When I first thought of the challenge of NaNoWriMo, to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days, I wasn't sure I could do it. As we are now about a third of the way through, and I am (mostly) on target, I figured I'd share my method of how I can do this.
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First, I came up with a general story line. I sat in my car with my kids one day waiting for the other kid to come out of piano class. As we sat there, we talked about possible storylines and what might happen.
From there, I wrote down about 5 sentences of a rough story. Next, I expanded it to ten sentences. As the concept grew, I started breaking it out into chapters.
In the case for Redemption, I was sitting in a morning meeting at work being thoroughly bored. I pulled out my ipod, and wrote down:
Ch4: Wakes up, has a battle. Treynor comes to rescue. Line: "they don't have a name, I just kill them."
Ch5: starts apprenticeship, learns no reason for this, and turns bitter.
Ch6: (sorry, can't share this just yet!)
But in that meeting, I turned my ten sentences into roughly 25, with about 15 chapter breaks.
It largely depends on how YOUR story-telling style goes. Honestly, other than my 15 sentences still left to work on, I have no idea how the story will turn out. I only know the basic flow it. It's as though I am watching a movie where the charachters have a few cue cards, and the rest of it is improv.
I'm just a member in the audience, watching what I see and transcribing it down for you, my dear readers.
Oh yes, one last tidbit. I'm really not trying to have a complete chapter each and every night. I *know* I am missing details. I even put notes in there saying "add detail later" so I can get back to it. My goal for the first 50% (25,000 words) is to get the PLOT down. Get the people in place, figure out who lives, who dies, who is just a side-charachter after all.
Once I know that, I can go back afterwards and add in the other 25,000 words as detials. Once I have the personality, I can get their clothing to suit, touch up their comments, that sort of thing.
That being said, it's not been terribly hard to reach the daily goal of 1700 words a day. My problem is not in lack of material, but in finding the TIME for it. With a spouse, kids, animals, job, and all the things that make up daily life, you need to find the time to do what it is you love. And if you're reading this, then I know writing is one of those things.