Getting on that New Story for Nanowrimo

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Are we still doing this?  Can I get a hell yeah?

Earlier this week I wrote about some tips and tricks that I use for the whole crazy write a story in thirty days process.  It covered a lot of things for that preexisting storyline and how to pound it out… or make some headway… you know what I mean.

So let’s say, you don’t have an outline because you don’t know what you want to write about.  At that, all I can say is “You are brave!” and “I applaud your determination!”

I have done this once and it was both the hardest and also the easiest experience I had.  The hardest simply because I had no preconceived notions as to where the story was going to go, who the characters were and what their motivations were.  At the same time, these reasons were why it was the easiest.

Once the characters came to life, they just told me what the story was.  All I had to do was jot it down as fast as I could.  It was exhilarating.  It was fun!  And it might have been a little reckless.

Let’s say playing reckless with this is not what you had in mind but you still want that sense of freedom?  Now some of the points I hit on the last post (here) carry over to this kind of a project too.  But here are a handful of others for just this kind of project.

  • Number 1, where can I find a main character?

There are a ton of tools out there now that can prompt a writer for a character with a backstory, a goal, alignment, and even physical queues.  These tools are great to get you a character (or three) and all you have to do is stick them in a world.

  • Number 2, a world? Where do I get that?

What kind of world do you want to write about?  There are plenty of prompts out there but one of the things I use is pictures.  Like this:

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Or you could just pick a genre out of a hat.

  • Number 3, but what about the plot?

So let’s say your character prompts came up with Space Maiden who enjoys Tea and Punching People.  Her turn-offs are making friends and eating bread.  A second character happens to be an Anthropomorphized Elephant who Spreads Chaos and is Searching for a Lost Friend.  Turn-offs are stressful situations and bad taste. You randomly chose mystery as a genre.

Does the Anthropomorphized Elephant hire the Space Maiden to find her Missing Friend?  Does the Elephant want to be friends with the Space Maiden but creates a wave of Chaos in her wake? Does the Missing Friend turn up dead in the Anthropomorphized Elephant’s bakery?  Will there be punching?  Somewhere in there is enough to formulate a plot.

  • Number 4 and 5, what about Conflict and Resolution?

Well, in our hastily assembled example, the Missing Friend appears to have been murdered in a bakery and the Space Maiden feels there’s some Punching to do. Will she Punch the Anthropomorphized Elephant or will some baddies need their comeuppance.  That seems like some handy Conflict to me.  And Resolution?  I’m not writing this, that’s up to you.

To be honest, sometimes all I need is a cool or weird character, a world that strikes my fancy or even the idea that I’ve never done something in that genre.  Let the story flow and carry you along.  If it doesn’t grab you, maybe the next one will.

Come to think of it, I’d title our imaginary example story, “Half-Baked and Harvested, Rolling with the Punches.”

Yeah… maybe not.

Author: jongraylang

Novel Writer, Screenwriter, Filmmaker & occasionally an Actor. Handy with a Sword, Ukulele and Skis. Author of Nun With a Gun: The Town with No Name and the Matilda. Writer of the upcoming Sci-Fi sequel, Twistin' Matilda.

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