NaNoWriMo Prep: Ramblings of an Update

One of the items on my long bucket list is to finish a novel. I tried completing National Novel Writing Month a few years ago (six. six long years ago.), but I let finals prep always get in the way of finishing. I recently (by recently, I’m talking June-ish) pulled out that incomplete story and was impressed that I didn’t hate it. But I did realize how much I missed writing. This led to me attempting Camp NaNoWriMo this past July. I wrote 20,000 words of a fan fiction, which I’ve been staring at all week, debating whether I finish it or not. I’m thinking that posting the first chapter will kick my butt into gear and force me to finish it, but that’s a debate for another time.

You might be asking, “Why a fan fiction?” There are several factors that played into this. I haven’t tried writing since 2009-ish, outside of journals, twitter updates, grad school papers and work related nonsense. And after finishing Allegiant,  whose ending was good from a literary stand point but SO SUPER FRUSTRATING, I went digging for fan fiction to make me feel better.

Then it hit me. If I was going to ease back into writing, I might as well do it with characters and a world that has already been developed. That way it’s just plot building, not everything building. Plus, I went out West in July for a week, with no computer.

Camp Nanowrimo taught me that I can’t get by on vague plot ideas, hoping that an epiphany will hit at the right time. (It does, frequently, but that’s not a way to work). It was also my first time trying to write a novel out of sequence, rather than in a linear fashion. Linear fashion leads to my boredom usually, but it’s also hard for me to remember transitions. This year I invested in Scrivener, which really helped with doing this. Thus, I have 20,000 words of essential randomness with notes like “transition!” and “remember timelines!”

Because of this I started planning for November as early as possible, the moment I had an idea. I don’t have a clue how most writers do this; I think it’s about finding your own way. For me, I use four things to plan my writings: a cork board and index cards, a whiteboard, a notebook, and now Scrivener (or at least I’m trying to).


Thankfully I live alone, because these both exist in my foyer, along the same wall. My phone has way too many pictures of my whiteboard to be transfered, and I’m missing ones that I should have taken pictures of. I use my whiteboard for ideas that can be erased or need to be webbed out. My cork board is a collection of ideas that didn’t need to be expanded on or require potential multiple erasing. Quotes from people that sparked ideas, character cards, researched cards, the email address of the Xfinity person I am to contact if I have problems. My whiteboard also has a list of crochet projects I’ve promised to people, and notes regarding my fan fiction that I can’t bring myself to delete.

I’ve been told I can use Scrivener for all of this, but I just can’t bring myself to do so. Does anyone use Scrivener to its full potential? There is something about the need to physically outline rather than…virtually…that I prefer.

Anyways, I’ve began to flesh out my main character, and the basics of a plot outline. I’ve got a small list of things that I want that I haven’t achieved yet but that I want. I’ll probably spend today transferring notes to Scrivener and my notebook, as well as agonizing over if I an going to officially post my fan fic. November will be here before I know it.

2 responses to “NaNoWriMo Prep: Ramblings of an Update”

  1. Awww corkboards! I still have mine propped to the side of my bedroom wall, though admittedly it now serves as a quasi-scrapbook of postcards, acceptance letters, creative snail mail, and little voldie artwork XD. I should find a picture of it when it used to hold nothing but story notes.

    I had a free trial of Scrivener for a month a couple years back when I was doing my historical fantasy novel (for NaNoWriMo). It was really a great tool for organizing character sheets, event timelines, research, pictures, chapters, and notes. The only reason I don’t actually have it now is because the program is not compatible across the multiple platforms I use to access and scribble down notes (which include mini-notebooks, my Kindle, emails to myself on different computers, my Android phone, and my super-old, slow laptop). Maybe once I get myself a new laptop I might consider buying the program again. At least this time Scrivener is just as PC-friendly as it is Mac-friendly.

    1. Yeah that’s one thing I didn’t like. I use Jotter Pad on my tablet and phone though. I’m really looking forward to actually completing it this time!

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