NaNoWriMo Tips: Part 1

Writing

I just thought that I would post some ‘beginners tips’ for the folks who are going through their first year of NaNoWriMo.

So, here we go…

Step 1:  Do you have a plot written down?  Even if it’s full of plot-holes, it’s always a really good idea to write down things.  This is NaNoWriMo, after all!  Things like the general plot for your book, and the character descriptions are all things that should be written down–whether it be in a notebook, or on the computer.  Even if you think that you will remember everything about your story (because–hey–it’s your story, right?) chances are that you probably won’t.  Plus it helps to feel more organized and complete with your story, if you have things safely written down.

For the plot, you pretty much just write down what the ultimate goal of your story will be about.  Whether it be a grueling tale about two enemies who have to side with one another to save the world, or a more lighthearted tale about something a little bit less painful.  Like a sleepover that’s gone wrong.  It could even be a more creepy–or even a horror story–depending on what you like.

But whatever your book may be about, it has to have a plot.  Because–does anybody want to read a story where things that were never mentioned or even hinted at, suddenly pop in and save the day?  Or a story where everything is all happiness and gumdrops, with no actual point?

Nope.  I’m afraid that nobody wants to read those kinds of stories, and that they won’t even be as fun to write.

“But that’s too much work!”  You might say.  “I like coming up with my stories on my own, at the spur of the moment!  When I can just let my imagination poor out onto paper!”

I completely understand.  A lot of the times, it feels really good to just let your imagination and feelings poor out into written-down words.  But if you do that…  Well…  Chances are that book isn’t going to look too good.  :/

If you organize the plot beforehand, then I’d say that you have more of a chance of actually finishing the book.  And not just finishing the book–but finishing a good, enjoyable book.  Or, if you’re stubborn about it (like I have been for the past few years) you’ll just go ahead and do your book the way that you want it, with zero planning.  Because how bad can it be?  (Pretty bad.  I would know.  I thought that I was this totally awesome writer during my first year of NaNoWriMo, but by now–I’m rather disgusted at the things that I wrote that year.  😦 )

But don’t worry!  Just because you have to actually work to plan your book, doesn’t mean that it won’t be fun!  Try to throw some plot twists in there that you’re readers will only be hinted at.  😀

Also, if you think that you’re, like, the worst author ever.  Then it’s OK.  Chances are, that you just need a little bit of work.  Which just means you should write more often, and practice writing from different angles.  You may find which genre and (or) perspective that you like to write about/from most.  😀  But if you think that you are an awesome writer already, and that you will totally ace this whole thing.  Then good for you!  Keep up the confidence!

However, the older that you get, the more you see mistakes in your past writing, and the more you see ways to improve your current writing.

Step 2:  Character sheets!  Character descriptions!  Characters!

Do you know what a character sheet is?  It’s simple, really.  (And, it’s probably my favorite part.  8D  )

It doesn’t have to look fancy or sound fancy, and you don’t have to show it–along with any of your book planning–to anyone if you don’t want to.  But it’s something that you probably should do.

Every book needs characters.  Every character needs a personality, and his/her own look.  Just like people in real life.  Look around you…  Does everybody look the same?  No!  There are all types of people in the world.

Black-haired, ginger-haired, blondes, brunettes, shaved-heads, etc.  Brown eyes, green eyes, blue eyes, brown-eyes-that-are-so-dark-they-could-be-described-as-black, etc.  Tall people, short people, medium-sized people, stocky people, skinny-to-the-point-that-you-can-see-their-ribs people, fat people, etc.  Some people wear T-shirts and shorts, some people wear robes.  Some people wear turbans, some people wear stetsons.  There’s hardly an end to how your character can look.

If you’re character is an animal–it goes the same way.  There are all types of animals in the world.

Is your character from a made-up land?  You could even make up something new for them!

But like you probably already know.  There’s more to someone then just how they look.  What about how they think, their perspective, the way that their mind works?  What personality type are they?  Are they Left-handed or Right-handed?  And so on.

Here’s an example of a character sheet that I would write:

Name (Main Character):  Rostak.

Gender:  Male.

Personality:  Clever and observant, Rostak is a good tracker.  He is somewhat sharp-tongued and rude when disturbed, but is completely silent for most of the time.  Preferring not to attract attention, he keeps to himself; usually only leaving the house when he has been summoned for a tracking-mission, or is going to the library.

Appearance:  Tall and nimble, he is strong without really boasting it.  Rostak is dark-skinned with dark-brown eyes.  He wears a cloth over his face when it is cold, and a lighter cloth in the Summer, to protect him from the sun.  He wears traveling-boots that go up to a little ways below his knee, and long, baggy-brown pants that tuck into his boots.  Plus a tan-ish colored shirt that he tucks into his pants.

Jobs/Hobbies/Goals:  Rostak’s job is to track down missing prisoners and (or) runaways.  His hobbies are collecting different rocks and feathers.  His goal is to serve his king well and hard, but to someday move out onto the Plains, where he can be truly alone.

You see?  It’s fun to describe your own characters.  🙂

It’s basically your own kingdom (or spaceship, if you’re going for the Sci-Fi thing) where your are the leader.  What will you do with your people?  (Try not to kill too many of them, for one.  You only need so many deaths in one book.  :P)

What will you do with your book?

😉

Come back tomorrow for Part 2 of ‘NaNoWriMo Tips’!

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