So I know I haven’t made a post in internet-eons, but I’ve been swamped with work. Finals and an internship can kind of do that!
Anyway, NaNoWriMo is over and, I don’t know about you guys, but I did not finish my novel. I did not reach my limit. I did only about half of what I thought I would do. Maybe a teensy bit more.
But does that mean I failed? No!
It means it’s time to do some creative
In this post, I will tell you how I like to deal with the month after November, mainly by means of getting my writing house in order.
1. Organize your writing folder!
That is my writing folder just for my current NaNoWriMo. See how ugly it is? I have bios with side stories mixed with rewrites and, ew, how can I expect to continue my novel with a mess like that?
So, my first order of business is always to sweep my folder into order. Maybe even tuck a few things under the rug–like those side stories that ended up making no sense whatsoever or the character who showed up for a scene without a purpose but a fully fleshed-out past. In my main folder, I do a break down of bios, drabbles (aka side-stories), pre-series, and keep my main writing document in the very first bit of the main folder.
It’s cathartic, for me, and I think it helps you to stop feeling overwhelmed: especially after NaNoWriMo craziness.
2. Ironing my plot out
The plot is definitely the biggest reason my NaNoWriMo loses steam every single year. So, this year, I looked into some things to help me–and all of you guys–out.
A) Are you a Pantser or a Plotter?
I encountered this question by actually searching for software to track my plot and this article really helped me. Basically, there are two extremes of writers. One is the plotter who plans every detail before they even put pen to paper. The pantser, on the other hand, literally writes by the seat of their pants.
This made me realize that I’m a mix (as most people are, I’m sure). I need an end point, but if I bungle myself up in too many plot points to hit, I actually have less of a chance of hitting them. I also know that my key is character development. I prefer character driven works as a rule, so my works tend that way.
But another thing I realized is that I need to know where I’ve been. I was a short story writer for awhile and that’s fine and dandy: you just have eight pages to scroll through to find out what was said. However, when your work reaches almost 70 pages, it’s not so easy.
So even if I don’t plan a plot, I need to write it down.
B) Plotting your plot and Software to do it with
This is my springpad for my novel. I just started it, so it’s pretty scant.
Springpad is the platform I am currently leaning towards. It’s a lot more visual than the other two listed below. It also allows for a lot more variety in what gets inserted. You can insert a checklist, a task, a note, songs (from their library), pictures, and a lot more.
There are also multiple views of your notes in your notebook (what’s shown above is my notebook, the individual squares are notes). They can be listed or tiled, etc.
This is my Evernote. I like evernote because it’s easier to access different notebooks: with springpad you have to go to a whole new page while Evernote lists them in the sidebar. Evernote has a tagging feature so you can filter out bios, plot points, notes, etc.
The only thing constricting about Evernote is that notes can’t be physically reordered. If you add a scene in there that technically goes before another, it will be above it and you can never, ever drag it below. That’s the reason I’m moving to Springpad, but it Evernote had been good for starting projects for me. Especially school projects, actually. I think, if you squint, you can see my marketing project listed on the left.
I think everyone knows what Excel looks like, so no picture. (I’ve also used it far too much for classes to want to see it again)
I never used excel for plotting. I have heard that it is good to use for organizing plot points. If you’re a plotter, I feel like it would be really useful because you can just list all the points that need to be hit.
It is also a good reference for us pantsers. Keep it open in a small window so that when you hit a new plot point, you just make a note of it. That way for when you transfer it over to another platform, or maybe just leave it there, you can see exactly where you’ve been.
3. Create Playlists and Inspiration Boards
Playlists are rather self explanatory. In fact, I’m sure you have one. Or, you’re like me, and have a gazillion of them. I really feel like playlists are necessary for writing. After NaNoWriMo, I also think it’s good to update them.
I use playlists to get my mind in the mood for the novel I’m writing. Like I am working on a fantasy novel of a pretty cold, rather humorous mercenary. Her playlist is a smattering of songs of all genres–some low key, others satiric, and some pop. But as she develops, I need to update her music. She’s become more electronica with slower beats. She’s slowing down, breaking down, and it’s time I revamped my music to match it. The picture above is my current, wip, playlist for this character.
My top platforms for music are, in the order of use:
- Youtube (sometimes you just need to listen to a song on repeat)
- My personal library
In regard to inspiration boards, I really like pictures. I like things that fuel my imagination–quotes, paintings, anything.
A lot of this is moving to my Springboard, but I’m also a lover of pinterest. It’s amazing to follow relevantly themed boards (I happen to follow fantasy ones, go figure) and have them provide fresh inspiration every day. Then repin the ones that really mean something to you so you can look back at them later.
You can check out my writing inspiration board here.
Let me know how you guys deal with NaNoWriMo aftermath in the comments!