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Gearing up for NaNoWriMo…Plan of Attack…The Cliffhanger

Friday, 29 October 2010  |  Posted by Brenda Drake

Today’s coffee is a skinny White Chocolate Mocha, which is total yum!

First off, I’d like to thank all the participants’ for making my first blogfest such a fun and learning experience for me. It really choked me up to witness so many fabulous writers support each other without agenda. You all are stars! I was shocked and humbled to be mentioned in this post by Karlene Petitt on Scribe Sisters here. The four writers who host this blog is completely awesome, and you should all follow them. And finally, thank you to the very supportive and friendliest editor for writers, Cassandra Marshall. Check out her site here.

With that said, in keeping with the theme of the blogfest, I wanted to give you all my plan of attack for NaNoWriMo. If you read my post about my project notebook, you would have seen this . . .

This is what I use to jot down scene ideas for my story. I use three to four sheets. The first sheet is used for scenes that establish the defining event and the rising stakes, which usually takes me a third of the way to the next page. On that second page, the scenes move the story with rising action. Then in the following scenes the character has no choice but to move forward–there is no turning back, and she must keep going to resolve the problem.

As we move to the next several scenes, the character is over her head but has small successes on her way to resolve the problem. Now my scenes are moving into the dark moment where all seems lost and the character must make a great sacrifice to prevent a tragedy (could be physical or moral). And finally, I move the scenes into the climax–the final obstacle to conquer before we can move on to the Resolution–where all the loose ends are neatly tied.

During NaNoWriMo, I’ll be working with my scene prompts for inspiration. I’m going to write in scenes and not worry about chapters at all. Each scene will have it’s own arc–a beginning, middle, and end. Keeping my focus on a scene at a time will help me to reach my goal. I’m not worrying about the big picture, because I’ve all ready mapped it out.

It is in the revision process that the magic happens. I’ll find the cliffhanger of a scene (or more than one scene) at that time and make my chapter break there. That is how I’ll find my chapters’ ends and beginnings. How I’ll make each chapter end in a cliffhanger.

I used to be a “fly by the pants” kind of writer without having a plan, letting my characters take me on the journey, but I found that they were like new computers and needed a program to follow. Their words are their own, and sometimes they point me in a different direction, taking me off my clear path for a bit. We may wander in the overgrowth for awhile, but we always find the main road in the end.

If you are participating in NaNoWriMo, good luck!

That’s it. Slurp!

Filed: Misc

  • Summer Ross says:

    I’ll be [playing in NaNo-
    Oh what a great way to do a scene…and its different than the normal outlines everyone is throwing out! If you don’t mind I might try this.

    I also have an award for you on my blog- You don’t have to take it, but I just wanted to recognize you for what you do. 🙂

  • LadyJai says:

    Oh major good luck to you on NaNo! I signed up for this, but after just trying to get back into writing, there was just way too much to learn to jump into this thing. I got frightened and have since changed my mind on the NaNo. I will be participating on the PiBoIdMo though. I think it would be a much better fit for me. Again, good luck!

  • have fun with Nano!!!

    And best of luck with the party this weekend.

  • good luck brenda and see you in NaNo land

  • gideon 86 says:

    Good luck Brenda …. and to all the other participating!

    I’ll be doing it vicariously through a fellow writer.


  • Meredith says:

    That is such an awesome way to plot your scenes–I’m definitely stealing that idea! Good luck with NaNo! So exciting 🙂

  • Good luck with NaNo! I’m going to work on finishing my first draft next month for NaNo.

    Yeah, it’s breaking the rules. 🙂 What a rebel I am.

  • Talei says:

    Hey great scenes sheet here!! I love it. Will definitely put that in my toolbox. And good luck for Nano!!

  • Brenda Drake says:

    Summer Ross Thanks for the award! And you can so use this idea – I put it up for others if they need a different way.

    LadyJai, good luck with PiBoldMo. Too bad you aren’t doing NaNo but I’m sure you’ll be ready next year.

    Teenage Bride – Thanks I’ll need luck for the party – hyped-up 7 year-olds scare me. LOL

    Yay, Joanna, buddy me – it’s under my name.

    Michael, thanks for the luck and you can do it vicariously through me too!

    Meredith, glad you like and I hope it helps you as much as it has me!

    Kristal, I like rule breakers and rebels. Good luck too!

  • Brenda Drake says:

    Talei, I don’t know what I ever did without it. It really prompts the writing to flow. Thanks, I’ll need lots of luck. Since I put together this huge Thanksgiving thing for close to 40, shopping, cleaning, setting up, and cooking will cut at least 4 days from my writing. Oy!

  • Jani says:

    The sheets are a really good idea. I’m a seat-of-my-pants writer as well but for Nano I outlined from start to finish because I really don’t want to get stuck halfway through or even close to the end. Now I’m just anxious to get started, it feels like the days are dragging. Once they’re here I’m sure they will fly by.

  • Heather says:

    Thank you so much for your sweet words about the Scribe Sisters! Best of luck during NaNo, you’ll do great I have no doubt!

  • Christopher says:

    still thinking about signing up… tick tock tick tock

  • Melissa says:

    Have fun at your party this weekend!

    Great NaNo prepping! Have fun with it and I’ll see you at the finish line

  • I like the whole plan thing. I am trying to be more of a planner. I’ll start with that mocha lol 🙂

  • I love your sheets! In fact, I think I’m going to borrow this idea and get my chapters/scenes down tomorrow before I start on Monday. I was going to pants because I’ve never done that before, but I’m getting very uncomfortable at the thought of it. I love these and will use them for prep tomorrow instead!

  • Morgan Lee says:

    Great plan of attack! Good luck with the Nano Brenda and Happy Halloween!

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