We’ve reached the first week of October and you know what that means? There’s only about 30 days left until the start of National Novel Writing Month in November. This is a very exciting month for me. Unlike during the summer, I will attempt to write the complete 50,000 words in November.
I don’t consider myself an experience participant of NaNoWriMo because surprises hide behind every corner and I can’t say that I will accomplish the goal. However, I will work really hard to meet that goal despite all the other responsibilities that I have.
Although I don’t call myself an expert, I do have some wisdom to share – if you can call it that. Whether this is your first time participating or not, I feel like there’s a lingering fear (or maybe it’s just me) that I will come across a wall and have nothing to write about or that my muse packed her bags and left me in the middle of the month. So, in order to avoid that, I have a few tricks that have gotten me through tough writing situations.
A. Who is the story about?
B.What do they want?
C. How are they going to get it?
This is all about the main character. What does s/he want in life? Is it to win a basketball game? Is it to date a friend? Having an idea of what your character wants can lead the writing for quite a while. Plus, knowing what they want and forming an idea of how the character can achieve that goal is a great place to start.
Once these questions are answered – and they might not be answered at the beginning. Sometimes it takes a few chapters – then take a look at what obstacles the character has to face in order to accomplish this goal.
D. What are the obstacles?
E. Who is their rival towards accomplishing this goal?
I use these questions to get me started and then I write it down on a timeline of sorts. This helps me know where the story is headed and how to get there. Even having an idea of how it is going to end helps a lot. If I know that much then, I can work backwards and figure out how the character is going to get there.
Of course, I’m not saying that you need to know what your character likes for breakfast on most days. All I’m saying is that knowing what your character wants is a good lead to figuring out how the story is going to unfold.