Commence freakout. NaNoWriMo starts in just over a week and I haven’t planned a single damn thing.

I’ve been mulling over what project I should try to pursue during November. For a while now, I’ve been set on finally bringing a certain story to life. The problem? I only have a kernel of an idea/premise, and haven’t thought one lick about those pesky things that novels need like plot, or characters, or conflict. Because it would be absurd to actually think about those things in advance.

Last year, I spent the week before NaNo brainstorming and writing random notes, but only had a basic premise and character ideas when I started. I won NaNo, and have slowly been continuing that story, but now I have over 100,000 words to that story and have been thinking a lot about throwing almost every single one out the window.I’d rather not do that to myself again this year.

I’m considering two other options:

  1. Revisiting a story I started drafting last summer, and then dropped in favor of my NaNo. The good thing? I have characters to work with, a basic plot I can expand on, settings, etc. The problem is, I already have about 30,000 words. If I use this story, I think I want to scrap a lot of those words, but keep several scenes essentially intact. But that feels a little cheap to me. I think of NaNo and I think “Brand New Novel Draft” not “Attempt to rewrite and continue old draft.” I do eventually want to return to this story, but am not sure this November is the right time.
  2. An idea I briefly considered for 2014’s NaNoWriMo, which is sort of a spin off of #1, taking place in the same general universe. It’s also based off a Grimm fairytale, so I’ve already got a basic story structure, but it’s new and shiny enough that I still need to come up with characters and motivations etc. It will require more planning in the next week, or else pantsing a lot during November.

There are pros and cons to both and I alternate I’m going to make my final decision by tomorrow. Tonight, I’m catching up on all the new fall tv and beta-reading for someone else and have decided not to worry about my own NaNo. Quite an effective way to ignore my anxiety about November.



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