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The One-Stop Fix-It Shop

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Sat Oct 26, 2013 2:26 pm
LadySpark says...

The closer you get to NaNoWriMo, the more the excitement rises. But not just the excitement! The fear that you're not going to get through NaNo with plot you have, the fear that your characters are developed enough... The fear that everything is going to fall apart once you get started.

When, in all actuality, it most likely isn't going to fall apart. It might change, it might stay the same, but as long as you keep plodding along at 1,667 words a day, you'll be fine.

And even if it does fall apart, what are first drafts for?

The One-Stop Fix-It Shop

Welcome to the One-Stop Fix-it Shop! I'm Spark, and I'll be talking about the fear of your novel not being good enough today.

First of all, you need to realize this is a first draft. It's also a first draft that's being written in thirty days. There isn't going to be anyone on this planet that is going to say your first draft, or for that matter, your second or even your tenth draft has to be or is going to be perfect. First drafts are messy. That's the point of them! To get your plan out on paper in some kind of story form. To begin the steps towards creating a novel. They're not supposed to be publisher ready, and if yours is, we need to have a talk about repressing your inner-editor during the month of November.

You haven't even begun and you're starting to doubt yourself? Way to look at the glass half empty, mate. You've got this, I promise! But if you're still looking for things to do, if merely to keep yourself busy, let's follow the steps of my One-Stop Fix-It guide to make sure your novel is NaNoWriMo ready.

Step One-
Have a friend or family member (or even a Spark on YWS) look over your plot. Ask them to be 100 percent honest. Where do they think you should expand? What ideas need to be pulled back?

Then, think about what they've said. Look at your plot. Decide to change everything or decide to change nothing, just listen to what your brain is telling you.

Step Two-
Leave your plot alone for at least 24 hours, or if you can, even longer. And when I say leave it alone, I mean don't go near it. Don't touch it. Don't even think about it.

Then return to it, and read it over. Comb it carefully. See what you think of it with fresh eyes.

Step Three-
Don't plan every single character flaw before NaNo. Discover things as you go.

I've found that if I detail the characters too much, I tend to refuse to let their character be what they are, and end up trying to stick to my outline too much. Characters need to be discovered as your writing. So let your outline be vague.

Step Four-
Make sure to leave room for wiggling.

If your plot is so nailed down, you might have trouble writing it in the future! Even if you plot for weeks before you start a project (and if that's you, I envy you. I can't do that.) normally, you need to leave a little wiggle room when it comes to NaNo. Otherwise you might simply get bored with your plot. Discovering things is the best!

Step Six-
Don't be afraid of change.

Whether that change is now, or that change is half way through November, or heck, twenty minutes before NaNoWriMo ends, don't be afraid of change. In fact, embrace it. Throw in a new character in there, or even something as small as a cat! It'll mix things up and keep you interested. (Speaking of cats, I just threw one in for my character that happens to be an angel. Its name is Alfred.)

If you were really paying attention, you'll notice I skipped step five. Why, you ask? Because no matter how many steps you follow, or how many magical recipes you concoct, at the end of the day this is your novel. Not mine, not your neighbor's, not your best friend's Labrador. Yours. If you think something needs changed, change it! Even if you decide to change it in the middle of the novel. I, myself added a new character 20,000 words in to my first NaNo, and by the end of the 50,000 words, he was my MC's new love interest, and her old love turned out to be evil. Yeah. Changing is okay. I loved John infinitely more than I ever loved Eitan, and it turned out to be what was best for the plot. So let your plot be yours! Don't worry about pleasing other's or making it perfect.

Let it be what it wants to be.

And with that, I conclude the final entry for the NaNoWriMo Prep Series! Good luck with your NaNoing, lovelies!
hush, my sweet
these tornadoes are for you

-Richard Siken

Formerly SparkToFlame

No person can be a great leader unless he takes genuine joy in the successes of those under him.
— W. A. Nance