August NaNoWriMo Planning: Brainstorming & The Girl Next Door

It’s late August, which means… it’s time to start planning this year’s NaNoWriMo novel?!

YES.

I skipped National Novel Writing Month in 2015 because I was way too busy with school to write an entire book in one month, but now that things have somewhat quieted down – AKA I got over that freshman year stress – I’m going to attempt NaNo this fall. Over the next few months my biggest non-academic goal will revolve around planning out my story in the hope that it will make the actual writing process go a bit more smoothly than usual.

I’m normally a pantser, not a plotter, so I guess we’ll just have to see how well this all works come November – will I abandon my elaborate notes and charts the very first week? – but in the meantime I’m going to go ahead and start drawing up plans because my schedule is already packed with classes, tutoring, a possible internship, et cetera. By November I won’t have time to sit around and figure out what I want to write about, so I figured that I had better start working on that now!

I designated August as the introductory stage of my NaNo planning. It was purposely meant to be a lowkey month in that respect, with no goals other than printing out the teen NaNoWriMo workbook and beginning to brainstorm ideas. I stuck the workbook in a binder full of other writing stuff and will begin to fill that out in earnest next month.

Writing this post counts as planning, too. For once I’m not procrastinating – I’m actually multitasking by writing a blog post AND recording my novel ideas all in one place before I forget them. HERE IS WHAT I HAVE SO FAR.

My novel, as it stands currently, will be a YA LGBTQ+ contemporary about two girls, best friends who grew up next door to each other, who fall in love over the course of a summer.

If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you’ll know that I’ve never written anything in the contemporary genre before, and that I’m not generally a huge fan of reading anything from it either. But… gah, my story idea was so cute that I just couldn’t pass it up.

since you've been gonelola and the boy next doorI drew inspiration from Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson and the Anna and the French Kiss series by Stephanie Perkins. I’m a big fan of Since You’ve Been Gone for its portrayal of female friendship and all-around SUMMERINESS. Summery adventures, yay!

I didn’t love the Anna books quite as much but I do adore subverting Generic YA Novels about Straight PeopleTM by making the characters and plot gay as hell, so… they’re good for something, I guess. The concept for my novel is similar to that of Lola and the Boy Next Door, which is really funny because that was actually my least favorite book of the series. I love the “girl/boy next door” trope so I really wanted to use it in this novel!

I still have no clue where the conflict in my novel will come from… but I have soooo many months left to figure that out, don’t I? I do know that no matter the cause of the conflict, I don’t want it to be tragic because this novel is partially a response to the endless parade of shitty Bury Your Gays stories. This spring I began to surround myself with as much positive LGBTQ+ media representation as possible, and it’s done wonders for my mental health – I feel much happier and more self-assured about who I am as a result of this, so I’d like to continue this habit of SUPER GAY SELF-CARE by writing stories that are in line with this principle.

Other than that, I know that I want at least one of the main characters to be a POC, and the more I think about it the more likely it seems that both of them will be. A couple of months ago I read some really great writing advice – unfortunately, I can’t remember where I saw it – about how important it is for non-minority writers to write stories WITH minority characters while being careful not to write stories ABOUT minority characters, because the people who can best tell you about the minority experience are the minorities themselves. So I’m going to keep that in mind!

Aaaand that pretty much sums up my NaNoWriMo planning thus far. In September and October I’m sure I’ll have much more to say – about naming my characters and structuring my plot and all that fun stuff – but for now I’m happy just to start brainstorming ideas and doodle lots of cute stick figure images of two girls holding hands. #inspiration #morelikeinspirGAYtion

Are you participating in National Novel Writing Month this year? Do you normally start planning this early or do you think I’m really weird for doing so?! If you’ve already started you should totally tell me all about what you’ve thought up so far because I’d love to hear about what you’ll be working on this November!

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About nevillegirl

Elizabeth. University of Iowa class of 2019. Triple majoring in English & Creative Writing, Journalism, and Gender, Women's, & Sexuality Studies. Twenty-one-year-old daydreamer, introvert, voracious reader, aspiring writer, and lesbian. Passionate about feminism, mental health, comic books, and cats.
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8 Responses to August NaNoWriMo Planning: Brainstorming & The Girl Next Door

  1. Shanti says:

    I’m going to try to do a lot of novel plotting in the next few days. I’m also writing a contemporary about friendship; it’s about a girl in an international school who loves AV but is still figuring out the rules of social interaction. YOur stor sounds great– I hope you love writing it!

    • nevillegirl says:

      Ahh, I hope your plotting goes well! That idea sounds really cool! Have you written contemporary before? I’m kind of anxious to see how this project goes since I’ve never really tried that genre before…

  2. Evi says:

    Ahhh yes this sounds so cute! 😀 I might do NaNo, I’m not sure, but I hope you post snippets!

  3. Mahima says:

    Yeah, when I saw this I started counting off the months until November. And Engie, dude, you have a LOT of months to plan this out. Which is going to be pretty cool when it comes to the book, right? I’m looking forward to seeing whether the planning works out or not!
    100% agree with surrounding yourself with positive media! I think it’s very affirming and I love the whole gay self-care aspect!
    I think planning is the best part – it helps you get exited for the work in the best way possible. But from past experience it just makes me want to write very specific scenes and I lose motivation to go through with the rest of the story apart from those scenes.
    Tis fun though.
    Oh and there’s a teen NaNoWriMo workbook??? You can PRINT IT OUT??? Where can I get mine?!

    • nevillegirl says:

      I’m so happy that I started planning early because that way even if I get overwhelmed with college stuff and don’t have time to plan my novel, or procrastinate on that, I should still have plenty of time to catch up!

      I have a few half-written posts about surrounding oneself with positive LGBTQ+ media as a form of self-care, clearly I should get those posts up sometime soon. ^_^

      Yessssss, it’s right here! http://ywp.nanowrimo.org/workbooks

  4. Pingback: September NaNoWriMo Planning: To-Do Lists & Pinterest Boards | Musings From Neville's Navel

  5. Pingback: Writing In College | Some Projects I’m Working On During The 2016-2017 School Year | Musings From Neville's Navel

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