Last week, I did a kind of public service announcement about “pantsing”, the “just write” school of writing — discovery writing — applied to your NaNoWriMo novel.
Truth is, I hate pantsing. Pantsing is why my old hard drive had a dozen first three chapters gathering bitrot. The only thing I discovered in several years of writing this way was the need to outline.
OK, there are pros who do pants. However, there are lots of other pros who swear by planning. Not just minor writers like your’s truly (bows), but rising stars like my mate Hannu who is very much a planner and an outliner (though he drafts by hand — hello, the 17th century called ).
Now, NaNoWriMo is all about literary elan; “Get the words down, doesn’t matter how bad.” And if you’re all about the word count, then it’s probably asking a bit much to get you to metaphorically sit on your hands and sketch out your story before pushing out the paragraphs. Even so, there’s a good chance that you’ll write yourself into a corner, or get stuck, run out of plot. Get blocked. So I thought you might find it useful if I shared an approach I used last year when writing novels to order — professionally, my 2013 was like NaNoWriMo does Groundhog Day.
Just to keep me honest, I went over to the Thrilling Tales Derange-O-Lab, generated random pulp titles, picked one that jumped out and built a cover for it (right).
Let’s imagine I’m my 20-something self and this is my NaNoWriMo project, The Eternal Dome of the Unknowable.