Planning for NaNo ‘11

NaNoWriMo is less than two months away. Some of us are already thinking about what we’ll be writing come November 1st, and some are already planning heavily.

I’m not usually much of a planner. Tried the snowflake method last year. As someone who is usually a pantser, I found it far too structured and regimented. I can’t force an outline. Nothing good comes if I make myself think of a plot or a scene or a chapter or a mid-point disaster. And my NaNo last year was pretty much epic fail. So I’m relaxing a bit this year and just letting the plot come to me.

But I need somewhere to keep all the little bits as they filter in. Last year I made a private blog, but that didn’t really work. It was pretty, well-tagged, easily searchable and editable and stuff. But I had to go online to view it, and while I was writing, that did NOT work. Too distracting to have to open the browser. And if I got an idea while I was doing the laundry or the dishes (yep, I get most of my ideas while I’m doing housework) I’d have to jot it down on a scrap of paper or in a notebook and hope I remembered to transfer it to the blog once I got on the computer.

So I’m going back to pen and paper for my planning. I go through a whole lot of notebooks. The filled up ones always have some plotting or planning or brainstorming or something in them left over after I tear out the pages I don’t need. I have dozens all around the house with bits and pieces of forgotten stuff. It’s a travesty, really. I’ve tried to keep all that kind of stuff in Scrivener, but transcribing from handwritten is such a pain in the ass. I’ve tried apps like Evernote and SpringPad which sync between my handy dandy Droid and the computer, but… yeah not so much. My brain works so much better with pen and paper. I thought about using a ringbinder, but talk about cumbersome, plus, I’d likely be too lazy to actually put the sheets of paper in the binder *headdesk* I have used a document file before, but it wasn’t the best way of organising things.

So I bought myself some hardcover exercise books. Lecture books they’re called here, but I’m not sure what they call them in the States. It’s just a school book with a hard cover. 188 pages, and I reckon that’s plenty for anything I’m going to write. One of my NaNo options is an urban fantasy/paranormal with worldbuilding and an epic cast of characters, and it looks like it’s going to be fine for that. I figure these will be useful to keep, with all my planning and reference info in, for editing, for subsequent books in the same universe (the NaNo option I’m talking about right now is actually the third book I will write in this universe, and the sequel to the book I wrote for NaNo two years ago). And they fit nicely on the bookshelf without slipping and sliding away. Hopefully they’ll reduce the amount of abandoned spiral bound notebooks in this house.


I attached wee tabs (after making quite sure I’d have enough room for everything) on some of the pages so I could easily find what I need. I basically want everything I need to start writing to be in one, physical, easily navigated place, in a format that doesn’t stress me out as I compile all my information. I want to be able to chuck it in my bag and take it with me if I have to leave the house during NaNo, so I have my story (bones, but still) right there in my hands if I feel the need to reconnect with it.


I’ll let you know how I go as I fill it up and get closer to November :D


6 responses to “Planning for NaNo ‘11

  • rameau

    Pen and paper is my preferred method also, but I don’t think I could cope with a hardcover exercise book like that. Good luck.

    • vampireisthenewblack

      It’s actually not a problem so far. I thought it might bug me because I’m used to turning over the cover to the back when I write, but I actually haven’t noticed it that much. I love the durability. My notebooks are intended to be disposable, but this is the bible that goes with my novel, so durability is key :)

  • Sash

    I work best with pen and paper, too. I’ve tried pretty much anything (and I’m a bit of a stationary whore, too), but pen and paper works best. Preferably bound paper, as I’m rubbish at putting things in their place.

    Downside: I keep finding new, BETTER notebooks and forget about the old ones, so some of my longer-going WIPs have five or more notebooks, plus binders of loose papers, photos and what-have-yous, plus endless files on my laptop. *sigh*

    I guess I’m not the most organized of writers. (big surprise, there)

    • vampireisthenewblack

      Yep, that’s exactly what I’ve been like up till now. Now I have my big red book + a Scrivener file on the computer which is both where I keep photos and eventually do the writing of the thing. Still crossing my fingers that I’ll stick with it. Honestly, it is very stick-with-it-able :D

  • The 2 AM Writer

    You have totally inspired me. I picked up a notebook today and set it up with tabs. :-) I knew a bound book like yours would drive me crazy — how many pages per section and what if I run out of pages and what if I get them out of order because I don’t think in linear lines and, and, and … *deep breath*

    Today I found a kind of a cross between a binder and a notebook. It has three rings that open but you can also fold the cover all the way underneath so it’s easier for writing in. And it’s not as bulky as a binder. I can add and remove paper from each section, re-order if I need to, and print out stuff from the computer to insert. *whew* No more panic attack.

    Now to fill it with notes and good stuff! :-)

  • Time for NaNo stuff! « Eff Me Silly

    […] Planning for NaNo ’11 ( […]

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