What is Preptober? Preptober is October filled with preparation for NaNoWriMo. What is NaNoWriMo? National Novel Writing Month. Every November a bunch of motivated crazy people decide to write a 50,000 word novel in just one month. Crazy, right!? Well, I’m committing for my second year in a row. Last year, I was a proud pantser, prep and writing all started November 1 and I made it to my goal a few days early! This year I am all about the Preptober (although I’m struggling to set some concrete goals), and will proudly start my novel on November 1.
I need to confess, part of the reason that I am committing so hard to Preptober is that I’ll be away for 12 days, spanning November 1. I am hoping that by sending more time planning, I’ll be able to get through the month more easily being tired from a long time away from home and simply just not being home and in my normal element when the “competition” begins. I am extremely nervous, even though I’ll be home on the exact same day I began my actual writing last year, this feels totally and completely different.
Another reason I’m committing is that although I loved the novel I wrote last year, editing got me down hard. It wasn’t just that I didn’t want to sit down and edit my novel and work to improve it. It was honestly that I felt like there were so many mistakes I wouldn’t have made if I hadn’t been rushing to the starting line. Although I’m still really committed to the idea and I would love to see it published some day, I absolutely know that it cannot be my first published novel. Accepting that was difficult, and I don’t know if I’m shooting for a publishable novel this year. I am shooting for a high-quality piece of work though, as judged by me and me alone.
This preptober I spent a lot of time jotting down ideas. I have a page in my bullet journal devoted to ideas, and I actually had an idea that I fleshed out very well, but very quickly, a few months ago. I was convinced that this was the book I was going to write in 2018. I loved the idea, I loved the mini-scenes I had written, but in the end, as I started to develop my protagonist I realized that I just didn’t have a clear picture of what I actually wanted her to do. I was literally only drawing on my personal experiences, and I didn’t want to write a dramatized memoir. Ironically, one of the ideas that I have since come up with is a memoir of a different sort. Depending on how this November goes, that’s something I’ll probably write at least a little of before the year ends. I want to get it in while my writing muscles are still warm, but also don’t want to burn out. It’s quite the balance.
I finally decided on an idea Monday, and I realized that even though I was using my highlighted Kindle quotes (of all time, it was quite the journey), I realized that the topic I had settled on was very much relevant for me. It was something that I care about deeply for a wide range of reasons, but also something that I was feeling some guilt over in the moment. As I continue to think about what this novel will become, I realize that although I had some latent guilt, it really doesn’t change my passion. And my passion is what’s going to get this novel written. I legitimately cannot promise I won’t change my mind again before November 1, but I really hope I don’t.
My month doesn’t have a very strong direction, nor do I have a set of rules or a list that I want to follow. Granted, my template document does have a lot of pages (I’m using KM Weiland Template in Scrivener) and I would like to get all the draft pages worked out by November 1. It’ll save me from the editing hell I met in January 2018. What I do have is the knowledge that I cannot just sit down and idly wait for my novel to happen. I have to make it happen. So, the mental check list is:
- Pick topic (check!)
- Pick name for protagonist (awww shit, already done checking things off)
- Pick antagonist traits
- Pick the climax moment
- Research the central topic so that it becomes real
- Add a book in the genre (YA) and on the topic (yep, still keeping that a secret but I’ll tell you that it fits today’s celebration of #WorldMentalHealthDay) to reading list
- Alternatively, move a book in genre/topic up on reading list
- Change declared project on NaNoWriMo
- Spend 20 hours drafting the novel
- Find 2 new writing buddies on NaNo (one down one to go!)
- Figure out how this book is going to have a whole lot of you in it!
I’m really excited for this November, in large part because I have many more people to share my progress and success with. I’m not just another young girl who thrives off other’s compliments- I feel like every single one of my declarations is a way to hold myself accountable and the more people that see them, then the more people I will be letting down if I fail. Which simply means I will not fail. Happy writing and/or reading!