NaNo ’11: Beginning, Middle, and End

100_6323 With a lot of these planning things you feel like you’re repeating yourself. I don’t mind that. Every time I write down the same event it seems to make it stick in my mind better. And because I’m using different formats I often see something different, extra, that I hadn’t seen before (kinda like the other day with my hook and how impossible it was to write because there was something wrong with my idea).

Summarising the beginning, middle and end, is kinda what we do for a blurb or paragraph summary. I take a page in my big red book and put those three headings down the page. It’s a lot more informal than the blurb/paragraph, and I let myself make a mess (see image) if I want/need to. That’s why even tho it comes later in the big red book than the blurb does, I fill it in quite early. Hell, if I don’t have an ending yet, I leave it blank. It’ll come.

Something I’ve picked up along the way, and I’m not sure if it’s referred to in the snowflake method or not, is the three disasters that somehow correspond to ‘acts’. I don’t worry too much about acts—in fact at the moment I’m ignoring them completely in my planning. I think beginning, middle, and end pretty much covers it. What I do do, though, is three badnesses<—yep, that’s vamp-brain for you. I don’t think they have to be complete disasters. Depending on what you are writing, the depth of badness varies. Epic fantasy badness is going to be a lot more epic, for example, than romantic comedy badness.

I format my Beg, Mid, End page like so:






first badness:




second badness:



third badness:





I’ve got a special place to put my badness—because that’s what I’m going to be working towards in each part of my book.

First badness: at the end of the beginning

Second badness: in the middle of the middle

Third badness: at the beginning of the end

I love the way that sounds ;) And it really helps to know when all your build up scenes and reaction scenes are going to fit in around those big events. For some reason it makes the rest of what happens in the different parts of the book so much easier to get my head around when I have those big things planned.

I worry about breaking stuff up into chapters later (and I’ll post about that later on). Friday I’ll post about my subplots and how I wrangle them.


7 responses to “NaNo ’11: Beginning, Middle, and End

  • The 2 AM Writer

    I love reading your Nano posts. :-)

    I’m reading Writing Fiction for Dummies which is by the same author as the snowflake article, so he lists a similar process there. I’ve been following it for outlining my next fanfic and I finally feel like things are falling into place. I like starting with a beginning, and ending, and three disasters (or badnesses LOL). Now I can slowly expand each of those badnesses. Easier for me than coming up with a huge list of scenes.

    All that to say, thanks for inspiring me to giving the snowflake method a try. I’m not nearly as organized as you with your red notebook, but I do have a purple notebook I’m jotting down notes in. It’s just not subdivded so it’s kind of all jumbled. And it’s multiple stories in one book. :-/


    • vampireisthenewblack

      The jumbled, multiple story notes in one book is very familiar to me. My house is littered with them ;) That’s what I’m trying to get away from here. If I could only concentrate on one story at a time it would likely work fine, but I have fic-ADHD so stuff ended up lost and forgotten quite often. My red notebooks are just standard exercise books I’ve added tabs to. And it’s working well so far :D

  • H.E. ELLIS

    I’m loving the “badness.” When I wrote my novel I wrote “twist here” whenever I felt the need to torture my protagonist.

  • venis

    I wish I could paste your Stitch Badness Level graph in here ;)

  • Writing Prompt: NaNoWriMo 2011! « Novel Novice

    […] Outline: “Three badnesses” (term stolen from my friend vampthenewblack because I loved it so much).  Summarize three progressively worse badnesses that will become the […]

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