SweetMo NaNoWriMo, Step 1

Hello all.  So, Wifesy is off for the next two days.  We had a lovely day yesterday – dinner with friends, a great lunch, and a beautiful morning.  And although I have a tendency to want to “play” and not write when she’s off, I’m not doing that today.  Today, I’m making sure I get the writing in.  Mainly, because this NaNoWriMo Challenge thing is right around the corner and -for once- I want to be prepared.


Now, you are welcome to write whatever you like for NaNoWriMo – fiction, non, it doesn’t matter.  It all works.  The one and only goal is 50k or 1600+ words per day.  Fun, right?


Here’s what I don’t like, I’ve heard that a lot of people burn out around 25,000 words and this usually happens because they don’t have a plan.


Let’s not do it this way, people!


I’ve written fiction before that I would say I had a light plan for.  Even with a loose plan in place, in the end, the finished product sucked moose balls.  Not to mention, even with a loose plan in place, it became a chore to write after a while.  So, planning is not a fail-safe measure.  What I’m trying to do is build into my plans the antidote to writer’s fatigue.  I’m convinced the answer is better planning.  So, that’s what I’m going to do.  If you want to just sit down at the table, day 1, and start typing – you’re welcome to do that too.  In fact, I think every writer should try writing that way at one point or another.  But, for me, this time around – it’s all about the blueprint.


With that said, here’s my step 1:




I wrote a ridiculous piece making fun of log-lines here.  But, now I want to get serious about them.  They are -in essence- your 10 second elevator pitch of your novel.  They usually happen in a sentence or two MAX.  The log-line should also be about your main character.  You want it to have an emotionally interesting hook, in some capacity, but you also want to leave a touch of intrigue.  To go more in depth, you need to say the WHO, WHAT, and HOW of your main character.  Who are they?  What are they trying to do and how are they trying to do it?


Here’s an example from The Fugitive (movie) for starters:


After he’s wrongly convicted of murdering his wife, a high-powered surgeon escapes custody and hunts down the real killer, a one-armed man.


Now, you might be saying to yourself, “I’m writing a novel, not a movie.  I don’t care about this stuff.”  To that I say – YOU HAVE TO.  So, if the log-line doesn’t work for you then look at the back jacket cover for your favorite paperback books.  The paragraph that tells the potential buyer what the book is about – boil that paragraph down to one sentence.  Do this again and again and again until you feel practiced at it.  Seriously, spend the day in Barnes and Noble looking through book jackets and coming up with one sentence.  What that will do is make you extremely clear about your planning process from Step 1.


Here’s my first log-line attempt…


Planet Normal
A benevolent alien who reads nothing, but TMZ and Perez Hilton concludes that the earth is about to implode.  In order to save the species he loves (humans), he takes one of every “type” of person from earth back up to his space-ark.  Lana Ladylove, a hilarious lesbian, wakes up in some kind of space-pod and spends her every waking moment trying to get back to earth.


Now, is that a good log-line?  I have no idea.  I do know it’s too long.  So, let me work on it some more.


Attempt 2…


Lana Ladylove, a hilarious-for-hire LA lesbian, finds herself beamed up to a space-pod by a benevolent alien trying to save earth.  Using her incredibly honed skills for analysis, Lana cures the alien (and herself), ultimately earning her way back home.


Is that better?  A little bit.  It’s two sentences instead of a paragraph and it definitely describes the who, what, and how.  Could it be better still?  Sure.  In fact, I’m going to keep mulling it over.


Ok, so that’s the log-line.  Lord knows it’s not the only step in this planning process.  I’ll be chronicling what steps I’m trying and the plot points attempts I’m working out, here, as I go through this fun, crazy, prep-process.  As always, I want to hear about your planning stages too.


There’s no reason for us to end up like this. After all, we’re in it together AND we’re planning…, here’s who accepted this NaNoWriMo adventure with me so far:


Along those lines, here are the people joining me so far:  Stacie Chadwick, Bro Jon, Meeks, Northernblights, Shannon-Eurolinguiste, Appleton (Catchms)


The Maybes are:  cycling-gran, rfl, allan g., brigitte, purplemary, honie, nevercon, Speaker7 (tonsils pending).


Again, there is no pressure with this challenge whatsoever, but if you want to join us, you are welcome to.  Just let me know in the comments section below.


Some other important tidbits:  Here is a post of mine that links to the NaNo website where you can sign up.  And, Meeks, has written a FANTASTIC post on how to add “buddies” on the NaNoWriMo site.  I hear it’s not an easy thing to do, so that’s definitely a valuable post to check out.  (Lord knows I’ll be referring to it as well.)  Click here – How to Add NaNo Buddies post.


