S2, E42: Prepping for NaNo: First Steps


Of course this episode opens with my happy news of Aisuru’s final major revision being done and talking about the next steps in the process to getting it out there! Yay!! Then on to the main topic in the first on my series of “Prepping for NaNo”, namely deciding what you’re going to write! I talk over a bunch of ways to come up with story ideas, tips on narrowing it down to just one, and then go over planning out those initial details of the story.

Intro:

Aisuru revision done!! Next steps:

  • Export to word and get formatted and all footnotes in place
  • Final review of earlier feedback to confirm major issues resolved to my satisfaction
  • Quick spell/grammar check
  • Send to betas for (hopefully) quick read
  • Narrow down editor options and request samples, availability
  • Decide if I will be doing crowdfund or not

Main Topic:

  • Deciding the Story! Something generally bothpantsers and plotters will do 🙂
    • Some people have some ideas already, maybe a sequel or prequel to something they wrote before, or something that came to them but they couldn’t work on at the time
    • Some people start with characters, other with a general story,
    • Since I only draft in November, I scribble any new story ideas in my “Story Incubator” Scrivener file to reference in October when it’s time to start planning for NaNo; others record in notebooks
  • Coming up with ideas
    • Spend 5-15 minutes (timed!) of brainstorming/free writing. Just write anything that comes to mind, no matter how silly. When done, put it aside a few minutes, then come back and reread. Anything pulling at you? Or better yet, one that was nagging you while you were making a drink before coming back to the list?
    • Think about something you read or watched lately. What did you hate about it? How would you make it better? Would you change the focus? The genre? The main characters? The villain? The ending? Use the general gist as a starting point for your own version.
    • Do some writing prompts – there are dozens of sites out there now with prompt generators, flip through them until something catches your interest and then see if it could be the bones of a story you really want to write
    • Go out and about and be a bit rude by eavesdropping on conversations. If you hear an interesting bit, come up with a story that could explain how it came about.
    • Skim the headlines of the local paper, anything interesting sounding? Come up with your own story for it rather than whatever might be in the article
    • Contemplate current events – what sorts of stories do they inspire?
    • Thing of some interesting event from your own life that is maybe one of those stories always told at family gatherings (or when meeting new significant others); put a character in the same situation but with a different ending?
      • Scar from when I was a kid and hit head on coffee table
    • Look at funny meme’s, come up with a story behind it
    • Read some short plot summaries, like from the intro to Wikipedia articles or the top of IMDB for stuff you haven’t seen. Mull it over – what kind of story comes to mind? What if you change one thing?
      • For example: A hack screenwriter writes a screenplay for a former silent-film star who has faded into Hollywood obscurity.
      • A tragic film covering a young boy and his little sister’s struggle to survive in Japan during World War II.
      • During a preview tour, a theme park suffers a major power breakdown that allows its cloned dinosaur exhibits to run amok.
    • Completely flip a major element of a story
      • An example from my sweetie: what if you took Tarzan and made it about a gorilla named Nazrat who is raised by humans and thinks he is one until he meets other gorillas for the first time
  • Narrowing
    • Now that you have a bunch of ideas, eliminate any that just don’t interest you at all – you want to have passion for your story else it will be hard to keep going!
    • Is one of those ideas starting to bug you, like constantly. Are you thinking about it while falling asleep, randomly during the day, etc. Can you picture scenes from it, bits of conversation?
    • The best idea to go with is the one that you love and is driving you bonkers, the one you want to write “right now!” because you’ll need that love and enthusiasm to carry you through
    • If none of them really gets your passion going, go back to finding a story idea!
    • This year, I already had two ideas pulling at me so just had to pick between them
  • Defining – starting with the basics:
    • Who are the main characters?
    • What is the conflict or source of tension?
    • Where does the story take place?
    • Open Scrivener, Word, or grab some paper and spend a few minutes writing down short answers:
      • Genre(s)
      • Logline – a short 1-2 sentence summary of your story
        • Earlier summaries from IMDB here would be short loglines
      • Tagline: a catch phrase for your story – what would go on the poster?
        • X-Files: The truth is out there
        • Ghostbusters: Who you gonna call?
      • Who are the main characters
      • What’s the main conflict
      • Who’s perspective(s) will it be from? Single or multiple?
      • What point of view do you think will best serve the story (first, second, third)
      • Where does it all take place?
    • Mine for my 2014 NaNo project, codenamed Duality
      • Genre: young adult romance
      • Logline: A high school girl befriends two classmates widely known for their sexual exploits, at the risk of becoming their next conquest.
      • Tagline: Love is an unlimited resource
      • Main characters: A teenage girl, Miho, and two teenage boys, Date and Taka
      • Main conflicts: Classmates disapprove of friendship, doubts of all three about each other, societal norms is a romantic relationship is between two not three
      • Perspectives: All three MCs
      • Point of View: Possibly first person
      • Takes Place: Probably Japan, most scenes either at the high school or the boys’ “hideout”,
      • Those are just quick guide points. As you go through with planning, much of that will be fleshed out more by deeper examination of the individual aspects, particularly the characters, the settings, and the plot.

Progress Report: Finished the last major revision of Aisuru and started next steps; got some prep work done for Duality