PrepOutMon-day: With An Idea And a Bus Pass…

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!

Stack o' mapping

Stack o’ mapping

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.


8 responses to “PrepOutMon-day: With An Idea And a Bus Pass…

  1. Now I feel like I am behind! Go, you!

  2. Oh no. Pretty sure this story I’m mapping isn’t the one. It isn’t there yet.

  3. As I tweeted before this is VERY interesting. It does look very technical however. Is it working for you? I feel the need to go and buy coloured index cards to be creative and “map like” – but then I love stationery. Interested to see how this progresses. Thanks Gilly

    • Well, I’m only halfway through the book. The index card method is helpful to me because it shows me where I need help and what is missing from my map/plan/idea… But I need to keep working through the book and story mapping. Hopefully, I’ll have more info by the next PrepOutMon-day. Thanks for the motivation!

  4. This is a really interesting idea on how to plan out a story. I’m going to have to try it! You’ve also helped to motivate and inspire me to start planing my NaNo story instead of just saying I’m going to and not actually doing so. So thank you. Can’t wait to see how this progresses as well.

    • This planning/mapping is pretty tricky! I don’t like seeing all of the holes in the story before I write. But I guess that is the point–haha!
      I’m going to stick with mapping. Although I imagine that it will be impossible to stick to the map once NaNoWriMo begins, but at least I’ll have an idea of where I’m going. Of course, this all supposes that I’ll map out a story that I like by November. ;)
      Let me know how planning goes for you! Good luck!

  5. I usually just free write most stories so this will be a definite change for me as well!
    Hah very true. I’m just hoping to use it so I can get some help with Character Arc and rough plotting for scenes! I’ll be sure to let you know and maybe post some updates with ya every monday. Who knows! Good luck to you too :)

  6. Pingback: Word shuffle | Studio 1215 news Blog

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