WEEK ONE: Planning
1. Plant a Seed Scene
These are my personal tips for NaNoWriMo. You know the drill. Take what works, shove the rest off the table, roll up your sleeves and get to work.
A seed scene refers to that flash of inspiration you get when suddenly you see a place or an image or a person, and you know there’s a story ready to grow out of it. You have no idea how, but it’s all folded up inside, if you can just nourish it.
Maybe some people go into NaNoWriMo with absolutely no idea what to write, but I'm guessing a lot more people go in with some idea for a novel or twenty ideas for a novel. Having the seeds of twenty different novels and not knowing which to plant can be just as paralyzing as having no idea.
I’ve looked back over different stories I’ve written, and realized that often the spark that starts the story in my mind, which kindles my interest in the novel, is a single scene. Sometimes I have no idea who the characters are, or where, or why they are doing the things they are doing, but I have a strong, single scene.
I wasn’t sure I had a scene like that this time…and then I realized I did. I hadn’t written an outline yet, my characters didn’t even have names, but I had a cool scene!
I jotted it down. As soon as I finished it, I knew it wasn’t going to work as it was, but I don’t see it as wasted work. On the other hand, I don’t need to struggle to keep it going either, until I finally get so stuck that pulling myself out of the plot hole is like fighting quicksand. (A mistake I used to make all the time when trying to “pants” it.) Instead, I used that scene to get a feel for what I liked about this idea, what I wanted to pursue.