Anyone that knows me, knows that I am a planner. And what’s even crazier is that I enjoy the whole planning process. So when I decided (and announced!) that I want to do NaNoWriMo this year, I knew I had to participate in Preptober. During the month of October, many people take the time to plan or make the decision to not have a plan for their novel if they are doing NaNoWriMo. Hence the name Preptober. I decided that in order to complete this year’s NaNoWriMo, I needed to give myself the proper tools to succeed in October.
First, I downloaded a program that would help me draft my story. I picked Scrivener (#notsponsored). In my opinion, it gives me more freedom when it comes to setting up my outline and working draft. This is not to say that Microsoft Word or Google Docs or any of the many writing programs out there aren’t great and don’t work for other people. This is just what I found to be best to suit my needs.
Before presenting something as a project, you usually have multiple drafts before the project is finalized. I expected this would be the case with the project I wanted to work on for NaNoWriMo. What I didn’t expect is that the outlining phase of my project would also go through several iterations as well. Below is what my outlining process was for this project.
I started off with a brain dump. I knew that I had an idea for a potential book. However, I didn’t realize how many other ideas I had in my head until I typed them up. Some of them have made it into the current project I am working on and some have been tabled for future projects. I don’t believe I deleted anything I wrote down because you never know if something might be useful later.
Making A List of Things I Love About Stories
I wanted to make a list of things that I absolutely love seeing in books. That way while I’m writing and when I go back an edit, I can include these things in my own work. Now there is always the chance that people won’t love the same things I love. I’m crossing my fingers that there is a fine line between the two. That means I would be creating and publishing something that I love and other people will hopefully enjoy it too.
I created a general overview of how I hoped the story would proceed. I knew that there was a potential for things to change. On the other hand, having this outline was definitely the first layer of the foundation for my project.
Save The Cat! Beat Sheet
Save The Cat! Beat Sheet Saved. My. Life. (also not sponsored). I did research on this outlining process and decided to incorporate it into my current project’s outline. Save The Cat! “is a popular story structure template that subdivides the beginning, middle, and end of a story into 15 “beats” or plot points.” (Savannah Gilbo) Now is this outlining process perfect, of course not but what is? It seemed suitable to my needs and that is what mattered to me. I took what others have said about the outline, including Savannah, and created an outline that was my own.
I combined my short outline and the outline I created using the Save The Cat! method to create my long outline. Then, I added more details to the outline to flesh out the scenes I was envisioning. This is the primary outline I am using to draft my book.
So far, everything is going well. Like way better than I could have ever imagined. Are you participating in NaNoWriMo? If so, how is it going?