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October 26

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Preparing for NaNoWriMo 2009

by Ann-Katrina

In less than a week, the mass month-long caffeination of hundreds (possibly thousands) or writers worldwide will begin. Yep, I’m talking about National Novel Writing Month, aka NaNoWriMo, where the participants are asked to complete a 50,000 word novel in 30 days’ time.

Impossible, you say? Not so. Last year I won, even if the 50,000 words I managed to churn out amounted to nothing more than a coaster made of recycled trees. (Yes, I really am using last year’s novel as a coaster right at this very moment.)

But learning from past experience, this year, I’m going in with (more of) a plan.

My brain likes structured chaos—you know, the stuff that looks like a hodgepodge but is really organization in disguise—and highly visual stuff—big and colorful so I can’t miss it.

The light bulb flickered on for me when I saw the extra 24×36 in. poster frame I had stashed in the corner of my room. I thought, “Hmmm, that’s big enough to fit a whole bunch of bright colorful stuff on. (sound of mental gears grinding.)” Story collages, mind maps, the magna cartas, inspirational quotes…a calendar…all smooshed together.

BAM! The NaNo board idea was realized.

With the easy part out of the way, it’s a matter of figuring out how to implement it. (Wish me luck.) Here’s the blueprint so far:

  • Epicenter = mind map. A few months ago I came up with a story idea and drew up a mind map on an 9×12” sheet of paper.
  • Calendar below. I was going to create my own, but finding a link to all the NaNoWriMo calendars on deviantART saved me the trouble. (I printed out a fun one with coffee stains and quotes.)
  • Magna cartas on either side. No Plot? No Problem! (links to my review) discusses creating two magna cartas (aka lists), one detailing everything you like in a novel and the other detailing everything you hate.
  • Inspiration on the fringes. Pictures, other images, and words that relate to my story and help keep me in my inspired happy place while writing. (In other words, shinies in collage form. Looks like all those magazines I’ve saved since 2006 will finally come in handy.)

During the next few days, I hope to finish, in addition to the chaotically structured  NaNo board, my novel folder which will include character dossiers, location samples (i.e. maps, descriptions, random town facts), and fleeting bits of dialog.

When it’s all set up, I’ll be sure to take pictures and update.

Meanwhile, I need writing buddies. Hit me up please. :D

Comments on Preparing for NaNoWriMo 2009

  1. # margaret the great wrote on October 26, 2009 at 9:23 pm:

    hey!! I just added you to NaNo buddy list :) This is my 1st year and I keep flip-flopping on my idea for a plot (i have 2) I’ll deff. be checking out your links :)

  2. # Ann-Kat wrote on October 26, 2009 at 9:36 pm:

    Thanks Margaret. Now I don’t feel so lonely. :D

    I flip-flop too. Very often. LOL The best thing is to see what feels right for the characters in your story. What helps (for me, anyway) is creating a mind map.

    I still use the basic premise I learned in grade school: main point (i.e. story title) in the center, with prongs jutting out for each major scene and mini-prongs jutting out of those for each minor scene within the major scene. Gosh I hope that makes some sense. 0_o

    Random tangent: I tried visiting your blog, but Blogger keeps saying that it can’t be found. :(

  3. # margaret the great wrote on October 26, 2009 at 10:44 pm:

    Sorry!! I’ve changed it. New URL is

    How should I let everyone know?!
    And I’ve given you an award :)

  4. # margaret the great wrote on October 26, 2009 at 10:45 pm:

    gah! ok let’s try this again. I recently changed it b/c too many ppl had “bookworm” in their blog name.

  5. # margaret the great wrote on October 26, 2009 at 10:47 pm:

    this is the url

    finally. I forgot the word book.
    .-= margaret the great´s last blog ..And the award goes to . . . =-.

  6. # Ann-Kat wrote on October 26, 2009 at 11:08 pm:

    erm…still no dice for me. blogger keeps throwing up the “blog not found” message, even when i click on the commentluv direct link. :(

  7. # Ann-Kat wrote on October 26, 2009 at 11:09 pm:

    maybe you should put back up the old blog and write a post explaining that you have a new blog with a link to the new blog so everybody knows where to look and knows to update their bookmarks. :)

  8. # margaret the great wrote on October 26, 2009 at 11:10 pm:

    Ok. I’ve changed it back to

    however the new blog name is still “BLUE DUCK BOOK REVIEWS”

    god, this is so hard to do. Let me know if it doesnt work. I’m so sorry!! :X

  9. # Ann-Kat wrote on October 26, 2009 at 11:14 pm:

    no worries. lol

    woohoo!! we have blog access.

    awww, thank you for the award. :)

    mental note: i really need to get my awards page set up. those Lazies™ get me every time.

  10. # margaret the great wrote on October 26, 2009 at 11:40 pm:

    what are lazies? haha. It feels good to be back in the blogging world :)

    And your welcome of course :)
    .-= margaret the great´s last blog ..NEW NAME SAME URL =-.

  11. # margaret the great wrote on October 26, 2009 at 11:57 pm:

    how did you print out the deviant art calendar?
    .-= margaret the great´s last blog ..NEW NAME SAME URL =-.

  12. # margaret the great wrote on October 26, 2009 at 11:59 pm:

    Nm. SORRY! :)
    .-= margaret the great´s last blog ..NEW NAME SAME URL =-.

  13. # Ann-Kat wrote on October 27, 2009 at 3:04 pm:

    No worries.

    And Lazies™ is my way of saying I got lazy and decided to procrastinate. :D

  14. # Melissa Dominic wrote on October 27, 2009 at 10:40 pm:

    i am so excited for nano! i’ve added you – i can always use the support too! I am thekiddetective :D
    .-= Melissa Dominic´s last blog ..2001/2009 =-.

  15. # Ann-Kat wrote on October 28, 2009 at 1:28 pm:

    Hooray for moral support. :D

  16. # 3m.michelle wrote on October 29, 2009 at 4:46 pm:

    Congrats on completing 50,000 words last year. That’s quite an accomplishment!
    .-= 3m.michelle´s last blog ..Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins =-.

  17. # And So Begins NaNoWriMo… - Today, I Read… wrote on November 1, 2009 at 12:35 am:

    [...] didn’t get the NaNo board finished yet, but it’s coming along. The calendar, Magna Carta I & II, and some visuals have [...]

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