One thing I don’t do when I’m planning, is detail each and every scene. And I do definitely look funny at people who do. You don’t know every single scene up front before you write your book. If you do, what’s the point in writing it?
Okay, enough snark. Yeah, I’m a pantser at heart, despite the planning. I do have a section of my story bible (the big
red green book) labelled ‘scenes and ideas’ though. I divide the pages up by halves or thirds and use that space to just jot down scene ideas that pop into my head, or general story arc ideas. It’s for everything that doesn’t go elsewhere in the book. If it relates to a specific character or the relationship between two characters, it doesn’t go there. But scenes, sometimes the seed of a world-buildy idea if it needs more time to percolate but I might forget the seed, yeah, that stuff goes in the back.
I’m allowed to make mistakes here. This part is for those times when I’m doing the laundry or the dishes and suddenly a fully formed scene or part of a scene pops into my head. Rather than forgetting it, adding it to the notes app on my phone, or writing it down on a stupid piece of paper that I’m only going to lose anyway, I grab the appropriate book and write it down.
Then I can safely forget it until I’m writing. I’m thinking that before I start writing this will be a section of the book that will need a thorough read through—likely while I’m writing it will need an occasional peruse, too, so I can either confirm that I’m on track with my idea or to completely cross a scene or idea off if it is going to clash with the way the book is going.
This section will also get a lot of use while I’m writing because I’m always looking ahead when I’m part way through a story, getting ideas, seeing how this action is going to effect the outcome, etc.
Are you still with me? OMFG, we now have a
big red book story bible! Yeah, it might look a bit sparse now, but there’s still three weeks? till NaNo. That’s heaps of time to fill it up as the ideas and story come. Remember, don’t force it. It won’t kill you to wing it a bit, after all, that’s what NaNoWriMo is about, and I can almost guarantee that if you keep your story bible with you throughout the month it’ll fill up in the process of writing your novel.
This isn’t all you’re going to hear from me on NaNo ‘11. I’ll just keep talking till it starts and then I’ll likely disappear off the face of the earth ;) If you’re signed up at nanowrimo yet, feel free to add me to your writing buddies—I’m vampireisthenewblack over there—and leave your NaNo username in a comment so I can add you :)