That's right. National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). 50,000 word challenge.
The uninitiated, the optimist, may think one sits down at a computer and types out 1,667 words a day without problem. Who hasn't heard of the writing greats who simply sat down and hacked out a masterpiece overnight? Of course, those greats did it without needing a single edit or misplacing a comma and after consuming a gallon of whiskey. Probably only one of those things is true. The point of the digression is if you need any kind of pre-planning, now is the time to start gathering your thoughts on a myriad of points: characters, plot, research.
The NaNoWriMo is a good challenge for anyone to attempt. My first novel was written during November. I developed carpal tunnel, but still a good experience. Especially for beginning writers, the challenge of writing every single day and hitting a word count is a good way to understand their own individual writing process.
Don't get me wrong, every time I sit down to a computer I automatically look at my word count and add 1,667 words and try to reach it. I have learned when to force a word count, and when to back off and think through plots and characters. The difference between the first novel and the sixth is the confidence that the words will come (eventually) even if the words aren't particularly elegant--at least the text is on the page.
What writing in such a condensed timeframe also taught me is to have a good grip on my world before sitting down. World-building is actually one of my favorite pieces of writing. Even if its a contemporary piece I try to plot out neighborhoods locations, sketches of main characters' houses, and trying to get in my characters' heads.
So what's my to do list? Get to know the main chacater in my head. A snarky bartender with purple slurpee hair spiky hair. She's got a lip ring. And magic.
Let's see where it goes, and let the countdown begin!