Win NaNoWriMo Part 3 of 4: Create A Roadmap
My first National Novel Writing Month began with a sketchy concept that lived up to Benjamin Franklin’s prediction, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
When I tried again, in 2012, I sided with Markesa Yeager. She said, “Your mind is capable of making all things real for you…and with positive thinking and a tight plan, you can become unstoppable!”
All throughout that October, I did plan and plan and plan. On November 1st, I began, wrote for two days, piled up about 1,000 words and found that I hadn’t planned enough. Yes, I had a plot sequence but needed to know the characters and their settings. Why? Because I wanted a useful manuscript at midnight on November 30th and not a pile of meandering, serendipitous stuff where I re-wrote the same passage several times, forgot names and places and had otherwise created an editorial nightmare … a manuscript that I could not bare reading.
For those who fear falling behind, please know that when I started writing at mid month with about 48,000 words to go, I did log in at www.nanowrimo.org at around 8pm on November 30 with about 50,200 words, the organized and useful opening half of the novel’s first draft.
World War II General and President of the United States Dwight Eisenhower said, “In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” Eisenhower also oversaw construction of the interstate highway system so that we can now cross the country efficiently.
Writing novels can be like long-distance driving. Some travelers follow maps. Others use electronic guidance systems. The truly adventurous meander.
Meandering can be marvelous. Discovering the novel on the run can intrigue. But to finish with useful, organized material, here are some resources that may help with that indispensable planning.
- A Novel in 10 Steps
- The Hero’s Journey
- Outlining Blockbuster Novels
- Preparing to Write A Novel
- Publisher’s Weekly: 5 Writing Tips by Pulitzer Prize-winner Jane Smiley
Keep in mind
A goal without a plan is just a wish. — Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
In the planning stage of a book, don’t plan the ending. It has to be earned by all that will go before it. — Rose Tremain
Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning. — Gloria Steinem
First published, Autumn 2014