Tuesday, September 1, 2015

NaNoWriMo Prep: Using Writing Craft Books

NaNoWriMo starts in two months! Who's excited?
What do you mean, you haven't even started thinking about NaNoWriMo yet?

I am a four-time NaNo winner who loves November with all her chilly little heart (I live in Wyoming--it's cold here in November). I also started doing Camp NaNo this year, both the April and July sessions. The first year, I pantsed my way through 50K. Second year was the same. The third time, I tried to spend fifteen minutes each night outlining where I would go the next night. By the fourth year, I converted to outlining, spending September and October laying out each scene for that year's project.
I completed and polished both the novels from year one and year four, and after both editing experiences I can definitely say that editing the outlined book was amazingly easier. So I am a confirmed planner now (sorry, Team PANTS).
But wait! Don't go away, pansters! I have a little something for everyone today. Whether you like to go into NaNo with a fully-outlined novel or just the hint of an idea, you can still begin your preparation now.
I didn't discover writing craft books until I'd been aimlessly writing for a few years. I always had this notion that writing was something that couldn't be taught; you either had the skill, or you didn't.
You can develop your skills, and one tool for doing so is reading books about how to write. Whether they are the musing type, like Stephen King's On Writing, or the practical how-to type, you can find something that works for you. Maybe punctuation is not your thing, and the thought of having to copy edit 50K+ words makes you die a little inside. Spend September and October reading a grammar and punctuation book! Have a great idea for a plot, but not sure how to flesh it out with meaningful characters? Pick up a book on developing your characters! Or maybe you are like me, where a premise comes easily to you, but plotting a beginning, middle, and end is a struggle. There are books out there that will help you shape your plot! I love Blake Snyder's Save the Cat!, even though it's technically a screenwriting book. Sound off in the comments with your favorite writing craft books!
This is your assignment for the next two weeks, should you choose to accept it: Find a book on writing that plays to your weaknesses, and READ IT.
I'll be back in two weeks with our next prep topic: Brainstorming.

1 comment:

  1. I love books like that. It was on this blog's recommendation that I read Save the Cat. And you were right- that's a GREAT book!


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