What do you want to write for NaNoWriMo?

Do you want to participate in NaNoWriMo, but either don’t know which idea you want to use or you don’t know what to write about at all?

You aren’t alone. I didn’t figure out which story idea I wanted to go with until very late last week. If you’re feeling the pressure with NaNoWriMo a little over a week away, I hope that this post helps you come up with some ideas you can use and feel more confident.

Some people start the month of October, known to many as NaNo prep month, with a ton of ideas or one main idea. Others begin it with none at all.

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So You Want to Write a Novel- Part 1: Getting Ideas- Brainstorm

Brainstorm- So You Want to Write a Novel- Getting Ideas

Since January, I’ve ran the Port City Writers Group at the Oswego Public Library here in Oswego, NY. We have quite an active little group with members ranging from newbies to published authors. A lot of the feedback I’ve gotten from the newer writers is that they want to write a novel, but are lost as to where to start. So that’s where this series comes in— each day during this next week I will be posting sections of my lesson “So You Want to Write a Novel (or Short Story)”. I figured that it would not only help them, who can have the information to look back on, but also might help some of you as well (especially if you are in the same boat as they are)… so let’s get down to it!!!

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My writing process- Brainstorming

Lately I’ve had writing on the brain. So much so that I’ve yet to finish reading a book so far this year.

*hangs head in shame*

Anyway, since I’ve been writing so much, I’ve been thinking a lot about my process in an attempt to make it more efficient and less stressful for me.

And I thought I would talk with all of you, to see what works for you. Maybe I could take bits and pieces of your ideas and create something that helps me focus more. For most people, their writing process begins with brainstorming. I’m no exception to that rule. So let’s start there.

my writing process- brainstorming

http://www.carolinemadethis.com/2014/07/30/lets-start-at-the-very-beginning/

http://www.carolinemadethis.com/2014/07/30/lets-start-at-the-very-beginning/

For me, brainstorming is a very general process.

I usually something in mind that I want to build a story around. It starts general, and moves towards something more specific until I have a setting, character, genre, etc., that I want to build a novel or story around. Even then, the specifics don’t often come to me until later.

Mind mapping is often what helps me go from general to specific details.

Starting with an idea or two, I branch out and find/create more specific details about the idea and try to discover connections between them. What fits together? What would help create a world? What character traits can I use? Sometimes more than one mind-map is useful as things get more specific and break down into smaller parts.

Listing is usually the other way I go about brainstorming.

Similar to mind mapping, this generally consists of me writing down things. It’s not unusual for those things to make absolutely no sense at all whatsoever. Even to me. This method is often how I come up with ideas for blog posts as well as story ideas. It allows me to go through and find ideas that I can combine, or further develop.

Some people do all of this on the computer, but I find that for me hand-writing everything is the best way to organize my thoughts. There is something about scrawling ideas on paper that really helps me to focus, or find ideas buried in my mind.

 

Check out the post I wrote for NaNoWriMo on Brainstorming.

 

What is your brainstorming process like?

Do you have an ongoing (and constantly growing) list of ideas? Do you come up with ideas one-by-one (that’s usually how it works for me)?

How do you keep everything organized?

NaNo Prep #1- Brainstorming

http://philmckinney.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/HiRes-2.jpg

I’m starting my brainstorming a little late for NaNoWriMo this year. (Better late than never, right?)

Many of your have notebooks, or documents on your computer full of ideas. I’m not so lucky. I have a couple of ideas of novels that I started to explore for previous NaNoWriMos and then halfway through the month, I dropped them, never to pick them up again. I’m not even considering revisiting one of these stories. Last year I found that a fresh idea is what I needed to push myself forward.

Now the problem is, what do I write?

At this point, I have a handful of very basic, not well developed ideas– depressing, huh? Now I have to choose which idea to go with by brainstorming up some details and choosing the one that makes me the most excited.

Usually I just list details, but this year I’m trying to stay more organized by making a word-web, or using something similar to the snowflake method to come up with a very basic plot and maybe one or two big events or twists that I may or may not work in. I like to have something as a starting point.

Or maybe a free-write or writing prompt will awaken my Muse?

Here are some Brainstorming resources I found while browsing the inter-webs.

8 Brainstroming Strategies for Generating New Writing Ideas

50 Brainstorming Questions

^ I will be checking out the above link to help me, that’s for sure!

No Plot? No Problem!: 3 Things to Keep In Mind While Brainstorming

I really need to pick up a copy of No Plot? No Problem! — I borrowed it from a friend last year and only had it for a limited time, but it was so helpful!

 

How do you brainstorm for NaNoWriMo?

Do you have any resources you use to help you? If you’re a pantser, do you brainstorm for story ideas?