The Wednesday Writing Worktable: Preparing for JuNoWriMo Take-Off

“Just write every day of your life. Read intensely. Then see what happens. Most of my friends who are put on that diet have very pleasant careers.”—Ray Bradbury

So, I came up with a new series for the blog beside the Finding Fantasy Friday. Yes, I know...more alliteration. It works for me. If you have other suggestions, I'm all ears. I have one other series coming soon, so you guys know what to expect throughout the week. Also, I've gone through the blog, labeling other works that could work in this series, so you can find what you want easier. Now, to the post...

My writing worktable these days is whatever digital device I have in my hands at the time, be it a phone, my Nook, or a computer. Today, I'm working on my new Sony Vaio Fit14, which I love b-t-dubs. Feel free to contact me on here or Twitter or Facebook if you have questions about it. ;)

I've done NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) to write book 2 for the Meridienne Drake Series two years ago. Geez, can't believe it's been that long. I didn't finish it then (only about 35k); I filed it away a few months and finished it in April of the following year. I can't wait until November to write this novel plaguing my brain.

Next month is JuNoWriMo (June Novel Writing Month). Yes, I know many of these are popping up. I know NaNo puts on another one in April. There is also a July one. I'm sure there's more. Why so many? Ernest Hemingway says it best:

"Writing, at its best, is a lonely life."

Writing is something that must be done alone, but it helps when you can encourage and push others. Or even better when it's a competition. True, you're only really competing against yourself. The goal is to write 50k words in one month. It's a challenge, but one that the completion is the reward itself. Having others there along for the ride with you makes the challenge worthwhile. Some still just take the challenge on alone, just trying to complete the 50k words, and that's okay too.

Anyway, for JuNoWriMo, I'm attempting something I've never attempted before as far as novel writing is concerned. I've always been a discovery writer, one that just puts pen to paper and writes. I listen to my characters and let them dictate their stories to me. It works for me, but is time consuming. However, the story I'm attempting for JuNoWriMo is going to be my first attempt at a multiple POV(Point of View) novel. I have four character perspectives taking you along this journey. I feel like I need to be organized. I need to know ahead of time where my story is going to an extent, but more importantly, I need to know my characters better than I know myself. So, I'm trying to be a plotter.

For this novel, it's really not hard. I mean, I haven't been really specific as some people do, but I have a great outline. I know the beginning, the middle, the climax, and the end, with a few other things thrown in the mix. I have been doing a lot of research and reading about plotting. What I found most useful is Christopher Vogler's The Hero's Journey, which takes Joseph Campbell's version and elaborates on it. It technically is for screenwriters, but aren't they storytellers, too? Vogler's way makes more sense to me than anything I've come across so far, probably because it relates back to mythology, which if you know me, you know how obsessed I am with it, right next to Jane Austen.

Here is a nifty table I found on Pinterest the other day that I posted on Twitter (Click pic for bigger version on Pinterest):

I did both an inner and outer hero journey for my story. I have yet to do it for every POV character. Not sure I will because even though I have 4 POVs. I still have just one MC (Main Character).

However, I have filled out character sketches for every POV character, plus a few other important characters.

I sketched my outline and characters in Scrivener, my software of choice, when I'm able. I sure do wish they would develop an app for that to take with me across all my digital devices. Anyway, I took the sketch that comes standard with Scrivener and elaborated it to combine some aspects that I found to be useful. In fact, I'm including it here, so you can use it if you want. I know I love, collecting what other writer's use and making it my own. ;) It's at the bottom of the post.

The character sketch helps me to understand my characters on a personal level, because, like I said earlier, I need to know them really well. Character Sketches aren't anything new to me. I usually do them after the first draft though. Especially with Meridienne Drake, I needed those to do Book 2. Little quirks and nuances need to be recorded, especially if you're doing a sequel or series. For instance, Meri tends to play with her fingernails when she's nervous and loves Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls and popcorn when she watches movies. It's important to carry through. Doing this after the first draft is a little more cumbersome because when I realize her quirks or something like that. I have to go through the draft and make sure it's incorporated where necessary. Of course, I'll still do that with this one, but hopefully knowing beforehand, I won't have to do as much work for it. With four POV characters, I'm just looking to make the process more efficient. 

I do go one step further than this though. You see, the Engineer, my hubby, had to do a personality profile at work. I absolutely loved it. It nailed him to a T. I took it myself and, again, right on the dot, so of course, I did this with the Meridienne Drake characters. Man, that helped so much for Book 2.

This is a file from the Wikimedia Commons
I wish I could share it here, but I don't have a digital copy of it, and I think it's copyrighted. I do have this==>, which should do the job just as well. You can click the pic to read a lot more about it. It helps you understand how a character will respond to a situation. Will they rush right in without thinking it through? Will they have to talk it over with others first? It makes a huge difference when writing.

So, this is what I've done so far in preparation for JuNoWriMo. I still have some things to do to get ready, but I'm itching to start writing this story.

To whet your appetite (Even if you weren't curious, too bad): This novel will be a young adult novel with voodoo elements set in my old stomping grounds, New Orleans, Louisiana. Gonna have to wait for the rest.

These are the Books I've read that helped me the most, preparing for JuNoWriMo:

Here is the Character Sketch.
What are you doing to get ready for JuNoWriMo? Have you signed up?

Lots of <3,

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