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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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