Outlining for NaNoWriMo, Part 1/3

On November 18, 2013, in Guest Post, by James Holder

As I write this, November draws nigh! Aspiring writers everywhere stock up on Starbucks gift cards, replacement keyboards, and that most renewable of resources, their own unrelenting anxiety about what to write for NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month.

For the last few years, I’ve taken on the annual challenge of writing 50,000 words of novel in 30 days. This year, I want to give back by offering you a tool for replacing the anxiety of starting with an enthusiasm to begin typing on day one.

I’ve experienced a rush of terror when, on November 1st, I had nothing but an empty page in front of me. Faced with that blank expanse, I have often resorted to “pantsing” my way through the plot. That is, making everything up by the seat of my pants. Besides the sense of exhaustion and mental rug-burn that comes with that approach, though, I have found that my results required inordinate effort to clean up, often necessitating complete re-writes. I would rather spend that time on writing the next book!

We have an alternative: outlining! Even better, one Randy Ingermanson created an excellent technique for doing so, which he calls the Snowflake Method. You can read about the complete method on his site, or get a sample of it below.

In celebration of NaNoWriMo, and as a sneak peek into the process behind my new Kickstarter – Planet Oz: The Novel – I’ve created a quick video introduction to the process. You can watch the first video in the series here.

Let me know what you think, and what novels of your own come out of using the method. You can follow me on Twitter and track the Planet Oz Kickstarter itself. See you at the NaNoWriMo finish line!

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