Last Minute NaNoPrep

Hello, friends near and far!  I’m back from my October Hiatus.  It was really lovely to have some time off from blogging.  I didn’t get quite as much editing done as I’d have liked, but I have done a lot of plotting for my newest story!

Yes, that’s right: the story I’m going to be writing in November.  As November 1st is literally right around the corner, here’s some last-minute suggestions for NaNoPrep.  Other bloggers and writers and twitter users-have been throwing around NaNoPrep ideas all month long, so I thought I’d join before #Preptober was entirely over.  Ya know, for the writers out there who are frantically plotting and planning as the last hours before November 1st tick by.

the clock is ticking


1. Write a Synopsis

On the NaNoWriMo website, there’s a place for you to add a synopsis to your novel.  I found that writing a super brief (and not very good) synopsis helped me feel more prepared for November.  Here’s my synopsis if you’re interested:

Lewis Montgomery is fourteen hours from home.  He doesn’t know anyone, and he’s not even sure what building his first class is in tomorrow – and the lights in the bathroom keep flickering.  Transitioning into adulthood has enough challenges, but add in disappearances and creatures that only he can see, and Lewis begins to think he’s going mad.

Katie Atwood is psyched to be a sophomore.  She knows this campus like the back of her hand, and she’s ready for a non-eventful year full of studying and reading.  Then Lewis sits next to her in bio class, and the world goes to hell.  Strange happenings seem to follow this boy like a shadow, and Katie’s not sure if she wants to stick around to find out what’s really happening.

A college campus, some non-human beings, and a boy and a girl who remain platonic friends.

Okay, so that’s a very bad synopsis.  I haven’t written the book yet (duh), but that will give you a general idea.


2. Design a Cover

On the NaNoWriMo website, there’a also a place to upload a cover for your novel.  (Obviously, if you traditionally publish, you don’t get to create your own real cover for your novel.)  It’s a lot of fun to have a picture to go with your ideas.  It also helps you visualize your novel as an actual, completed, shelf-ready book – instead of just a bunch of random ideas floating around in your head.

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3. Make a Playlist (or three)

Y’all know the drill.  If you write to music, a great way to feel ready for NaNoWriMo (that doesn’t require too much brain power) is to create a writing playlist or two.  Or three.  Sometimes it’s helpful to create a couple, each with a different mood.  (“Angsty music,” “epic battle sequence,” “sad music,” etc etc.)


[if you don’t understand this gif, then feel free to unsubscribe.  Just kidding, please don’t.  Rather, do a Google search for “Veggie Tales,” and educated yourself.]


4. Goal, Motivation, and Conflict

This is perhaps the most important.  There’s a snazzy writing book out there called GMC: Goal, Motivation, and Conflict.  Confession: I’ve never read the book.  HOWEVER, I love the idea: each character needs a goal, a reason for wanting that goal, and something that stands in their way of achieving it.  The best characters are active characters: they’re working towards something throughout the story.  They make things happen.  (As opposed to passive characters, who just kinda react to events that happen to them.)  So part of planning my novel is figuring out what my main characters want, why they want it, and what is hindering them.  Goal, motivation, and Conflict.

Good luck!  Follow me on NaNoWriMo (username: SharpieBeth) and follow my progress!  If you’re also doing NaNo, I’d love to hear your last-minute NaNoPrep tips!

My NaNo Survival Kit / Tour of my Desk

Well, folks.  One week of sanity remaining.

Since NaNoWriMo is only seven days away, I thought it was high time that I gave y’all a desk tour.  Most people would call this their “Survival Kit,” but mine happens to all be at a desk, so….

THE DESK TOUR! (With photos)

The desk itself:


Unicorns on the top!  Because… fantasy story.  With unicorns.


The “Inspiration Box.”  If I wake up one day and have no idea what to write, then I will open this beautiful box, reach in, and grab two items.  The idea is that I MUST use one or the other in my story.  So say I pull out a candle and an ipod.  Then I could either light something on fire (in the story), or play some music (in the story).  Or have the character smell something, or hear some music, or something.  Basically, it’s the box for Unsticking the Plot.

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The Emotion Thesaurus.  (Don’t tell anyone that I couldn’t spell Thesaurus.)  I blogged all about this nifty book here, but I’ll just sum it up real quick: it tells you how to show emotion by giving physical actions for each emotion.  Wanna show Eagerness? Have your characters be leaning forward, licking lips, smiling, bouncing on toes, rushing one’s words, etc.  It gives you amazing lists of reactions to each emotion.  It is wonderful.


This next book has nothing to do with writing.  It’s just there in case I need to give my brain a few minutes off.  I’ve heard it said that sometimes it’s helpful to have a book to read just to remember how words are supposed to go together.  This is one of my all-time favorites (It’s Sundancer by Shelly Peterson) and I’ve read it so many times that I can just jump in and read a few pages without being sucked in too much.


Lights.  Lighty orb balls of happiness.  So that I can have some lovely light-filled inspiration or something.  (Five dollars at Target, people!  Definitely worth it.)


Slippers of fuzziness and a blanket.  Because my basement is cold.


Random flashcards stuck everywhere!

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My personal favorites: when all else fails, blow something up, and Philippians 4:13 for goodness sake!

Then we have the Reward Graph to encourage the word count to keep going up.


NOT PICTURED: Kleenex, hand lotion, lip balm, note cards, markers, a character binder, a notebook, my laptop, a large music playlist, a NaNo calendar, and a box of assorted candy.

Finally, we have the great NaNoWriMo mug, for lots and lots of caffeine.


I hope this tour has inspired you in some way, or maybe given you a new idea about your work space.  Is there anything I’ve left out?