As you may have noticed, I didn’t write for NaNoWarmUp the past two days. I haven’t decided yet if I am going to keep going with it as planned. Life kind of landed in a tough way, and while I’m pretty happy with my progress so far, I’m not sure if I need to continue to 25,000 words if I’m not even working on the real text of my novel.
I LOVE what I wrote in the first half of this month. I have a much better sense of so many characters, and the novel will be better for the little back-stories and side-stories that I have created for my novel-universe. But I feel that what I really need to do in the remaining two weeks of October is to work on an overview of the story. The first draft, skeletal ending and all, has some big issues that I have to work out. I need to solidify my plot ideas, what I am keeping and what I am losing or changing, so that when November 1st comes along I am prepared to start writing.
One big step I have started, which is a huge undertaking, is to convert over 70 hand-written pages of research and noveling notes into a (private) WordPress blog. The task is fairly monumental not because it means a LOT of typing, but because I feel that it is important to cite my sources, which I actually wasn’t worried about four years ago when I started working on Cursed. Sure, it’s easy to figure out what sections were taken from Wikipedia, and I have posted both the current, October 2013 version of the pages on Cassandra and Apollo AND the October 2009 version that were my initial sources. It’s harder to place research that I copied down from books in the library where I work – books that may have gone missing in the past four years, or may be checked out right now.
So what I’m doing is this: I am first searching for things on the internet using quotation marks to try to find exactly what I wrote down. If I can find it, I copy and paste from the source and then put a link to the original web page. I am copy and pasting because if the site goes down (like some have), I will still have the information I need. Since the blog is private so the only person who can see it is me, and only if I’m logged into WordPress, I’m not concerned about plagiarism – especially since I am citing sources where I can in case I ever decide to make the blog public.
Second, I have found book sources for some of my notes. For these, I transcribe my handwritten notes and add the source in MLA Works Cited page format.
Third, I am making one “random notes” blog entry for each topic. For example, “Random notes – Apollo.” For these entries, I am transcribing my handwritten notes, separating using bulleted lists or spacing each part that I think came from a different source. At the bottom of the page I am listing the references as “Source: lost.” This way I am clearly showing that I copied that info from somewhere, I’m just not sure where.
I am putting all of my research notes in that blog, and any noveling notes will be re-written by hand into a new (or probably the same, now only containing blank pages) notebook, where they will be easier to read (I won’t have to weed through research to find them). This will also help me work out the plot and such for next month – some of my previous noveling notes will be irrelevant now, and re-writing them will help me decide what notes to keep and what to discard.
So yes, a lot of work. It will be MUCH faster to have my research online because 1) I can refer to it using the WordPress app on my phone, making it far more portable than a notebook I’m liable to forget at home or at work, and 2) I can use the search widget to find information a lot faster than flipping through the pages. PLUS, 3) I can add new research a lot faster by not having to write everything down in my notebook.
As far as NaNoWarmUp, for now I’m done. I may come back to it after I’ve gotten a better idea of my plot. I should do a character sketch of Lainie (Helen), and possibly other characters, but I won’t really know who they are until I know where my story lies. Of course, everything I am doing with my research and plotting is NaNoPrep, it’s just not writing fiction. But I’ve won NaNo four times, and I am not worried about this year. I don’t feel like I necessarily need the WarmUp to practice daily writing. What I need is a different kind of preparation, so that’s where I am at right now.