As part of NaNoPrep, I’ve been reading a few books on writing to refresh my conceptualizations of the essential elements of stories: structure, character, style, etc. It’s been highly gratifying so far to remind myself of the mechanics of writing, and it’s rebooted my brain a bit to read more critically as well. I generally find it rewarding to get into the nuts/bolts, nitty/gritty, guts of things, although sometimes I’ll do it to distraction as a way to procrastinate the actual doing of things. (Constant vigilance in the War of Art and all that.)
In addition to reading and brainstorming, I’ve also been working my way through season 10 of Writing Excuses. Writing Excuses is a bite-sized podcast (~15 minutes per ep, tagline: “Fifteen minutes long, because you’re in a hurry, and we’re not that smart”) that contains a lot of depth and a lot of insight.
It’s hosted by several published authors, and with each episode, they offer their tips and tricks for how stories are put together. Season 10 is specifically billed as a master class for writing, diving into each aspect of the process. It’s hosted by Brandon Sanderson, Howard Taylor, Mary Robinette Kowal, and Dan Wells with a few guest spots and wild cards here and there. That’s a pretty aspirational (and inspirational) roster if I’ve ever seen one.
I’m not going to be able to finish the entirety of season 10 before NaNoWriMo starts (it was recorded over the course of the year with weekly installments), but I’ve been listening to two episodes a week and working my way through the writing exercises given at the end of each episode. My friend Bobert and I are doing it together as a mini writing group of sorts. Trying to approach it in this structured sort of way has been challenging and fun. I’ll get through episode 13 before NaNoWriMo starts, which takes me through bits on character and structure, perfect for prepping. I’m planning to continue my two per week schedule throughout November as well.
It’s worth checking out for all the writing advice which is doled out amidst a lot of playful banter and laughter (it’s nice to hear people getting along!). Linkage throughout and also here. What have you been using to NaNoPrep?