Planning, Researching and Creating
NaNoWriMo Challenge Day 6
by Lauren Rothbauer
...Is it bad that I’m only just now getting to really putting the plan together for this novel?
What I know about my novel so far…
I know one of the characters, an alien named Number 7, is the male lead in this story. This where most of his conflict will come from, but the external conflict is where I'm stuck… Then there’s the female lead, currently named Poppy. I don't know much about her as of right now other than, the more I work it, the better Number 7 and Poppy contract each other, the former craving company and interaction and the latter being well off without it.
Despite the themes of space and galaxies and Number 7 being an alien from a hive mind, I do intend to steer it more towards psychological conflict. And I’m having so much fun with it. (If there is a demand to go into greater depth with the plot, I can save that for a later post.)
It's become quite apparent to me that this is going to take a bunch of discipline to put this all together. Planning and research will be key.
I did end up missing NaNoPlaMo, which is the month spent planning your novel in October. It would have most likely been nice to know, but better late than never!
You can plan your novel however you want, whether it’s in a document that always changes, a pad of paper, in your head or even if you’re just flying by the seat of your pants on it. I don’t always work out a plan (I remember being younger and thinking it was a waste of time) but it has helped so much for the novel. Not to mention I had a lot of fun with.
Suggestions tried & true for planning a novel…
I tend to use index cards for bigger projects to plan. A book has to have more than one single plot (you know, subplots) and what I heard is that you can color code index cards, write stuff on them, and build the story that way. Each color symbolizes a different plot or subplot. If you ever want to rearrange certain events so that something happens before something else, it’s easy.
I also have characters sheets in progress, asking questions from what their hair and eye color is, to who their family is or was, to what kind of peanut butter they prefer or how the define love. The male protagonist, Number Seven, I knew right away. The female protagonist, Poppy, not so much.
But another good thing is that I ran into a friend who is taking on the same challenge and manage to introduce me to NaNoWriMo.org. It’s a website dedicated to helping fellow writers along this journey so that they get the novel done on time. I have yet to update the information but I’m already finding that it helps a lot.
Do not underestimate the power of research!
Actually, some of the most fun I’ve had with this was in the research. It also gives me a clarity in direction for the novel. The genre is more rooted in science fiction, with romance elements. Researching, I learned something interesting about science fiction. One, that it’s more “speculative fiction” than science fiction, as it encompasses other sciences, like those concerning electronics and even psychology. And two, science fiction tries to pose and answer a central thesis. For example, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? asks, “What if robots were as complex and emotional as humans?” With that in mind, I guess the thesis of mine would be, “What if being alone in your own head was not the norm? And what if someone who never was alone in their own head before suddenly was?”
I’ll link the sources mentioned above after the summary. The NaNowriMo website helps a lot and Stand Out Books actually has a lot of interesting resources. It just might be one of my favorites. As a quick question to conclude, how do you work? How do you plan your writing? Do you need a plan or to you wing it? If you check out the sources, what do you think of them? Post comments below and I’ll see you in the next checkpoint. Happy writing!
For now, coffee.
Time Remaining: 24 days
Word Count: 5,273 words of 65,000 words
Morale: Relieved, yet frantic. Ready to get things done!