That’s all, my lovelies, let me know how your NaNo planning is going.  I’ll be back with another step-2-planning piece this week.




Sweet Mother



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58 thoughts on “SweetMo NaNoWriMo, Step 1

  1. I don’t want to after the last two years. But I have 5 plot outlines in 5 folders peeking out at me on my desktop. They keep saying I really should spend more time with them. Or at least one of them…. But I wont be able to start until 11-5 and then I’ve lost 4 entire days. Maybe I should be a maybe?

  2. i think you are a definite maybe. you don’t want to, but yet you sort of want to. that says to me something is pushing you towards… i think you can start on the 5th. you can always finish on dec 5th and that would give you the month… i usually find ‘rules’ to be malleable… xo, sm

  3. I’m in. I have a NF book I want to get going on and I’ve begun putting an outline together. I have my tagline all worked out, but I’m not sharing it… yet. The Pitch, the tagline, is the hardest part I think! I’ve been working on one for my (finished) novel for ages, and never feel like it’s completely right. Ugh. I’m also signed for a group NanoWriMo. Well known author Laura Kalpakian will be writing the first chapter, and each person signs up for to do a single, 1666 word (minimum), chapter. The first one filled and they’ve opened a second opportunity, if you or any of your readers is interested. Check out Red Wheelbarrow Writers, on Facebook. It’s a local writing group, but they’re accepting writers from all over for the project. Should be fun! Good luck Mom.

  4. Sweet Mom i dont know if im even cut out for this…but i will be signing up tonight for the NaNoWriMo..
    its difficult for me..i dont know how will i manage it with the whole busy routine…but i guess there is no harm in trying… so tonight i will sign up… 🙂

  5. I can write non-fiction for NanoWriMo? Hmm… My plan might change. For some reason when I was selecting the genre I didn’t see non-fiction as an option, but if it is I think I might actually get to 50,000. I might have to go back and take another look. SweetMo I can’t wait to do this with you!

    1. i’m almost positive you can do non-fiction too. at least i’ve read about people doing it… i’m not 100% sure tho. so, let me know what you find out… xo, sm

      1. When you look at genres there is a category that says “other” which I’m assuming means we can write about whatever we want. I was just a little thrown off because all of the listed categories were fiction. I thought they would have at least had “non-fiction” in there. I’ll just be “other” 🙂

  6. I would join in, but I already have 3 projects I’m spending 90% of my time on. I will be cheering you on, though. If you’d like to know of some helpful tools for writing, let me know. I have some awesome ones. 🙂

      1. Excellent. I’ll soon be hosting author R.S.Guthrie on my blog and he’ll be talking a bit about indy publishing. Maybe that’ll be helpful as well. For the writing stuff, look in the category “Writing Assistance”.

      2. will do, author, will do. your site sounds more and more brills by the day and i hope everyone here checks it out. xo, sm

      1. A young physician, caught up in the worst influenza pandemic of all time, teams up with a mysterious new research virologist, whose motivation to save the world proves different from her own.

      2. oh man, this is feckin’ awesome and i knew it would be. THANK YOU for leaving it for me here. also cars (which is my horrible nickname for carrie), when i’m done with the book… what do you say about a little interview where i plug your book on sweet mother… would you be into that at all? i’d love to do it if you’re game. oxox, sm

      3. That would be wonderful and very thoughtful of you! I tend not to host interviews and reviews on my own site, because I could end up doing so many, and I worry it would change the tone of my blog. But I do like to talk about books by blogging buddies I’ve read–in my usual tone, of course. 😉

        But if you’d like to do that for me, I’d be beyond honored. I tend to keep the interviews I’ve done short and sweet and humorous. Don’t want to bore anyone. 🙂

        If you decide to do it, let me know. But no pressure. I know you’re busy. I can do what I’ve done on other sites and give out an Amazon gift card for $10 to a random commenter to buy whatever he or she damn well pleases. Or my book…

      4. i think we should definitely do it. i’ve been thinking about it for a while. i want to finish the book first. and then i’m going to ask you a series of ridiculous questions (sweet mother style) via email. you respond, in your carrie-ish style and i think we’ll have a hit on our hands… i’d love to do it. i’ll let you know once i’m done with the book. xoxo, sm

  7. SM, I was thinking about doing this. I’ll check into the links. If I don’t have a job, I may just do it. Best of luck. Why not, right?

    1. yeeeeeeessssssss, peter! welcome aboard. i’m so psyched you are joining us. here’s to – less moose-ball-suckage in our novel writing. it will happen, the moose ball suckage will lessen over time. i believe that is a scientific law. very cool, so glad you’re IN! much love, sm

  8. Okay, I went to the doctor today and she said I might live until the end of November. So, I’m in for the SweetMoNaNoWriMo!
    Oh frik!frak!feck!
    HonieBriggs is registered and I especially liked the “Tell everyone you know that you’re writing a novel in November. This will pay big dividends in Week Two, when the only thing keeping you from quitting is the fear of looking pathetic in front of all the people who’ve had to hear about your novel for the past month.”
    Yeah, I’m not telling anyone. You’ll keep my secret won’t you Sweet Mother?

    1. honie, give me your address book, i’m telling EVERYONE you know. LOOL. seriously, you have nothing to fear, as i think you are great already and that’s really the end game, now, isn’t it? loool. ridiculous. but, seriously, i’m so glad you’re IN! and i think this whole thing is going to be a blast. xo, sm

  9. I’ve always thought of myself as a pantster but this time around I’m doing some pre-planning as well. Not quite outlining per se but… jotting down lots and lots of notes about possible plot directions, character arcs, background tech etc.

    One great thing about nano is that the forums are full of smart people happy to help if you get stuck on a plot point or just start to run out of steam. And having buddies to write with provides an added safety net. We are going to win! Go team SM. 😀

    1. buddies, buddies, buddies! momma is going to need them….because i’ve only gotten as far as the log-line! lol. but, i will plan further… i think this is exciting. xo, sm

      1. I’m not really planning… just sort of gathering all the ingredients I can think of in case I need them for the ‘cake’. 🙂

  10. OK, here is the deal, Sweet Mother. I am afraid. That’s right! I said it! I am afraid of what people will think of my writing. Will it be total crap? Am I having delusions of grandeur thinking that I could possibly be a, dare I say it, writer? And even worse, what happens if NO ONE even sees my writing? Will I be happy just knowing that I accomplished something as grandiose as completing a novel even if no one reads it? Well…ok, I have to say “yes” to that one. Growing up I was always told not to write anything you don’t want the whole world to see. I can’t seem to shake that. What if something I write offends someone? Why do I care so much? I know, I am rambling. But Eleanor Roosevelt (in so many words) said once that you must do something that challenges you everyday, which is why I decided to participate in the NaNoWriMo. It will be one of my greatest challenges. But you are right. Having a plan going into November is a great way to quell any anxiety. For me, taking one day at a time might also help. Sometimes I focus on the big picture a little too much.

    1. oh, nb, i hear you. i hear you so well. and you highlight a lot of the feelings A LOT of writers have. fear is a huge one. i think you do have to write as if everyone you care about is either dead or at the very least, unable to read. you have to do this – solely – to free yourself. take it from a comedian, somebody somewhere will always be offended by something regardless of your intentions or whether or not the thing is even actually offensive. so, embrace that. and start not giving a feck. i think it’s the first step. ’cause -hey- even your comments are interesting, so i know – the world needs to hear your voice. xo, sm

    1. i think the biggest run up process to writing something is the THINKING stage. no one talks about that, but it’s huge. i think you’ll come up with something brills! xo, sm

  11. I dig your log lines. That sounds suggestive, but I really think the alien story sounds awesome. If I do it, here’s mine: Speaker7 gets her tonsils removed and throws them at her shitty nurse practitioner who sucks moose balls.

    1. you do realize that YOU could make that both funny and readable. i say, DO IT. when is the tonsils date? i should head over to your blog… is there more about it? wifesy and i are having a weekend at the beginning of the week, so i’m a bad blog reader right now… sigh. xo, sm

  12. I’ve been thinking about trying again this year. I tried last year and failed miserably. lol But you’re right: you gotta have a plan. I’ve still got time. I should see what I come up with.

  13. Good tips. Still thinking, but leaning toward joining. I’ve got a novel I started years ago that I was looking at again. I still feel pretty good about it; the 1600 words a day thing is intimidating me.

    1. loooooool. you’re in good company then. because i’m like, ‘what in the feck did i just promise to do??!!’ @beckydonohue should get you to me on twitter and i should be posting another nanowrimo piece tomorrow. xo, sm

  14. P.S. If you ever want another writer for Canadica, let me know. I grew up in Michigan, and did a good deal of underage drinking in Canada… I even donated a pair of shoes to the great country.

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