Every year I participate in National Novel Writing Month, a 30-day self-challenge hosted by Office of Letters and Light. Hundreds of thousands of struggling writers make their annual migration into the dark recesses of basements and coffee shops to pen the next great American novel (or Kenyan novel… it’s global!). They commit to write 50,000 words of a new novel in the next 30 days. See nanowrimo.org.
Trello is a free project managing tool that I recommend as a means of storing and sorting all your book scenes. You can write each idea on a card, just like physical cards, and move them around under different headings in order to outline the plot.
I like Trello so much, I wrote a whole book about it.
Available in the Kindle Store.
Here is my book beginning for 2012:
As you can see, I have four columns. Three are characters and their arcs, and the fourth one is a miscellaneous list. I made the miscellaneous list first, because I’ve written books before. There will be a flood of possible ideas that might not clearly fit into the lives of these three characters. My book outline actually was supposed to have 4 main rotating stories but I see here I have 5 columns of ideas.
Two of these have very minimal character development – Gnosis and Slitherip – these are behind the scenes organizations – so I need to move them to the right and out of the way of the 3 main characters that will drive most of the book and represent people (human beings) that can adapt and grow in situations. These characters are Kat, Ibra, and P.
Now I have at least 3 starting scenes for each of my narratives. I can begin writing in some direction:
What this board is telling me is the order that I should do scenes and where to start the book. As I have arranged my cards and lists, my book will start with Kat, a 19 year old hacker whiz girl, breaking into a bank with one of her NSA coworkers named Zvi, or Darek, or whatever – I haven’t figured him out yet. The next scene will be at the top of the next column to the right – introducing Ibra – an African Albino. Then “P” – a sadowly analyst inside the NSA. Then Gnosis… You can see how structure makes your daily 1,667 wordcount much easier to attain. We should all use trello, as I explain here in Using Trello for Project Management.
Trello is Free at https://trello.com and helps you organize your nanowrimo novel.