Why I Outline Last

Nanowrimo
Every writer builds the foundation for their novel differently, and most of us do it a little differently every time we attempt to write a novel. Some writers start with an almost fully formed plot and write their outline while still trying to figure out the characters' histories and the setting's climate. Others start with characters who won't leave them alone. A select few start with an interesting world. Every one of my novels starts differently, but I almost always outline last. Some years I've barely outlined at all before Nanowrimo got started. Why do I outline last? The first reason is because I consider outlines to be loose guides rather than something I'm going to follow to the letter. I expect my novels to grow and change as I write them,…
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The Ultimate Plot Creation Resource List

Nanowrimo
Once you've figured out the basics of your world and gotten to know your characters pretty well, it's time to start thinking seriously about the plot. If your novel planning process is moving along at the proper pace, you should already have an idea what your plot looks like. Now it's time to figure out all the details. Well, not all the details. At least a few details should be figured out as you go along, because the best stories grow organically. But you do need to know the basic structure of your plot before you start writing the first draft of your novel, at least if you want to write a first draft you might actually be able to salvage someday. So I've compiled a pretty large collection of…
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Eric James Spannerman Discusses his Experience with Nanowrimo

Nanowrimo, Writing
2014 was the year in which I made the jump from hopeful writer to published author. My first book, Applied Natural Magic, was released by Musa Publishing in August of 2014 as part of the Darkside Codex series of steampunk stories. NaNoWriMo 2013 was a big part of getting me to that point, and Dianna has asked me to share that story. Although writing a NaNoWriMo draft was difficult, producing the draft was not the most difficult part of the process. My biggest obstacles emerged during the four months I spent hammering the raw material of the first draft into submittable form. Fortunately, there are some things to do prior to and during NaNoWriMo that make the transition from draft to usable manuscript easier, and I'm going to focus on those.…
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Using setting to develop character

Learning the craft, Nanowrimo, Writing
Any writer who's been at this a while will tell you that in the best novels, setting, plot and character are intertwined. One cannot exist completely separate from the other, and they all influence each other to make a whole, interesting story. This means that building upon one aspect of your novel often informs work you're doing on other aspects. The history of your world, particularly the development of prejudice, impacts how your characters behave and are perceived. If one or more of your characters are in marginalized groups in the society you've created, they're going to interact differently with other characters and be treated differently too. Of course, how you can play with discrimination in fantasy settings and how that impacts characters' lives is an article in its own…
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Ultimate Character Resource List

Learning the craft, Nanowrimo, Writing
If you've followed more than a couple blogs about writing fiction for a while, you've probably noticed that most writers will claim one of two things is the most important aspect of any novel: character or plot. And before you ask, I suspect the only author you're likely to know of who thought worldbuilding truly was the most crucial aspect of story was Tolkien. (Feel free to mention others if you know about them. I don't.) You might be wondering what I have to say on the matter, and just to satisfy your curiosity I'll give you the short answer: I think it depends on the writer and the story. Which is really my short answer for everything to do with writing a novel, because it's hard to say anything…
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Author Spotlight: Becky Black

Author Interviews, Nanowrimo, Reading Related, Writing
Today's author has not one, but four Nanowrimo novels published. She's also been a pleasure to work with and provided some extremely valuable insight anyone interested in Nanowrimo can find useful. Please give author Becky Black a warm welcome. 1. Can you tell us a bit about your books? (Preferably with a focus on those originally written during Nanowrimo) NaNoWriMo got me started on writing novels after I’d been writing fanfiction for a few years. I started by doing science fiction, and later moved on to gay romance – a genre that was only just appearing a few years ago, but is booming now. I first sold a book back in 2010 and since then four of my nine published novels have started their lives as NaNoWriMo books. One was a…
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Author Spotlight: Nikki McCormack

Uncategorized
Today's author recently released her debut novel, The Girl And the Clockwork Cat, a YA steampunk novel that began as a messy Nanowrimo draft. Please give Nikki McCormack a warm welcome. 1. Can you tell us a bit about your books? I have numerous books in my backlog right now (about 20 or so novels in some stage between plotted and final draft), but if we focus on NaNoWriMo novels, my debut novel, The Girl and the Clockwork Cat, was my NaNoWriMo novel for 2010. It was my fastest NaNo novel to date, written in 22 days. I wrote book 2 of the series (which I’m currently editing) for NaNo 2011 and book 3 for 2012, though I didn’t finish that November due to other life events. I have a few…
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The Ultimate List of 42 Worldbuilding Resources

Learning the craft, Nanowrimo, Writing
Do you need help figuring out how to plan your novel? Are you looking for writing exercises that will help you develop your setting? UPDATED WITH NEW LINKS OCTOBER 2017 Well, it just so happens that you're in the right place. This year as part of my Nanowrimo blogstravaganza I've decided to create three lists: the ultimate list of worldbuilding resources, the ultimate list of character building resources, and the ultimate list of plot development exercises. My goal is to present you with all the options and the knowledge necessary to find your own way to success this Nanowrimo, and in every novelling endeavour you decide to take on after that. Are you ready to start planning your Nanowrimo novel? Is that a "yes" I hear? Well then, let's get…
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Author Spotlight: Serene Conneeley

Author Interviews, Reading Related
Today's author is a very special guest, the first in a string of published Nanowrimo participants who will be appearing on The Dabbler throughout the next two months to give you some encouragement, inspiration and maybe even some great advice. She's actually had two Nanowrimo novels published, but I'll leave her to introduce those herself. Please give Serene Conneeley a warm welcome and enjoy her advice. Can you tell us a bit about your books? The books I wrote during NaNoWriMo are the novels Into the Mists (2012 NaNo) and Into the Dark (2013 NaNo)… and this November I’ll be writing the third in the series :-) They’re loosely considered YA, since the main character is seventeen, and have a fantasy element, a bit of mystery and some magic, while…
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How Far in Advance Should You Start Planning a Nanowrimo Novel?

Nanowrimo, Writing
Every author's approach to planning a novel is different. Some like to know their story and characters intimately before they write the first sentence. Others fill binder after binder with worldbuilding details. Still others prefer to skimp on the notes and dive into writing head first with only the vaguest idea where they're going. So when should you start planning your Nanowrimo novel? The short answer is that this varies quite a bit from novel to novel, but you should probably start planning seriously about a month in advance. Here's the long answer: You can only really discover how much planning is appropriate through trial and error, but you can make an educated guess based on your story, setting, and genre--or just listen to Chris Baty, who suggests that you start…
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