I know many of you are at least thinking about National Novel Writing Month, if not already planning your attack of writing fever for the upcoming event.

I try to do NANO every year. Yes, that’s correct, I try. Which is all you really need to do. Sometimes showing up will get you pointed in the right direction. The good news? There is no penalty if you don’t complete the 50K. But still, try.

Most folks jump in and begin writing on the day, or the actual night. I’ve know aspiring writers who stay up late on Halloween in order to begin their NANO project at 12:01 am. Crazy? Maybe. Or not.

I’m kind of a planner. I say kind of, because I don’t want to know every little detail. I like surprises. The twists and the turns, the doubling back, the hidden gems are my favorites. I love surprises, for others, not for me. But that doesn’t mean I plan every little moment. Sometimes I let my writer brain run off the rails and I even surprise myself.

Do you think I don’t plan? Wrong. I plan, but sometimes the best laid plans are pre-empted by the creative brain. That’s when the fun begins.

However, let me say here and now, IMHO the first step to success at NANO is to go in with a plan. Let me ask, would you leave on a vacation without knowing at least a few details? I didn’t think so. Having a plan doesn’t mean you need to plan the whole project. but a few simple things–besides writing 1667 words a day every day for the  month is a good idea.

  1.  Know what you want to write, at least pick a genre
  2. know where you story is set, and please pick a place you know (write what you know)
  3. Know your beginning, it usually tells you the end
  4. Know your characters, they help write your story (more on characters later)
  5. Know what you want, besides telling a story

That much can get you started. Once you sail through NANO and have your 50k in hand you may well have the bones of a really good story.

Good Luck!