05:01:51 pm on October 26, 2011 |
PANTSER’s GUIDE TO NANO
It’s that time again, Nanowrimo, the month of November dedicated towards the goal of writing 50k words in 30 days.
Think I’m crazy?
In the words of Cage from Ally Mcbeal , “I will not be disparaged.”
Meaning, I will not let the craziness of my goal be reduced in esteem because writing 50k words in 30 days is a feat my friends! I tried last year and failed… not because I couldn’t do it but I let my other goals belittle the importance of this one.
Say it with me!
“I will not let my other goals disparage me from the equally important goal of NANOWRIMO!”
Why you may ask?
Because NANOWRIMO gives you the opportunity to be accountable to your writing dreams.
Because before NANOWRIMO that’s what writing was… just a dream!
Because with NANOWRIMO your dream can become reality!
A little dramatic, perhaps, but it is true none the less.
Yes, you can disparage yourself from participating because you know deep down you don’t have the time to complete the challenge. But who said anything about having to complete it this instant! It’s about reaching for the stars shaped like bull horns… or was it bull horns in the stars? Either way, if the goal was easy then it wouldn’t be a goal, would it?
The fact that the goal seems so far away is what makes us strive to get more done.
Who cares if you only write 25k in the month of November?
Would you have written 25k otherwise? Is that 25k more than what would have happened without the goal of 50k?
This month is about writing, and writing the most that you can.
Why is it about writing? Because writing is deep in your marrow screaming to be let loose on the world. If it wasn’t then you wouldn’t be reading this post.
You have a desire to write!
So do it!
Now I know you’ll read about many ways to prepare for such a feat, but I’m not going to talk about outlines or snowflake diagrams because that isn’t how I work.
I am a pantser thru and thru.
What is a pantser?
It’s someone who has an idea, a dream, a thought, and just writes. No outlines, no character sheets, no computer program question and answers. Just writing.
It starts with a dream for me. About a character I have in my mind. And of course I write that down for my reference.
This year is:
I dreamt of angels. Not about the glowing angels with snow-white wings. An angel on Earth sent to steer us on the right path. This angel is perhaps just as human and fallible like the rest of us except she knows more than the rest of us. Knowledge is everything isn’t it? Now here’s the part where you are going to laugh at me… but I will not be disparaged! Her mission on Earth is to be the girl before ‘The One.’ Every relationship she is in the men fall in love not admitting it to themselves and end up losing her but they leave with the new-found knowledge not to let the next one go. So this Angel eventually meets a guy she doesn’t want to be the girl before but ‘The One’.
So that’s how it works.
To be a pantser the only thing you need to know is what you want to write about. An idea.
Step 1: Name generator:
Don’t worry about names until later… you can always change them and most of the time even a well thought out name gets changed because it might not fit the character later. I use Namegenerator.biz it lets you pick between their female or male name generator , first and last name. Or they even have origin name generators if your character should have a specific origin like Japan.
My female name: Melody Derosa
My male name: Cable Meyer
Or if you have a specific first name in mind but want a last name for them the generator also has something for that as well! Enter first name and generate a last name! Sweet right?! Of course it is!
Step 2: Goal
Okay, even a pantser should know what your character’s goals are… even if they are vague and come together more clearly as you write.
Starter goal(s): Good to have at least 2 goals… because no normal person has only one goal… we are multifaceted.
Melody: deeper goal: wants to be ‘the one’ not just the girl before … surface goal: wants to earn her wings and join a higher ranking angel society (higher ranking in her mind) all about how she perceives being higher ranked.
Cable: deeper goal: wants to have more than just surface friendships/acquaintences, surface goal: wants to be a successfull artist without being known for his father’s successes.
Now I had a deeper goal (which is the goal they don’t realize they want until later) and the surface goal (which is what they distract themselves with to begin with. )
Step 3: Starting where? Ending where?
Now that you have a name… and you have what your main character’s goals are… now it’s time to figure out where you’re going to start writing the story and where you want it to end. All the inbetween with a pantser is figured out while you write and follow your characters around like stalkers.
Starting: Melody’s in a relationship with (random name- Trent Revlin) showing him the joys of the small things in life, like going to the Seattle Art Walk event. Where they both meet Cable a so called struggling artist with talent. What Melody doesn’t know is that Cable may look like a bum but that is by his own doing, he quit his job as a successfull business man primed to take over his father’s business to be disowned and start a new life.
Ending: Well you know how romances go. They end up together but the story comes from how they get there… not even I know that yet! Joys of pantsing is I am just as shocked as an outside reader. You may also know various things you want to have happened to get to this point. Write those down so you don’t forget.
Step 4: WRITE
So you have your starting point and you are ready to NANOWRIMO come Oct 31st at midnight. Let the ideas you’ve generated just linger and grow. As new things come to your mind write them down. Maybe you see your characters in your head and discover that your main character hates sushi… or loves it, whatever… just write it down. Maybe you see your character and know they have long hair and several piercings and tatoos or wears suits all the time… Write it down.
Whatever you do… to officially be a pantser… don’t you dare take out those post its or index cards and start writing what happens scene by scene and developing your plot.
A pantser just writes down the ideas and then wings it. If it comes to the point that your ideas said that such and such should happen but your characters arent feeling it then dont do it. Listen to your characters and follow their lead.
I am not saying outlining is bad, if that’s how you work then great!
But for those of us that see their story like a movie in their brain and just write it as it comes then welcome to the PANTSER CLUB.
enjoy the ride.