Sherri Lupton Hollister

Nanowrimo Inspiration

November is NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). For those who have never tried NaNo, it is an amazing experience. You push yourself to see how much you can write in a month, the goal is to finish a novel. A couple of years ago I tried it and succeeded with over 60,000 words. It was hard work and the month of November isn’t the best month for me to do a project of this magnitude. By December first, I was exhausted and spent much of the month trying to catch up with all my holiday plans. But I’m glad I did it. It proved to me that I could work on a time limit, plan out a novel and stick with a goal.

How did I succeed? Well, I’m a pantser and I hate to outline but because I write suspense and I wanted to stay on task, I needed to do some planning. A writer friend, Kate Parker gave me the idea of using sticky notes and a folding board. I wrote everything I wanted in the story: 1) characters’ names and a brief description of them (looks, emotional baggage and ticks or tells or picture), 2) places/settings with a brief description or even a picture, 3) plot points (i.e. Jack will fall down, Jill will tumble after, Mom wraps his head in brown paper, etc.). I even wrote out red herring ideas and clues.

No matter what genre you write, if you are a plotter or pantser, it doesn’t hurt to have a few ideas planned out. I love the idea of the sticky notes because I can move them around to suit my changing mind. If you’re thinking about NaNoWriMo, go for it and don’t forget to plan it out.

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