I thought it would be convenient to dedicate Monday posts to preparation for NaNoWriMo, aka PrepOutMon. (If you want to know what PrepOutMon is all about, check out PrepOutMon’s grand unveiling.)
Why Monday? First, there is a possibility that I can write and work beyond nap schedules while my husband is home during the weekend. If all goes as planned, I can share the weekend’s progress with you on Mondays! Second, some writers might want to go through this process with me, but don’t give two stinks about my mom-life or random thoughts. I’ve made it easy. Stop by on Monday! Ignore the other days. Third, PrepOutMon-day is “cute.”
Do you think I am stalling because I haven’t made any progress with PrepOutMon? Wrong! I have begun mapping one of my favorite story ideas onto index cards. This is not writing, but it is work. On these index cards I am beginning to map out the story to see if anything interesting is really there. The original “idea” is a word, a portmanteau. So figuring out if this word is big enough to convey a story does take some work.
So far, I have 20 cards and scrap pieces of paper. The first card has the story idea and the original inspiration of the idea. I included the inspiration to help set the mood of the story and to bring me back to the moment in case I get stuck and/or realize the story or the interest lies within another aspect of that “aha idea moment.” I have index cards with character points on them. Other cards have possible plot points that I can shuffle to fit the story or remove if they don’t work. I have cards with potential plot problems. I don’t even know how to deal with some of these problems. Other problems may not even become relevant as I get into the writing. That is exciting!
So I am in a story mapping phase. I have never done this before. Typically, I have an idea and start writing. But this hasn’t worked for me, so I’m going to try a more systematic approach. A systematic approach helped me with writing up research, so maybe it will help with fiction too. My goal is to start NaNoWriMo with a map of the world(s), characters, problems–a map that I can build upon and tear away at as I write.
Interested in story-mapping but don’t know where to start? Check out The Writer’s Compass by Nancy Ellen Dodd. Obviously, this book is about her “aha” moment in understanding the writing process. We don’t necessarily all want to write like Nancy Ellen Dodd, because that would be weird. But if you are interested in mapping, you might find a technique or approach that you can alter to jive with your personal style. I am using a bastardized version of her index card approach to story mapping. She is a tad too plan-y and index-y for my taste.
Next Monday I hope to have a few more index-card maps for other story ideas. I have adult and children’s fiction ideas, so I need to figure out which age-group I want to choose for NaNoWriMo. So work to do and hopefully I’ll see you back here Monday. If not, I’m happy to write to myself about the process too.