NaNoWriMo Prep – trying to get through the Prep Webinars

So – the trip to London really knocked me out of my groove.  Although I had a great flight (had an entire row to myself from Detroit to London, and that almost never happens!), I got behind on my NaNoWriMo prep work.

I had meant to view the Prep Video/Webinar from last week, but finally started that last night once I got back to the hotel after work.  I only made it 1/3 of the way through, but here are my notes so far:

The NaNoWriMo Prep Panel:

There were five people who participated in the panel:

The webinar consisted of a number of questions posed to the panel.  Here are the highlights:

Plotter or Pantser?:

The first question the panel fielded was about “plotting” your book (meaning “outlining your book in advance), versus “pantsing” (or discovery writing) your book.  The panel was split but here are some tips they shared:

For the Pantsers:

For the Plotters:

  • An outline helps these writers know where they are going with the story
  • It is OK to change the outline once you get writing and know more about the story – it’s just meant to be a starting point
  • Your outline can be bullet style plot points – it doesn’t have to be too detailed, which still lets the story grow organically

How do you actually get your story started?

  • Get the first line of the novel down.  Then write the end of the book.
  • Once you know the beginning and the end, you can fill in the middle with the foreshadowing and character arcs
  • Find one scene that makes sense or that you are passionate about – doesn’t have to be the first scene
  • They all get stuck – everyone has moments of doubt.

What do you do when you get stuck?

  • Write something, anything, even if it has 100 things wrong with it.  That becomes your “to do” list instead of a beat down.  You can’t wait for your muse to strike – you have to write.
  • Create a scene and throw the characters into it – even though you don’t know what will happen.  You might cut a lot of this, but you learn a lot as well and get moving again.  Call it “A Day in the Life of My Character”.
  • Look at character motivations – even for side characters. Helps you understand all your characters and whether they belong in your story
  • Talk it through with another writer

What is the #1 element that your book has to have?

  • The Character Arc – character has to have movement and end up in another place. Quest, etc.
  • When writing YA – it’s a lot of discovery. Find out something about themselves through the telling of the story
  • For Adult Fiction – character needs to put things in perspective through their experience. How do those yesterdays drive their today and tomorrow.
  • What is the World View of the character, so you can tell their story?
  • Perspective shift through the eyes of more than one character to broaden the world view.
  • What does your main character want?”
    • At the beginning of the story
    • Does it change through the story?
    • PREP: ask “what does my character want?”


That was it – I hope to make it through the remaining 40 minutes of the webinar tonight and will post my notes when I’m done with that.

One final link from the prep notes: