NaNoWriMo: Is it too early to start planning?

Ideas and Genres for Novels

I will be doing NaNoWriMo again this year. I wasn’t sure, but in the end I considered the pros and cons and decided that the good it would do me would outweigh the bad from putting a few small projects on hold. I have been encouraged along by having an idea for this year’s novel that I really like. It’s a bit of a tricky one, and so I’ve been spending a bit of time hammering out an outline and seeing how it would work. This got me thinking, can you start planning your NaNoWriMo novel too early?

Common sense would suggest that this is ridiculous, after all you can never have too much preparation, right? The more time you give yourself, the better your final work will be, but I’m not so sure. Y’see, the more time I spent working on my plan, the more enthusiasm I got for the characters and setting I was developing. I had that little tickling urge to go and write it straight away. NaNoWriMo rules say I can plan in advance, but starting to right it ahead of time is a no-no. So, I’m in a tricky situation where my enthusiasm for my novel is at that all time high that comes just before starting a project and yet I’ve got to wait over two weeks before I can actually spend writing it.

This isn’t all bad. My idea takes a little research, and I wouldn’t want to start writing it immediately anyway. I made the mistake last year of starting out with nothing but a basic idea for a story. I ended up 30,000 words in, writing about jobs and places I didn’t understand and completely wrapped up in it. This time I’m writing a little closer to home, but the story needs to be grounded and believable to work, so I do want to get it right in my head before I start. I’m just concerned that November will roll around and I won’t be interested in the book any more.

I think when you find yourself in a situation like this, the best approach is to go into damage control. I’ll spend the next fortnight doing my research, trying to to get too far ahead of myself with planning the novel and remembering what I like about the idea. I’m also going to try and squeeze in reading a book related to my idea before the end of the month. Hopefully this will keep the ideas fresh in my mind without letting me get bored with it. On the first of November I’ll need to be chomping at the bit to get this written.

So, fellow November Novelists, have you started planning yet?

  • I have started planning, albeit the second idea, not my first. But like you, I don’t want to go overboard; a delicate balance needs to be struck. Sort of an Empire Strikes Back balance, however unlike the Emperor, I don’t plan on losing, heh heh heh…

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and best NaNo wishes to you!!

  • so how do you plan for this- is it a random teachers choice ? an object a place and an emotion. Or is it a free for all?