Sunday, October 25, 2015


It's that time of year again - time to start planning a new novel for National Novel Writing Month.

Which means it's time to start gathering as much information and tools I can to survive the month and write another brand-new draft. Which means plotting, planning, thinking, getting inspired, getting blocked, getting inspired again, getting blocked again...ah, the beautiful cycle of a writer. 

One of my favourite tools for preparing myself (but not getting overburdened with preparation) for the mad dash that is the month of November, is to make a big, beautiful, inspiring mood board.

A place where all my ideas, feelings, thoughts and information is in one place. My characters, my setting details, and even images that  I just found inspiring - all I have to do is look up and be inspired, ready to write. 

Make your own mood board - just head over to pinterest and start pinning. I usually search through the boards tagged 'nanowrimo' and various 'character inspiration' boards - and follow the trail back to other boards. I usually set a time limit, between 30 minutes and an hour, and just let myself explore.

Some things you can gather for your mood board:
- Try to narrow your novel down in to a few words, emotions or themes. For example, my novel this year is based on "Old Customs vs. Modern Girls" Put these words somewhere you can see them, whether you're printing your mood board out or not.
-  A basic draft of your plot
- A 'magna carta' for your novel - a collection of names, feelings, stories and themes that you love and want to write about.
- Character profiles
- Images of your characters and settings
- Images capturing various moods in your story
- Quotes
- Images inspiring action in your writing (ie; kisses, fight scenes and interaction)
- Pictures that set the time of your story ( Medieval clothing, vs tranquilizer guns - or a merry mix of both)
- Items / people / things important to your characters; things that develop them more
- A few wildcards that you just like.

 Now, here's where you can do one of two things - you can either choose to keep your board in the electronic realm - in which case, I would suggest captioning all your images, and sorting them until you feel happy. I'd also reccomend you pick the best images and make a collage out of them - save it as your background, have it on your phone, keep it somewhere you can see it constantly.

Or you can choose to print it out. If you choose this route, be prepared to parse through the images and pick your best ones. Whether electronic or printed, I suggest doing a speed-pick, giving yourself no more than 10 minutes to choose your favourite images. Impulse is a great tool, and you'll almost always pick the best and most helpful images under a clock.

I'm really enjoying attaching technical information to my mood board this year - things that I'll need to reference when I'm writing. There are plenty of resources avaliable on the Nanowrimo website, if you want to do some technical planning, and add those to the board.

Do you guys do any fancy planning for nanowrimo? I'd love to see yours, especially if you do mood boards (they don't need to be nanowrimo-themed!!) Please, share in the comments!!

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