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Preparing to write NaNoWriMo:Plotting Your Novel

Preparing to write NaNoWriMo:Plotting

Prepare for NaNoWriMo:Plotting

Last week, I wrote about using archetypes to create characters in anticipation of NaNoWriMo in November. My project next month is a retelling of Red Riding Hood and the Big, Bad Wolfe as a romance. I’ve already established a world in Snow White and the Eighth Dwarf (available in January) that I can use.

This week’s self-assignment was to take the strengths and weaknesses of the archetypes I drew from Caroline Myss’ card deck and add them to my plot.

Plotting the Hero

The hero of the book is Mr. Wolfe. Oliver Cox Wolfe (yes, I did think of naming him Oliver Fox, but then the title would be Red Riding Hood and the Big, Bad Fox). Using his archetypes, I examined their weaknesses and arrived at the following plot points:

The Warrior—Weakness:trades ethical principles for victory at any cost. How used in plot:Uses trickery to preserve his kingdom.

The Shapeshifter—Projects any image that serves his personal agenda at the moment. How used in plot: Takes advantage of his position of power to maintain his position of power. Lets his assumed feelings for the kingdom overshadow his feelings for the heroine, not realizing his motive is a way of coping with self-doubt.

The Child-Wounded—Blames any dysfunctional relationships on childhood wounds. How used in plot: His traumatic childhood darkens his ability to love and stunts his growth as a man.

The Athlete—Has a false sense of invulnerability and entitlement. How used in plot:Uses people around him to get what he thinks he and the kingdom wants.

As you can see, Oliver has a lot of baggage. He’s a broken man at the beginning. He’s inherited a kingdom in disrepair and feels obligated to prove his father’s opinion wrong. To battle these conflicts, Oliver needs a good woman at his side. Let’s examine her weaknesses.

Plotting the Heroine

Roswynn is a baker for the village. She learned most of her skills from her grandmother, with whom she lives. Her recent bout with a strange fever resulted in the shearing of her hair, making her hide what is left under a red hood. Her greatest desire is to perfect her craft.

The Hermit—She withdraws from society out of fear or judgment of others. How used in plot: She runs from a royal decree to make the food that hinders Oliver’s shapeshifting abilities.

The Dilettante—Pretends a much deeper knowledge than she possesses. How used in plot: Convinces Oliver she has the formula when she doesn’t. She says so out of self-preservation, as losing the royal baking contract will ruin her and her family.

The Monk Nun—Negative, judgment of physical world. How used in plot: Negative opinion of Oliver and what he’s doing to preserve his kingdom.

Other factors involved in this plot:

  • The true heir to the kingdom makes a claim.
  • A trusted advisor isn’t so trusted.
  • The things Oliver and Roswynn would never do that circumstances and decisions make them do.
  • The conflicts of Oliver being a werewolf.
  • Oliver’s growing love for Roswynn.
  • Oliver’s resolve to be a better king than his father to prove his father’s opinion of him wrong.

Many, many other details need to be ironed out before November 1st, but I am steadily working on them.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this behind-the-scenes look at how to put together a novel. I’ll be updating it as I progress.

Blessings to all, especially those who accept the NaNo challenge!







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Warrior archetype

Prepare for NaNoWriMo

Nothing strikes terror into the heart of a writer more than the phrase, “prepare for NaNoWriMo” unless it’s actually taking part in NaNo.

What is NaNo? From their website:

“National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing. 

On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30.

Valuing enthusiasm, determination, and a deadline, NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought about writing a novel.”

50K in one month is daunting. I’ve written that much in the official NaNo month of November; during my writing group’s preferred Winter NaNo-February meeting to March meeting. On my own, I NaNo’ed one May and, most recently, this past July. One of the key elements to a successful writing month is to have an outline. Yes, I know some people like to sit down and let the words flow, but with a daily word count of 1,667, it’s not practical.

My accountability buddy, Kim, and I have challenged each other to complete NaNo next month.

NaNoWriMo, Step One

The first step is deciding what to write. For me, it’s a no-brainer—the next installment in my Enchanted Forest fantasy romance series. The clues I sprinkled about in the first book, Snow White and the Eighth Dwarf (available in January), pointed toward using the Red Riding Hood tale as the foundation. (I’m toying with Red Riding Hood and the Big, Sexy Wolf, or Red Riding Hood in the Big, Very Bad Wolf as titles. What do you think?)

NaNoWriMo, Step Two

The second step is to find my characters. As the fairy tale does this for me, I need to zero in on their personalities. I’ve tried various way of refining personalities, including using the Meyers-Briggs test, but this time, I decided on using mythical archetypes.

I have a seventy-two card deck of Carolyn Myss’ Archetype Cards. Using my spidey/author sense of drawing cards, this is what I picked (or the cards picked me).

For Oliver, the wolf in my story:

The Warrior—strong, skilNothing strikes terror into the heart of a writer more than the phrase, "prepare for NaNoWriMo" unless it's actually taking part in NaNo.led, disciplined, toughness of will, hero, self-sacrificing.

The Shapeshifter (He is a wolf after all)—skilled at navigating through different levels of consciousness, projecting any image that serves his personal agenda.

Child wounded—blames all dysfunctional relationships on childhood wounds.

Athlete—dedication to transcending physical limits

For Red (possibly called Rhoswynn or Rosewynn):

Nothing strikes terror into the heart of a writer more than the phrase, "prepare for NaNoWriMo" unless it's actually taking part in NaNo.

photo courtesy of arenamontanus/flickr

The Hermit—Seeks solitude to focus intently on her inner life. Serves her personal creativity.

Dilettante—Delights in the arts without having to be a professional.

Monk Nun—Selfless devotion and single-minded dedication to Spirit. Removed from the real world.

How do I take these attributes and mold compelling relatable characters? I’ll explore that question in my next post: Prepare for NaNoWriMo:Plot, as well as introduce the archetypes for the secondary characters.

Are you participating in NaNo this year? What preparations are you making? Please comment below and let me know the details.






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How to write like a demon. 57K in 34 days.



I’ve finished the first draft of my WIP (work in progress for those not in the know). I set a goal of August 1st to complete it, and I did. The time zone used is fuzzy. Okay, I borrowed one hour and forty-three minutes from August, but I wrote 57K words from June 28-August 1.

The story of my story:

Two years ago, I started a tale of Snow White. The reason remains lost to me, but I abandoned it at 9900 words. Outlined, short blurbs written for what should happen, but abandoned. I pulled it out in June, dusted it off, added more to the outline and began writing on June 28th. I expected to complete it at 40-45K, but the scenes kept growing. My final word count is 67,653. Some of that will be deleted. I’ve already marked two scenes because they wandered away from me.

Writing fast is a high. I set a 1K goal for each day and met it for all but three days. Two days were spent with family (two toddlers = no energy to write) and one day I vegged.

How did I write 57K in 34 days? Internal editor banished. Eyes closed. Music in headphones at times. Heavy use of xxxx for “look this up later” and “I don’t have time for the perfect word”. ** for “I might have used this word six times in the past two paragraphs, check later”. In fact, checking later is one of the keys to racking up the words. It’s an incredible high.

The next step is letting it simmer while I turn to some editing chores I’ve neglected. The Dearly Departed Dating Service is with my beta readers and cover artist. I’m combing the first draft (I write fairly clean) for obvious errors (using chose instead of chosen). When I receive my edits and covers, stay tuned for a release announcement.



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