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NaNoWriMo – Day 3

November 3, 2010

Okay, besides drive and motivation and writing around the clock for thirty days, what’s one of the best ways to achieve success in NaNoWriMo?

Start with a solid plan.  Because I’m pretty much an obsessive planner, (Virgo… helloooooo!) I approached this pretty much the way I do any large project.  I started with a plan.  I had the pieces in place that would help me get through thirty days and thirty nights of writing.  I’m also an engineer (see Virgo) which means I like working from blueprints and specification.  No flying by the seat of the pants for me.

Before I started out on, HAUNTING CHARLESTON, the second novel in my Phoenix Worthy series, I had a full outline completed, all 37 chapters of it. I have character worksheets so I don’t have to guess at characterizations and can easily go back to find out anything I need to know about any character.

I am scary organized.

I want to take this opportunity to give a big shout-out to the FREEMIND mind-mapping freeware used to manage the outline, locations, characters, plots and sub-plots, all in one handy little application.
(Did I mention it was free?)

The end result looks something like this.
(Thank you to the Pixar animation Cars for the inspiration for this example)
– Click image to jump to the Freemind Download Page –

Freemind has radically changed the way I approach outlining and documenting a writing project.  It’s very quick and easy to build a plan and stick with it.  It’s also a breeze to shift gears and make changes mid-stream.  You can move stuff around by the old click and drag method. Thank you to the folks at Freemind for a very simple software product.

I’m not against writing for the sheer joy of it. Without a plan or prior thought, you’ll sometimes end up with a rough draft worth revising. ~ Elizabeth Lyon


  1. November 3, 2010 9:17 pm

    Sometimes I wish I was a Virgo. Then I come to my senses and realize that with two Virgos around here, the house would be filled with spotless stacks of organized paperwork and the dogs would be doing advanced math.

    There’s a downside to that somewhere. I’ll think of it. Give me a minute.

  2. November 3, 2010 9:34 pm

    The only thing Slevy knows about Infinity is it’s shaped like a dog bone.

  3. November 3, 2010 9:36 pm

    Looks like interesting software. I admire your planning ability. Happy writing!

  4. AngieK permalink
    November 3, 2010 10:08 pm

    Thanks again Mickey… being an AQ I fly by the seat of my pants way too much… start many things but finish few. Maybe this freeware will help me focus… thanks again for the peptalk!

  5. November 3, 2010 10:15 pm

    How could you say that about Slevy?!? He knows more about the Cosmos than any human.

  6. November 3, 2010 10:29 pm

    From the movie: HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER

    Adm. Painter: What’s his plan?
    Jack Ryan: His plan?
    Adm. Painter: Russians don’t take a dump, son, without a plan.

    Maybe I’m part Russian.

  7. November 3, 2010 11:44 pm

    I guess I’m more labradore than Russian.

  8. Diane permalink
    November 4, 2010 11:13 am

    I have a certain envy for planners. I seem to have missed that gene. I don’t even plan a vacation. i just know where we are going to go and see what options there are when we get there. Is there a way you can “learn” how to plan? I have 2 engineers in the family and 1 teacher. I don’t know what happened to me. LOL Come to think of it I did do Accounting for a living, but being organized isn’t the same as planning.

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