NaNoWriMo Research and Preparation

Hi, everyone! 

As promised, I said I’d blog abut NaNoWriMo… so I’m here to update you on how things are going before even beginning. 

Really, though: I’m writing a novel set in the 19th century, and as I’m not a historian, I actually have quite a bit of research to do. Besides getting up-to-date on everything out-of-date, researching has so far proven invaluable for my inspiration. 

There’s a few things I’m doing now in order to be prepared to write away in November. Mainly:

-Character research. My main character is loosely based off a French painter from the late 1800s. We share some common traits, making him – hopefully – a rounded and relatable character, as I will be able to write from experience. 

-Character development. I have a general idea of who my characters are, but I don’t have any concrete “this is my fully rounded and developed character” points. Just general points. I have a spotty character list. I feel like they’ll let me know who they are as I write. 

-More research. I have instances of medical malpractice throughout the story, and, as I am not a physician nor was I alive in 1882, this takes even more research. 

-Plot outline. This is probably the most difficult for me to achieve. I have numerous general outlines in my word document… and I feel like they’re just that: general. I’m not saying the story will write itself, BUT I do believe that writing leads to more plot discoveries. 

-Setting development. I mean, research! Truly – I had to look up “types of lighting in 1800s” because I honestly did not know. But guess what – I learned something new today! Ha.

-A pictures folder. Anything that I come across that inspires or assists me, visually, I drag into a folder. That way, if I’m stuck as I write, I can open it and peruse, rather than going down the rabbit hole that is Google. 

Researching one things leads to another, and to another: hopefully, by filling my brain with everything 19th-century, there won’t be any noticeable gaps as I set off to write. Researching, getting various sources, writing things down and organizing it all has taken a good chunk of time so far, and I wouldn’t say I’m close to being done. With NaNoWriMo beginning in five days, I feel more prepared and ready to write, rather than spending (wasting) time looking up aspects of my story I’m unsure about.

Are you participating? Do you have any good preparation tips? Is anyone else like me, and leaves most of the plot/ characters (somewhat) untouched until starting to write? Leave me a comment below. 

Published by Erica Black

Erica was born with a rare disease called an arteriovenous malformation in her right leg. She is now an advocate for those with disabilities. She left the corporate world in 2016 to pursue a career as a high school English teacher and began to blog along the way. She has a BA in English Lit and minor in Creative Writing. Her writing has been featured in The Martlet, The Globe and Mail, Heroica, and more. She enjoys cats, reading, and her daughter.

2 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo Research and Preparation

  1. A pictures folder is a great thing to prep indeed. In fact, I even keep pics of familiar things, like places I’ve been, or everyday tools, just so I can refer to them and describe them better. Wishing you all the best with NaNo!

    Liked by 2 people

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