Should you let your imagination soar for NaNoWriMo? This is a crucial question if you are participating in the writing phenomena.
Haven’t heard of NaNoWriMo? It’s short for National Novel Writing Month. Writers commit to write 50,000 words of a novel during the month of November. (Short rant: why November? I just learned that the founder is from San Francisco, so he knows how crazy November is for Americans. I had a Canadian writer say it’s not great for them, either.)
Whether you let your imagination soar depends on how you want to accomplish your 50,000-word goal.
For the Plotter
If you are a plotter, then I’m sure you’ve been preparing for the writing marathon for months now. You have outlines, character arcs, character biographies, and various kinds of research. If you want to reach your goal, stick to you plan. Only veer from your preparation when you find yourself running up against writer’s block. Even then, just take short, side trips from your planned route so you don’t get lost on tangents and lose sight of your goal.
For the Pantser
Pantsers write by the seat of their pants. I’ve also heard this kind of writer called a Discovery writer. ( I learned this term from my oldest who is taking a college composition course). If you are this kind of writer, you may have outlines, arcs, and all the rest. Or you could have just a vague idea of what you want to write. Either way, a Pantser isn’t tied to any prepared material or thoughts. As this kind of writer writes, the process itself uncovers, or discovers, what the story is about.
If you’re a pantser, then by all means, unleash your imagination during NaNoWriMo. As you work to discover your story, don’t be afraid to wander far into the realm of endless possibilities.
I’m a bit of both kinds of writers, which I believe a lot of writers are. As I mull over my next story, I spend a lot of time creating outlines, usually on a calendar, so I know what action takes place on which day. But as I come to write the story, I realize that some of the ideas in my head don’t work as well on the page. Or at all. That’s when I board the ship named “Discovery” and set sail for the far shore of my imagination.
Are you participating in NaNoWriMo? What kind of writer are you–plotter, pantser, or a mixture of both?