Last year I participated in NaNoWriMo for the first time and being a competitive person really wanted to ‘win’. I was quite proud when I met the goal of 50,000 words early in the month. Immediately after my pace slackened and in the final ten days of NaNo I barely managed 5,000 more words – well under my previous achievement.

Originally I thought my sudden lack of progress was a result of having achieved my goal – I sprinted to the finish line, crossed it then sat down to puff and pant instead of jogging on. However, going back to the manuscript now I can see another issue which was probably just as large a contributing factor: my plot outline.

In late October, prepping for NaNo, I moved most of my outline into little plot cards in Scrivener. I didn’t do them all for several reasons, including: I never thought I’d get that far and I like to be a little more flexible with the end half of the novel, because as many writers know things just happen sometimes in the story, while riding on that euphoric, muse-induced typing frenzy ideas you weren’t even aware you were thinking pop out and they cause your story to change course a little. A tight outline restricts this creativity but a softer, looser one encourages you to expand on those new ideas.

So now I’m back in Scrivener, taking my loose little plot outline from a notepad document and trying to put it into little cards so I can finish my NaNo novel before I take part in Camp NaNoWriMo. So far it’s working well, an additional 6,000 words over the last two weeks, slow, but better than nothing. Now lets see if I can’t get myself typing like this guy: