Last-minute NaNoWriMo to do list

I’m gearing up to write a novel for National Novel Writing Month this year—for 2010 I plan to write a young adult speculative fiction story that will have LGBT themes and some homages to the 1970s, adventure tales, and classic time travel sci fi—so I had to put together my “to do” list before All Saints Day rolled around. For this novel, named PARALLAX, my list looks like this, in no particular order:

  • Draw rough maps of 1970s hometown and “the village”
  • Create back story for primary characters
  • Identify all secondary characters and outline some back story for each
  • Research the following: how to kill and clean a chicken, segregation laws in Virginia from 1909-1920, how to make a ham radio, various movie and song information from the 1970s
  • Write out themes, sub-plots and character arcs, and diagram the plot of the novel
  • Buy notebook and a few new writing implements to create the companion guide as I write
  • Sketch descriptions of each character for background development
  • Read 1-3 similar books before November begins

These are the things I would do even if I weren’t writing for NaNoWriMo, but since I have a hard and fast start and stop date, I feel more pressure to get a list ready so I don’t spend part of the 1st figuring out what I’m doing.

Yes, I started PARALLAX as a short story, and quickly realized that it was a full-length novel, not a short form narrative. I hope that’s not cheating too much; rest assured, I’ll change a lot of the text once I get rolling with the month-long challenge. This is the third or fourth time I’ve done NaNoWriMo, so perhaps having 2,000 words under my belt is more a necessary evil, as I’ve only “won” once.

I’d love to hear other writers’ tactics for getting off to a good start. Feel free to spread your ideas around in the comments section. And good nanowrimoing, everyone!

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Categories: ev's writing


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3 Comments on “Last-minute NaNoWriMo to do list”

  1. October 29, 2010 at 5:59 am #

    You’re far more prepared than I am. I have an opening line and some rough character sketches.

    • evmaroon
      October 29, 2010 at 8:50 pm #

      Hey, anything is good, right? And I heard from another writer that she has an outline with a writing prompt for every day of the month. That left me a little slack-jawed.


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