What To Write For NaNoWriMo

pen-and-journalNational Novel Writing Month is seven weeks away.

The traditional approach to NaNoWriMo is to go in with nothing, but I tend not to have success like that – I find that I am most productive if I have a plot, and an outline – even if that’s just chapter summaries.

I’ve been in this position before. In 2004 I had several ideas, but I was unsure of which one I should work on. What I did was to follow a competitive process:

  1. write down a one sentence summary of the idea
  2. for each idea, write a short treatment in a notebook, one page or perhaps more, but keeping it tight rather than starting to write the story.
  3. leave them alone for a few days
  4. read the story treatments back and see which one appeals most

When I did this in 2004, the winner was clear: The Flamecrown of Kissiltur, the epic science fiction trilogy of which Bluehammer is the first volume. This year I have several ideas again, one of which is to just drive on with the Song rewrite, but I really want to work on something new this year just to refresh my creative instincts.

And if none of those appeal after I read back the treatments, then maybe it’s time to dive in without any prep after all.

How do you choose what to write next?

2 Replies to “What To Write For NaNoWriMo”

  1. Kim says:

    Yikes! It sounds kind of scary when you say “seven weeks.” That is probably because I am compltely idea-less right now, and none of my jotted story ideas are sounding good to me.

    I usually choose what to write next by listening to what story idea keeps clammoring in my head. I wish one would start making some noise right now!

  2. Ian Rose says:

    Yeah, I think I’m going to try something new this year too. Last year’s novel has gone through a number of edits now and is looking somewhat better, but I need to work on something completely unrelated for a while. Right now, I have a few novel-length ideas but haven’t started pitting them against each other just yet. Your system sounds like a good way to do so, when I hit that point.

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