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:
- write down a one sentence summary of the idea
- 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.
- leave them alone for a few days
- 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?