After several years of writing novels during November, I’m finally starting to get more organized about the online guides I rely on to keep trying to make it work. Note that this post doesn’t explicitly include print books or other print materials, of which there are many excellent examples. And one caveat for you: Start with a good story idea. Brainstorm if you need a well-developed idea or premise to start with. It will help to visualize your idea in the context of the following developmental helpers for story writing.
Featured Resource: The Write Practice
The website Thewritepractice.com is quickly becoming my go-to NaNo prep resource this year. I’ll spare you the effort to recall exactly how I happened upon it. The point is I’ve found it really helpful, full of a-ha moments. Here are some of the particular a-ha moment articles I recommend so far, whether you’re a planner, a pantser, or aren’t sure what kind of approach you take yet but just might want to try writing a novel.
- How a Scene List Can Change Your Novel Writing Life
- How to Leverage Point of View to Power Your Story (part 1 of 2)
- Point of View Magic: How to Cast a Spell on Your Readers (part 2 of 2)
- The Strongest Form of Characterization
I find each article engaging and digestible, and each ends with a writing prompt exercise. I’m using them to recall and dive deeper into the principles of story writing as I figure out what my novel will be about this November. I hope you find something insightful in them.
A handful of other great materials I’ve found useful since 2011, my first year of NaNoWriMo:
National Novel Writing Month Young Writers Program Workbook (download the high school pdf) – Worksheets on everything from finding a premise to determining setting and conflict to writing good dialogue to choosing types of antagonists and more.
A Compendium of Novel Structure Resources – Just during drafting of this post, I found from Storm Writing School what might be the mother lode. It captures and links to 7 of the story structure systems and resources I’ve consulted or used in the past (Syd Field, Dan Wells, Christopher Vogler, Larry Brooks, Blake Snyder, K.M. Weiland, and Dramatica!), plus many I’ve never heard of! The article addresses the nature of acts (Act I, Act II, Act III) and organizes the resources into three aspects or types of structural frameworks–named stages, plot point outlines, and process guides. Check it out!
Brainstorming, Outlining, Drafting, Progress Tracking, Moral Support, and Organizational Tools including Mindly; AirTable; Nanowrimo.org library, word sprint tool, stats and goal trackers, pep talks, forums, and their blog; Writeometer and other word sprint/progress tracking tools; Scrivener; and PlumeCreator (open source).
Happy noveling or whatever writing you do!
If you enjoyed this post or want to know more about my personal novel writing journey and what NaNoWriMo–and Camp NaNoWriMo–can be like, I recommend:
- Noveling in November
- Five-Phrase Friday (16): Alphas and Omegas
- This Hunted Story
- Novel Excerpt: Song meets Alice
- NaNoWriMo blog “Now What?” post-noveling resources
- Literary April: National Poetry Month and Camp NaNoWriMo
- Camp NaNoWriMo: Song of Spring
- Packing for Camp
- Last Week of Camp: Ready to Start
- Won–and That Much Closer to Done: NaNoWriMo 2017