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Rated: E · Folder · Writing · #1474307
Get the most out of Nat'l Novel Writing Month. Put your NaNo hat on early and win prizes!
Ever had a "huh?" moment in the middle of a good book? Picture this: the main character encounters a dense thicket. This is no problem for our hero, who whips a sword out of his scabbard and slices through the underbrush. But wait a moment... didn’t he just lose his sword over the cliff in his action-packed battle with the evil witch? Up until that moment, you were captivated - you were completely engrossed in the story. But this discrepancy just yanked you right out of the narration and plopped you back in your living room.

The longer a work, the more important planning ahead becomes. Because of the length of time required to write longer works, it's easy to forget what happened in Chapter 3 two weeks (or months) later, while you're writing Chapter 7. Even if you catch the error in the edit phase, the problem might permeate the entire piece. Take for instance the previous sword example. The hero now needs to find another way through the thicket, or else the author needs to remove the thicket from the plot entirely. But what if the thicket is central to the plot, such as it is in the story of Sleeping Beauty? In that case, the hero needs to either find another sword, or not lose his sword in the first place. Fixing errors such as these in the edit phase is frustrating, because every correction can ripple, yielding new and unforeseen problems.

Prevention is the best method for avoiding mistakes in your story plot. Outlining in advance prevents the errors in the first place. Draft a rough outline before you begin writing the piece. When starting a new writing project, you may not know everything that’s going to happen in your story, and that’s okay. Your initial outline can be limited to your beginning, your climax, and your ending. Once you have that in writing, you can begin to flesh out the middle, outlining how your characters will get from the beginning to the climax, and finally, to the end.

Some writers feel that outlining stifles creativity. While opinions vary, two things remain true: (1) plot errors take a lot of work to fix after the fact, and (2) overlooked plot errors run the risk of pulling readers out of your story. Whatever your thoughts on outlining and the creative process, consider the headaches that planning ahead will save you. You may find that it’s worth it.


October Novel Prep Challenge

You CAN win NaNo. Get motivated and do it!

For more information about NaNo: http://www.nanowrimo.org/
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Portfolio -> Brandiwyn's Activities -> Novel Prep Challenge
    Rated: 13+ · Writing · #1474311
    A month-long challenge designed to help you plan a novel prior to writing it.
    Rated: E · Writing · #1474310
    October Novel Prep Challenge participants.
    Rated: E · Contest · #1894403
    The calendars of daily challenges accompanying the October Novel Prep Challenge.
    Rated: E · Writing · #1476420
    A collection of cNotes designed to encourage and celebrate NaNoWriMo successes!
    Rated: E · Contest · #1894405
    Entry logs to accompany October Novel Prep Challenge - OBSOLETE FORMAT
    Rated: 13+ · Writing · #2259079
    Example of a handwritten mind map for a fiction story
    Rated: E · Writing · #2056021
    Welcome to October NaNo Prep Challenge Group
    Rated: E · Activity · #1954750
    Job duties and detailed instructions for October Novel Prep Challenge staff members.
    Rated: E · Contest · #1901522
    October Novel Prep Extras
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