The Looming (of NaNo) – Jigging the Plans for Success

It’s Friday morning my time – eta on NaNo: 40 hours away. With this looming month of torturous writing upon me, I have come to the slow understanding that my initial plans for writing during the challenge were scarpered a few weeks ago.

So, to achieve success, I’m rejigging those plans and objectives for the marathon. Because we own this, so we are at liberty to plan our own successes (possibly by cheating).


My initial plan to make use of the huge writing marathon was to rewrite a novel completed last year.

This month I’ve spent in re-planning and re-plotting mode. I’ve used a combination of plotting strategies – including a run through a heroine’s journey, mapping onto various plot paradigms (like this one, free), some further character development using enneagrams, myers-briggs types and other psychometric typologies, and some work in the more visual of outlining methods. And naturally, I’ve also explored and picked apart my old manuscript.

The upshot is that this morning I look ahead to the next month, and have managed to put some consideration into a niggly gut feeling I’ve had for several days – realising that I need to put a bit of a distance between my plotting and the actual writing.  I’m too close, and I’ve spent a lot of effort in development, perhaps too much – but I’m of the ‘fill-up-the-well’ type of planner – it may not be used, but it’s useful.

Although the passion for the work remains, I feel a need for time to aid clarity and alleviate writerly fear – fear of failing at something that means so much to me. A bit of distance will allow me that.

Also, I’m scheduled on an all day softball tournament this coming Sunday – and I’m the scorer. The tournament was moved from last weekend , and now appears on NaNo beginning day. It seems I may be getting a little hint from above too.

Anyone who’s attempted to focus on a little ball and some often debatable or weak umpire calls, for five games and ten hours on-the-trot will have some idea of the amount of recovery time my older brain needs to get back fully into action. Last tournament it took me two days before I was out of my jet-lag phase.

That’s three possible days out of NaNoWriMo right at the start.

So, I’ve rejigged.

NaNoWriMo is changing lately. Many writers appreciate the camaraderie of the international challenge, but are taking the “No” out of it, and writing 50K of something else. There’s a large group of short story writers in the NaNo community, and a growing group of poets or other short form, and non-fiction book writers.

My Plan B is somewhat piecemeal but continues in the same story world of my project.: For NaNoWriMo this year, I aim to produce 50K or more of new fictional words based on my WIP storyworld –

  • Short stories (totally unplanned, but will plotted out the night before)
  • Supplementary storyworld lexicon work – these are supplementary documents which I intend making available at some point around the novel(s).
  • Diary entries from main characters through the events
  • Social media (fake) statuses for main characters
  • Some creative works (sketch drawings etc) – won’t count for wordcount, but will keep me happy and creative.
  • Other works as I see fit.

The one rule is that these all must fit within my fictional storyworld, so additional writing like these blog posts or any other fiction does not count for NaNoWriMo.

Because of the sporadic nature of this plan, there may be days where I will not post word count added, and other days which may contain an amalgamated word count.  I will still commit to writing the minimal 1600 words per day.  I don’t intend publishing these to this blog on a daily basis – perhaps just a weekly checkin of wordcount and what’s been achieved will keep me honest with myself at least.

The NaNoWriMo websites suggests I have a 60% better chance of succeeding if I upload a cover image. I’m not too worried if I win or not this year – any amount of new words is a bonus, and I already feel some success from the outlining work I’ve just gone through. But I quickly threw together a collaged design for this year’s cover, shown above.

To all the NaNo or non-NaNo writers out there, I wish you all the best of luck, and more importantly, several hundred or thousand new words.



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