With NaNoWriMo 2010 fast approaching, I’ve got one question for you. Are you ready?

For first-time participants, you may be thinking, ‘but isn’t preparation against the rules?’ Having an idea, an outline, character sketches, etc. is not cheating. You are only cheating if you add words to your word count that you did not actually write during NaNoWriMo.

As a 3-time failure, I will let you in on the secret to my lack of success. I was unprepared.

If you do nothing else…

Have at least a general idea about your story. My first year, I wasted valuable time day 1 trying to figure out what in the world I was going to write. As I’m sure many of you have noticed, November 1 inconveniently falls on a Monday this year. Unless you are taking the day off of work or school (which I am considering), you will have precious few hours on day 1 to add some progress to your progress bar. All the more reason to come in with a plan.

Your NaNoWriMo Story Plan

Having a plan does not mean you need to have a fully developed, beautifully outlined plan. For many, that would take the fun out of NaNoWriMo. A plan can be as simple as knowing your general plot and the name of you MC. This year, I have decided to go with a slightly more detailed plan, but it is by no means the fully sketched out plan suggested by Karen Wiesner in her book First Draft in 30 Days (a great book, by the way).

Because everyone loves an example

To help get your juices flowing, I thought an example was in order. One way I get ideas is through pictures. A picture really can say a thousand words, or in this case, 50,000, if you know how to look at it. Look at the photo and let you imagination flow. Think of some stories you could create from it. The scene in the photo does not even need to be included in your story. You could base it off of the emotion you get from looking at the photo or what the photo makes you think of. Post your ideas and come back tomorrow for an example of a short plot sketch I created based off of this photo.