All the Write Stuff: Creating a Novel Novel

It’s NaNoWriMo!

That’s right, November marks National Novel Writing Month. Although we’re already well over halfway through the month, it’s never too late to start in on the action! You can also still be part of the  NaNoWriMo website, which includes resources and communities to keep authors motivated as they work through their manuscripts.

If you’re setting out to write a novel, I recommend using this month to find your best novel-writing practices. Does it help to knock out the full manuscript in one month, then spend the subsequent months thoroughly revising and editing? Or do you prefer using NaNoWriMo to plot and plan for your novel, crafting characters and settings and outlining main plot points? Do you work well with a dedicated alternating write time/experience time schedule? Or are you a casual writer who indulges in experiences until inspiration strikes you?

Because the novel-writing experience is so closely tied to personal experiences and preferences—and because I write primarily flash stories—I’m hesitant to advise other writers on this subject.

What I can do with confidence is provide budding novelists with a variety of resources that can help them on their quests.

FOR PLOT
Scapple, a plot-organizing platform, offers a free trial of their software.

Evernote, a note and webpage-saving program, is free to use.
Plotist, a plot visualization with collaborative features, offers free sign-up.
Aeon Timeline, a chronology software, offers a free trial.

FOR CHARACTERS
Charahub allows you to keep character descriptions and images in one place.

Pinterest can actually be a great resource for saving inspirational character or setting images. Just don’t let the site become a distraction! (And while you’re at it, follow  our page!)

FOR PROCESS
Cold Turkey, a subscription-free browser extension, offers website and application blocking to help eliminate distractions during your regular writing times.

See my advice for pursuing the “write” lifestyle by checking out my September blog post.
Write to Done features a variety of articles on what it means to be a writer.

For more information on the craft of writing novels, check out:

This Year You Write Your Novel by Walter Mosley The Weekend Novelist by Robert J Ray and Bret Norris What's Your Story A Young Person's Guide to Writing Fiction by Marion Dane Bauer
Story Genius by Lisa Cron The Writer's Journey by Christopher Vogler Bird by Bird Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott


For novels that might inspire you on your own novel-writing journey, check out:

The Round House by Louise Erdich Bone by Fae Myenne Ng Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood
Kafka on the Shore by Murakami Them by Joyce Carol Oates Beloved by Toni Morrison
Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan