... okay, so let me be honest here: I could write more. You could do 31 Days of NaNo Prep. You could spend a year getting a novel together. You could skip all of this and make it up as you go along (fiction is beautiful like that). But there are only six days of boot camp for a reason.
To little preparation leaves you flustered and confused. To much and you get bogged down in the world building. Trust me, if you're a person who loves research it's very easy to spend a lifetime building a world and never writing in it. You know who you are.
Because the world matters, because the physical stage you set for the characters influences the story so much, it's important to take a few minutes before you write the book setting up the background.
Exercise 1: Make A List
- Write a list of 25 places your character may go. You probably won't use them all, but having them saves you trouble later on.
- Pick specific names e.g. Don't write The Castle write Berringham Flittworthy Castle. Wolven Woods, Screaming Skull Nebula, Starbreaker Catina
- When your hero needs to rushing off somewhere, grab a name from the list and keep writing.
Exercise 2: Pick Your Main Locations
- Unless you're writing a traveling story (the quest story line) your scenes will probably only take place in four or five stage settings. Decide where the book opens, where any dead bodies or clues are found (fist bump for the mystery writers), and where your four plot twists will occur.
- Don't feel you need have lots of locations. There are some great books out there where all the action happens in one building or one room. Use only what you need.
Exercise 3: The Setting Thesaurus
- If you haven't already, bookmark or buy the print copy of The Setting Thesarus by Becca and Angela of Writers Helping Writers (buy link - not an affiliate link). Then read through.
- Make your own setting thesaurus for your main locations.
- If that's too daunting list the 3 main stimuli for each sense in each location.
NaNoWriMo Boot Camp Day 1: Establish a Baseline
NaNoWriMo Boot Camp Day 2: Finding a Plot
NaNoWriMo Boot Camp Day 3: The Antagonist
NaNoWriMo Boot Camp Day 4: The Protagonist
NaNoWriMo Boot Camp Day 5: Keep the Book Moving
NaNoWriMo Boot Camp Day 6: Set The Stage