In case you haven’t noticed, I am pretty excited about NaNoWriMo right now. Almost as excited as I am to read Meg Cabot’s The Boy Is Back or watch the new season of the Bachelor (I am really curious to see what kind of women appear on Nick’s season).
As is the case with all exciting things, I have to make sure I don’t get too carried away. Sometimes I get some many ideas that I don’t know which one to choose. I currently have an idea for four books featuring different teen girls in a group of friends. The problem? Which book I start with first. I feel like Rory Gilmore trying to choose between Tristan, Dean, Jess, and Logan (for the record, I was Team Jess in high school, but I am now Team Logan…feel free to leave a comment or e-mail me to discuss).
I have formulated a few questions to help you find the perfect NaNoWriMo book idea.
- How much time have I invested in this book?
There is a goldilocks answer to this question: you don’t want the time to be too much or too little; you want it to be just right. Basically, you don’t want to be without a plan, or you will be staring at a blank screen, stuck. You also don’t want to be spending years (or even months) on the plan, or you won’t be able to write with velocity (because you want to invest more time in something you have spent that much time planning). A good amount is a week to a month of planning.
- How passionate am I about this idea?
You have to be passionate enough about the book that you will be willing to work on it intensely for a month. Yet you cannot be so passionate about it that you are afraid of making a very messy first draft of it. The idea should appeal to you enough that you will also be willing to completely rewrite it. Because, let’s be honest, that is what happens with a lot of NaNoWriMo manuscripts.
- Does the idea have wiggle room?
If you sign up for NaNoWrimo, you have to be willing to get a little crazy. There will be times when you have to throw something random into your story to keep going. Stuck in a scene? Throw in a random purple space alien with a ray gun. Think your character is dull? Make her suddenly a secret mermaid. Okay, it might not be that extreme, but NaNoWriMo calls for a lot of improvisation. You need to have an idea that allows for that.
Do you want help finding out if your idea is NaNoWriMo worthy? Rocky and I are offering a workshop where we give you personalized feedback on your NaNoWriMo plans. You just have to sign up here.