“NaNo Prep: How to Go From Plotless to Polished” | Derek Murphy

November is just around the corner, and as we gear up, we’re sharing advice on how you can best prepare for a month of writing. Today, author and designer Derek Murphy shares his advice on how to turn a messy work-in-progress into a polished draft in November:

NaNoWriMo is a great opportunity to push your boundaries and see how much writing you can get done in thirty days. If it’s your first time shooting for 50K, write whatever is easiest for you. However, if you’ve been doing NaNoWriMo for a few years and have struggled to turn your newly generated manuscript into an actual book that sells, here’s some advice that should help:

Save a Darling—Plot Ahead

First of all, if you started your story with very little plotting, it’s likely you have dozens of powerful scenes but no backbone to hold it all together. And it’s very difficult to go back and operate on your manuscript after it’s finished. “Kill your darlings” is good advice, but painful for a reason. It’s hard to cut the stuff you love—but if it confuses the narrative or doesn’t need to be there, it’s hurting the story.

Rather than spend a month generating content and then months of frustration trying to polish it into something that actually sees the light of day, it’s much easier to plot before your start—at least loosely. For most commercial fiction, I use a simplified hero’s journey with 12 major plot points.

As long as I hit most of those points in roughly the right places, I know my story will stand strong even if the writing falters. You don’t have to chronicle the exact details of every scene, and you shouldn’t worry about writing beautiful prose, but having a rough idea of your pivotal scenes will make it much easier for you to finish a powerful story in record time.

If you get stuck halfway through your NaNoWriMo novel, it’s usually because you’re sinking into the muddy middle—where you didn’t plot enough events to carry the story forward—so you invent a bunch of random and increasingly incredible plot developments to span the gap, then rush towards the epic conclusion. The problem with this is your story will feel rushed and implausible. [more]


Click the link to continue reading “NaNo Prep: How to Go From Plotless to Polished” from the Nanowrimo blog http://blog.nanowrimo.org/post/166851438740/nano-prep-how-to-go-from-plotless-to-polished

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