Welcome to the third week of Preptober! How’s the excitement level? Feeling a tad thrilled, maybe even questioning your sanity for taking on this challenge? Or are you feeling overwhelmed and starting to be stressed? Take a deep breath; it’s all part of the journey!
As Preptober comes to a close, you might realize that 1667 words a day will not be feasible for you. That’s totally okay. Even if you reach only 10,000 words in a month, remember that this is a personal challenge and no one is judging you. The focus is on building a daily writing habit, that you will be able to keep. In any case, it’s too early to throw in the towel!
Have you managed to fine-tune your writing setup? Are you getting faster and more focused? That’s good cause this week, we inch closer to the final word count, marking the big stretch: 1250 words a day. That’s already quite an accomplishment, so give yourself a round of applause.
After designing your world and meeting your characters last week, you will start outlining the story and take the time to do all the research we need before the write-a-thon.
1. Draw Your Outline
Every great journey starts with a map. This doesn’t need to be overly detailed, but it should highlight the main plot points, character arcs, and the overarching theme.
“I’m a relatively disciplined writer who composes the whole book before beginning to execute and write it. Of course, you can’t hold – you cannot imagine a whole novel before you write it; there are limits to human memory and imagination. Lots of things come to your mind as you write a book, but again, I make a plan, chapter, know the plot.” —Orhan Pamuk, Big Think
Plot by Chapters or Key Scenes
Some writers prefer to plot their entire story chapter by chapter, outlining the events that occur in each. Others focus on key scenes, the pivotal moments that drive the story forward. Whichever you choose, this roadmap will keep you on track as you navigate your story’s twists and turns.
Choose a Point of View
The point of view (POV) impacts how your readers will connect with your characters, so selecting the right one is crucial to your story’s success. Experiment with different POVs to find the one that best suits your story’s tone and theme.
Crafting the Ending
Sometimes the most critical aspect of your story is its ending. How you conclude your narrative leaves a lasting impression on your readers. Think carefully of:
The Resolution: Tie up loose ends and close the central conflicts. Ensure that the resolutions align with the story’s themes and character arcs.
Character Endings: Each character’s journey should find its conclusion. Do they achieve their goals, or do they face consequences?
Emotional Impact: How do you want your readers to react to your novel? How should they remember it? Whether it’s satisfaction, sadness, or surprise, the ending should stir something within your audience.
You had to prepare some of this last week already so half the work is done! Another great piece of news is that you don’t need to be confined to your desk to plan your story:
“The best time for planning a book is while you’re doing the dishes.” –Agatha Christie.
2. Do Your Research
Now that you’ve got a clearer picture of your characters, the world they inhabit, and an outline for your story, it’s time to fill in the missing pieces.
Your characters should be fully fleshed out and finely polished. If you feel you don’t grasp them completely, immerse yourself in literature featuring similar personalities to deepen your understanding. If they have specific professions, hobbies, or backgrounds, do your research to be as accurate and authentic as possible.
If your world is vastly different from your everyday life, there might be many details that you will need to research. You may spend much more time doing research for your world than for anything else in your story. Visual aids, such as images, can be very helpful to you.
If your narrative references historical events, accuracy is key. Make sure you’ve described these events meticulously.
“Historical fiction is a collaboration between the time in which it’s written and the time that it’s writing about and the far future, when we don’t know what people are going to think about yet.” —Emily Barton.
Anticipate the questions that your narrative choices might provoke as the story unfolds, and be prepared to address them. Once NaNoWriMo begins, you won’t have time for web research to gather images or facts. Prepare now to write with confidence and efficiency.
Prepare for an action-packed month by clearing your calendar. That birthday party on the 5th? Just make a brief appearance. That little getaway with friends at the end of the month? This one is a no-go. It’s a good idea to inform your friends and family in advance about your limited availability.
Take care of any pending tasks. That doctor’s appointment you’ve been putting off but really should be done soon. Do it now. Your mind should be free from distractions and daily life worries.
Plan your writing sessions strategically. When will you have the time? Every morning before your day starts, or blocking whole weekends instead?
“I only write when I’m inspired, so I see to it that I’m inspired every morning at nine o’clock.” –Peter De Vries.
While most people opt for a daily approach, the only thing that truly matters is reaching that 50,000-word goal by the end of the month. Make it as easy as possible for yourself to stay committed. And don’t forget to schedule break times. You won’t be able to write every single day, and your creative mind will benefit from some rest.
4. Organize Yourself With iA Writer
Feeling pretty comfortable with Writer by now? Have you experimented with customizing the Editor to find what works best for you? Try different focus modes – per sentence, per paragraph, or turn it OFF – explore dark and light modes and toggle between full-screen or with the Preview open.
This week, let’s delve into keeping your documents organized in Writer for your novel:
- The Library: Depending on your version of Writer, the possibilities of the Library will vary: Smart Folders, Favorites, Quick Search or Document Outline and Folding. After organizing, check here to learn how to navigate your documents quickly.
- Cloud Storage: No one, who puts in the effort to write 50,000 words, wants to risk losing it. Be it iCloud, Google Drive, or Dropbox, we recommend you enable a cloud storage provider and back up all your writing there.
- Writer on iOS: Once your files are synced to iCloud, you can continue working on your story from your mobile device while on the go, whether it’s on the train or during your lunch break. Perfect for those who can never find the time to write at home.
Week 3 of Preptober marks the turn toward the home stretch! Next week, we will finish setting you up for this big challenge with Preptober 4: Creating Your Ideal Writing Environment.