Wednesday, October 2, 2019

IWSG: October or should I say...Preptober

It's Preptober. At least that's what the NaNoWriMo people are calling it. Sure why not. So what do us pantsers do for NaNo prep? Typically I'd do nothing. Because: Pantser. The past couple years I've tried a variety of loose prep just to...try.

I've made lists of prompts with the intention of writing a host of short stories. So prepared with ideas, but I ended up writing a novel entirely unrelated to any of the prompts.

I've written a very, very quick and dirty one page outline. That novel fell quickly fell apart. Not for fault of the novel or outline, but my thoughts were elsewhere and I ended up writing something entirely different.

One year I wrote a one page synopsis. That actually worked nicely, by the way.

So this year? I had a dream a couple weeks ago, one of those dreams where you go, OMG this would be a great story if I could flesh it out. I've been mulling it over in my 'free' time. Those that know me, know what a joke that is. But yes, I've been mulling. Last night I wrote five plot points on a tiny piece of paper while waiting to do an author interview. I'm calling that my Preptober effort. Will I end up writing this story? No idea. November is a long way off as far as wandering ideas and fickle inspiration go. But I'm going to try.

If you're not familiar with 
Group, check it out here 
and find links to all the other 
participating writers.
And now on to this month's question: It's been said that the benefits of becoming a writer who does not read is that all your ideas are new and original. Everything you do is an extension of yourself, instead of a mixture of you and another author. On the other hand, how can you expect other people to want your writing, if you don't enjoy reading?

I've never heard this before and my general stance is that it's a load of horse hockey. (That may be the allergy meds talking.) Our ideas are influenced by everything around us, not just want we read. The only thing new or original about storytelling is the spin you put on it. There are books on this that outline all the major plots. The thing that makes them interesting is how you put your personal touches on the variables. You, your life experiences and all the media you ingest, are the flavor that colors the words.

Do you need to read? Yes. Though, not necessarily for the ideas. But, reading shows you how to write, how to form story structure, pleasing sentences, interesting characters, robust plots and settings. By reading and finding authors you enjoy, you may end up adopting some of their storytelling style. That's not a bad thing. If they can successfully tell an engaging story and that's your goal, learn from them.


  1. I've been doing NaNoWriMo off and on for the last ten years, but this is the first year where I've actually be working on some project prep ahead of time. I'm kind of curious to see if it makes any difference.

  2. I started doing more NaNo prep the last few years and it's worked really well for me. I actually end up with a full beginning/middle/end draft of a story. It's not pretty, but it definitely gives me something to work with, unlike other years.

  3. I've never been in NaNo because I'm a snail writer and I'd probably lose my mind. I give credit to all those who join NaNo. Good Luck.

  4. Hi Jean - well your ideas are bubbling ... good luck - NaNoWriMo definitely works for some ... all the best - cheers Hilary

  5. Best wishes with NaNo. I am so impressed with people who power through that. Reading entertains and educates. What could be wrong with that?

  6. Reading as much as possible is indeed important part of a writers life. Good Luck with the NaNoWriMo challenge.


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