Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand. – George Orwell
Tomorrow Camp NaNoWriMo starts. These last few days I have been spending much of my time getting ready for it because it is so fun to try to get ready for something like this in only a few days.
Actually, though this is what seems to happen every time I am getting ready to start a new story. Which is not a good habit, I need to break it, but I am having trouble with that, unfortunately.
So, today I thought that I would share what I do to get ready to write a story, and how I do my plotting. Although, I’m not sure that I would recommend following my example.
Usually the idea spends some time in my head before I even write it down. That way I have more than a vague idea when I write it down. If I was to try to write down my idea right away, I would probably not be able to find words, but I do try to write down the idea as possible. Though sometimes I end up just starting to write a story which means that the story ends up being all over the place.
The downside to not writing down my ideas right away is that I forget about half of them, but the ones that are left have to be the good ones, right?
Once I have a vague idea of the story, and, hopefully, have written it down, I tend to move on to the characters.
For me it is when I am working on the characters that the story really starts to take shape.
Before I start working on the characters, I’ll know what the general plot is, but I’ll have very few (if any) details on the plot.
Figuring out the characters gives me ideas for subplots. It will give me a better idea of how my characters will interact with each other, and also if there is going to be any romance as a subplot.
When the characters have names and some remnant of personality, I tend to start doing the other research that I need for the book while continuing to work on the characters.
Although, since I mainly write fantasy I haven’t had to do a lot of research. Usually, I end up having to look up how to treat arrow wounds in the middle of writing the story.
I tend to put most of my focus into the characters before I start writing. The more that I know about them before I start writing the better. That way they feel real from when I first start writing.
In the first draft, at any rate, my stories tend to be more character driven than plot driven. In later drafts the plot comes much more to the front.
So that is what I have been working on the last few days. Most of it has been working on the characters. I’ve had this idea for a story for over a year (I don’t usually wait that long to get started on a story) now, so I’m excited to actually start writing it.
Each writer has their own ways to get ready to write a story, so what works for me may not work for you. Sometimes, I think that there are as many styles of going about writing as there are writers which would actually make sense since each person is different.
Are you doing Camp NaNoWriMo? If, so, how are you going about getting ready to start writing? And even if you are not doing Camp NaNoWriMo, I’d love love to hear about how you go about plotting a story!