Preptober is a pretty awesome time. For one thing, it takes place in October, one of my favorite months since I love Halloween so much.
Preptober is the name given to October for those of us who take part in the yearly madness that is NaNoWriMo (short for National Novel Writing Month – we’re fond of acronyms, can you tell we’re wordsmiths?). It’s a time when, supposedly, we’re hard at work outlining scenes, sketching characters, pinning location pictures, and gathering snacks and rewards for the month ahead.
In practice, everyone’s preptober looks a little different. Since I started doing NaNo in Korea and did the next two there as well, my prepping was fairly limited in scope, as my job was pretty demanding. I thought about my story a lot and wrote some vague notes and scene sketches, but that was about it. I saved most of my planning for when I needed it in my writing.
This year, being back in America and with a much less stressful job, I decided to kick it up a notch.
I printed out calendars, checklists, got some rewards planned (like real ones, not just cheesy ones), and even printed off an announcement of my novel on the NYT bestsellers list, as recommended somewhere. That was fun. It’s hanging on my bulletin board, a little embarrassed, but still pretty neat.
And….it’s actually going okay. I’ve gotten further into planning than I ever have pre-November. I’m able to actually visualize and distinguish my two main characters from each other, a feat in itself, and have a solid grasp on their story arcs.
I have location notes, an overall plotline, some incidental characters, and even some useless background information.
Here’s What I’ve Learned
Preptober is never going to be as productive as you want. You can watch all the videos, print out all the calendars and checklists and schedule away, and life will intervene. In case I forgot, life happens. Oh, right.
No checklist has everything you need, and a lot of them have stuff you don’t need. Cross those off and continue. Don’t get into a check-mark-induced tizzy because you didn’t actually do the thing you didn’t need to do and can’t check it off. Just check it off anyway. Weirdo.
Organizing your bulletin board of prep materials does not actually count as prepping. Right.
Blogging about preptober doesn’t actually count as prepping either. Stop it. Stop it now.
What I Used
I’ll admit, I kind of went nuts, and some of this stuff is redundant, and I certainly didn’t complete everything, but here it is anyway. Use it well, friends.
- Snowflake Method (I made my own short document to list everything out – one of these days I’ll post it)
- Rachel Stephen’s Calendar and Checklist
- Novel in a Month Notebook
Huh. When it’s all laid out, I didn’t use much, did I? Well, it’s still about three more things than I used last year.
To all my fellow NaNo-ers, good luck. To everyone dealing with a NaNo-er, good luck to you too.
There was this awesome year I did this…
…and I may do it again this year. I haven’t yet though. I mean, that one was just so perfect…