I’ve been hanging out in the NaNoWriMo starting gate for about a week now, and the starting gun will go off in 3 days, on November 1. So it’s time to stop hanging out and get poised for a good break from the gate.

I’ve been mulling over how to approach this project, and now it’s time to stop mulling and get a plan in place. The novel I’m going to write has been in my head a long time. I have an outline. I have 3 chapters completed, for a total of about 3,000 words that will not count toward the 50,000 challenge. So now what? Do I just proceed in an orderly, linear fashion and start chapter 4, then chapter 5, and so forth?

While I do have an outline and know where this story is going (at least where it’s going right now), I also have a lot of subplots, peripheral characters, locations, that have popped into my head and may or may not be part of the finished product. It reminds me of putting together a patchwork quilt. A patchwork quilt is made up of a lot of individual squares, each put together separately, and then assembled into a finished quilt that, hopefully, will be pleasing to the eye.

It has occurred me that one approach to this project is to think of all those chapters, subplots, peripheral characters, etc., as individual squares, and my project for November could be to design those squares and baste them together (basting, for the non-sewing reader, is to temporarily stitch something together, so the stitching is easy to remove later if need be). Get them down on the page, whether or not I know how they will fit into the finished product. But get them out of my head and onto the page!

Then, at the end, it will be time to take those individual ‘squares’ and start laying them all out to see if there is a finished product in there somewhere. I anticipate that I will be changing the layout of some of the squares so they fit better into the finished product. Maybe the finished product won’t be what I think it will be. And maybe some of those squares just won’t fit into this quilt, but could be the start of an entirely different quilt later.

So that’s the plan. At least, that’s the plan at this moment. There are 3 days to go, so the plan could change! But it’s always good to have a direction in mind at the start of any journey.