaphorical)
- goes on a murderous rampage
- taken into custody, last of his kind so he receives best medical care from best doctors and psychiatrists
- they are unable to put him back together
- zooms out from softly padded cell
Group 2: Jack and Jill (skeletal outline)
- the Journey: Jack has car trouble in the badlands; picks up hitchiker Jill
- he goes to relieve himself, she uses the water to wash up
- they needed the water for the radiator
- walks up to the top of the hill (part II)
- they fill up the pail
- they realize the water is gone (splashed out)
- Jack accuses her of wasting water
- Jack falls down, Jill falls too and they die in each other’s arm
- There is a website: Does the dog die?
Group 4: Contextual preparation: Three Blind Mice
- Poor three mice are orphaned mice (Huey, Dewey, Louie)
- crazed farmer’s wife used chemicals (killed mice parents and left them blind)
- sparrow Angela watches out for the mice (surrogate mother)
- Angela has made a nest outside
- Farmer’s wife knocks down the nest and break her eggs
- mice decide to chase the woman
- they chase her out of the house
- she has armed herself with a carving knife
- she ends the mouse’s tale
- she kills the second one
- the third is by the well, she goes to kill it, Angela pushes her into the well
- all three mice die but Angela lives
- Favorite writing resources
- podcast: writing excuses (authors talking about the craft of writing)
- storyfix – e-mailed newsletter (weekly)
- breaks down writing into a formula
- nice to get that perspective: it is easy to have an idea and not realize that you don’t have the premise, concept, idea.
- lots of data on the website
- paid story doctor analyses available
- useful when you have a draft to get beta readers to spot things (people who aren’t writers)
- alpha readers (writers) are super helpful too (you can get this at critique circle)
- you submit your novel chapter by chapter
- you have to do other people’s works to get credits (give and take)
- search by genre
- writing groups
- super helpful
- love NaNoWriMo and the Journey
- nice to be around people who like to write
- even if just accountability
- talks and workshops
- there are free programs at libraries
- there are paid workshops you can attend
- ChiWriMo events as well
- just research
- Find me on nanowrimo.org by searching “Basil Cliffside“
- XMind (free, multiplatform) mindmapping
- build and decompose the novel
- you can load the information into your mind
- export it to a text file for easy searching through and reference during November
- Mind mapping helps
- characters who interact; each character has their own story arc
- each scene from beginning to end
- meshing the scenes and story arcs (you can put them into index cards)
- Scenes throughout the story
- Omnioutliner (fairly expensive)
- You can assemble the outline, attach pictures to your outline, web links, video clips
- You can collect pictures
- you can pin things into Evernote like with pinterest
- you can search for words in the documents, tag things you’ve saved
- there are apps for your phone
- Chuck Wendig: Terrible Minds (NSFW language)
- great advice
- October 6: how to outline things for NaNoWriMo
tl;dr: Take your picture with Nellie the NaNo mouse (PDF, download, print out, cut out) doing something NaNoWriMo-related (novel planning, brainstorming, writing (in November), attending a NaNo prep session or other event) and post it with the tag #nelliethenanomouse
Once upon a time, a mouse lived within the NaNoWriMo Library of the Imagination. Her name was Nellie. She was different from other mice; she loved to read the many novels in the Library. Careful to wait till nightfall when all the people had left the Library, Nellie would creep around reading books of every sort. One night she got curious and decided to see what was in that really big book she’d never had the nerve to try to open before…
Wham! Very unexpectedly, the book fell upon her. It flattened her completely.
Fortunately, the next morning she was found by a kind librarian, Mrs. Wigglefingers, who also happened to love books. Mrs. Wigglefingers had worked in the library for so many years, no one knew how old she was. Some people thought she lived there, others thought she magically disappeared into the books at night. She greeted everyone at the door every morning with a smile and a wink and sometimes a wiggle of her finger if someone didn’t return their book on time.
This particular morning as Mrs. Wigglefingers patrolled the rows and rows of books, she noticed one lying on the floor. “I wonder how this fell off the shelf?” she said to the other books. They sat stoic in their slots, sworn to never tell what went on at night in the library although Mrs. Wigglefingers had a pretty good idea.
She bent down and picked it up. Underneath was a mouse, all flattened like a piece of paper. “Oh, you poor dear,” she said. She placed the book on a nearby shelf and carefully lifted the flat mouse, holding it by its tail, then laying it on her palm. “What shall I do with you?”
As Mrs. Wigglefingers was about to carry the flat mouse to the back of the library, it opened one eye and tried to raise itself upright. The mouse stood unsteady on its two hind feet and used its tail to help balance itself. It stared at Mrs. Wigglefingers, then flexed forward in a tiny curtsy. “Thank you,” it said. “You saved me.”
Now, Mrs. Wigglefingers was used to unusual things happening around her, after all, she was old and lived in a library full of imagination, but she’d never seen a flat mouse before, let alone one who could move or talk. She did what any self-respecting librarian would do and introduced herself.
The mouse replied, “My name is Nellie. Pleased to meet you.”
Over time Nellie and Mrs. Wigglefingers became close friends. Nellie told her of the many books she had read and enjoyed; Mrs. Wigglefingers regaled her new friend with stories of her many travels before she had settled down. Mrs. Wigglefingers could see the young mouse’s eyes shining with delight at the thought of seeing so many new and different places.
One day, Mrs. Wigglefingers had a surprise for Nellie, who had grown accustomed to her flattened state. It was a stamped envelope addressed to one of Mrs. Wigglefingers’ many librarian and writer friends.
“I am going to send you on a wondrous journey,” the old woman said with a huge grin. “Though I am too old to travel myself, the post service will aid you in traveling to visit many different places.”
Nellie clapped her flat hands together with delight. “How can I ever repay you for your kindness?”
“With the letter I’m enclosing, I am asking my friends to take pictures of you with themselves and to post them in the nanowrimo.org forums. You’ll see many lands and meet many writers and librarians–they are the best kinds of people. I know you will make lifelong friends in your journeys.” Mrs. Wigglefingers gently touched Nellie’s arm. “The joy I see you have will make me happy; and I know I will enjoy hearing your travel tales when you return.”
With that, Nellie wiggled into the envelope, letting her friend know that she was quite comfortable there. “I shall just take a long nap until I arrive,” she announced.