November is Coming! Where Do I Even Begin?!

It’s October 1st! We’re now 30 days away from the start of NaNoWriMo! Some of us are itching to start writing. Some of us are still ignoring our plot bunnies. Some of us are still trying to decide if we should continue with the epic saga we started last year or start a new story. Regardless of your mindset, November is Coming and with November it’s NaNoWriMo!

Last year we had Prep-time sessions in October during the weekends. This year we’re not having any in-person prep sessions, but we’re going to post prep-tips here for anyone who needs the extra help!

Even though the YWP Workbooks are for “Young Writers”, we highly recommend these workbooks if you need help getting started or just need help getting your thoughts organized for the big month. In fact, a lot of tips we’ll be sharing here will come from the YWP workbooks. Other tips we share are from our own personal experiences. So we hope they are helpful to everyone.

For our first “session” let’s start at the very beginning!

You’ve decided that you want to do NaNoWriMo, or you’re still on the fence on taking up the challenge for the first time or the tenth time. But the one thing that gets us in this compromising position is that idea of “I want to write a novel!”

You Want to Write a Novel. Now What?

Before you can write your novel, you need a novel idea. It’s such an easy concept, but yet so difficult at the same time. Some people have a billion ideas, and they can’t decide on one. Some people have a great idea for a beginning but no end. Some have a great end and no beginning. Some have a great middle, but no beginning or end. Others have no idea what they want to write at all!

DON’T PANIC! It’s okay. We’re in October. You still have time! However, it is not uncommon for you to have a story idea you’ve been planning for the whole year, and the night before November 1st, you decide to write something completely different. Something you haven’t even prepared for, but it just has to be written. That is okay too!

Now how do you pick something to write about? Where do you even get ideas for a novel?

Ideas for stories can pop up anytime and anywhere, especially, when you least expect it, and most definitely, when you don’t have a pen and paper around to jot down your brilliant novel idea.

Things that I’ve always found inspiration for a novel subject include movies, music, books, television, people watching, a dream, a conversation, an object and etc. My most recent story idea came from listening to a podcast of all things.

Before hearing that podcast, I had no clue what I would be writing this November, but as I listened to the paranormal stories in this podcast, I started thinking “what if?”

“What if?”

That is the magic question. The sprouter of story ideas. “What if a zombie could fall in love?” “What if animals could talk?” “What if cookie monsters didn’t like cookies anymore?” “What if Oscar the Grouch decided to be nice one day?”

The “what ifs” I have here are pretty silly, but you get the picture.  Once you get your “what ifs” down, you get to pick the “what if” idea you like the most and move on to brainstorming!  The Who? What? When? Where? Why? and How?