NaNoWriMo – Is preparation necessary?

It appears that everywhere I look these days people are preparing themselves for NaNoWriMo by either researching their characters or locations. Looking round the NaNoWriMo forums is almost scary as people are asking for very specific things, including Czech accents or whether people that wear glasses get headaches if they have to spend a day without them. Others post their plot or describe their novel in 20 words or less.

On Twitter @cory_grimes has been researching her Elliot Smith like protagonist for over a week now and @writingwoman, a freelance author and writer from Germany always does plenty of research before engaging into writing. Of course, it is different in her case as she is actually being paid to write, but nevertheless a lot of time goes into preparation.

Me? I don’t know what genre it will be, I don’t know who my main character is or his/her name nor the actual plot. In short, I know nothing about it. But is that such a bad thing? The only preparations I have done in the past were related to the time I was a news writer on gaming sites; all my creative writing or columns just sort of developed themselves based around something I had seen or that annoyed me and any research necessary was done on the fly as the internet is always just a click away. For example the story I wrote in year 7 came to place after looking at a print of a chapel in the woods that inspired me. The novel that managed to gt 150,000 words long all started, because I came across a name I liked.

Oh and whether it is really good that the internet is just a click away is for another time.

It does makes me wonder if I am just kidding myself and have the wrong approach about things. Is a set guideline essential to writing a good novel? Does preparation create more depth? Is that kind of depth necessary?

NaNoWriMo is less than a month away and at least for this year I am going to keep doing what I have done before, write just the way I feel it. The important things for me this year will be completing the project or at least staying dedicated for the duration of it. As for next year, that’s still 13 months away!

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5 Responses to NaNoWriMo – Is preparation necessary?

  1. lostassassin13 says:

    I’ve found that it depends on what you are trying to do. If you are doing it just get some basic ideas down and get comfortable with the fact that it is ok to write crap at first, then just write it off the cuff (that’s what I usually do). If you are trying to get a true start, you might want to outline a bit. I like to outline and explore the characters as I go.


  2. Evelyn says:

    Preparation is not necessary.

    I have 3 or 4 works in progress, and most of them I just sat down and started writing. (Although I may have done some spot research later on.)

    The one that’s set in the Scots Hebrides (where I’ve never been) in the 15th century (I’m not *that* old :) ) and intricately tied in with Clan history and legend (about which I had very little clue) is the one that I’ve been doing all the research for.

    If you’re an outliner, outline. If you’re not an outliner, just sit down on November 1st and start writing (“Once upon a time, there was a beautiful princess named Carocat…”). Then If you find you need to know something (e.g., just how does a princess conceal a dagger in her bodice?) , you can always look it up later.

    Therte’s no “correct” way to write, other than to write like a Carocat writes.


  3. Cat says:

    That makes sense Lostassassin, what are you doing?

    To write like a carocat writes

    I like that a lot!

    I do think the ‘once upon a time’ approach is much more suited for me and I’m actually quite looking forward to November and seeing what I’ll come up with now!


  4. sulz says:

    i think lostassassin13 has the right idea. nanowrimo sounds like blogging: the extreme version. it’s just what you make of it! :) a good story doesn’t necessarily has to have their facts right – i mean, look at dan brown’s infamous book. :D

    however, preparation might make things easier, especially if you think you might suffer from writer’s block on a day or two. :)


  5. Cat says:

    Sulz: And we all know just how regularly I blog! ;)

    Well, a NaNoWriMo update, I am actually yet again moving house which falls during that time, so I’m not too sure how much time I can devote to writing.

    But, I am still positive I will attempt something!


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