NaNoWriMo 2016: What do you do while waiting?

NaNoWriMo logoI’m doing it again! I’m participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) this year to kick start my new novel, Amiga. It’s a novel I’ve been planning for some time, and NaNoWriMo gives me the opportunity to put it into words.

But NaNoWriMo doesn’t officially start until November 1. What do I do in the meantime? The NaNoWriMo website has some ideas on how to prepare to write a novel. Here is what I’m doing.

Get Scrivener set up

I’ve been using Scrivener for a few years. I especially appreciate the iOS version. I can keep writing on my iPhone when I’m stuck with Black Friday shopping. (If you haven’t tried Scrivener, they have a trial version and some deals for NaNoWriMo.)

I’ve been taking advantage of the time before NaNoWriMo to set up my writing project, create my manuscript and research folders, and set my compile options so that I’m ready to start working on November 1. I also set up targets so I stay on track for 50,000 words.

Build my characters

Amiga is a character-driven story, so I’ve been using the time to build my cast. I put together backstory with physical and psychological descriptions of my characters. I created this text in Scrivener and stored it in my Characters folder.

Sample of a character description in Scrivener

This helps me put together ideas for the story and decide how these characters will interact with each other. It also saves time in writing because I don’t have to ask myself, “What did I call this character?” or “Does she have dark hair or blond hair?”


It has been 25 years since I had my Amiga 500. I can’t depend on memory, so I had to learn about Amiga computers all over again — including the little things I took for granted when I owned one. What did the floppy disk drives sound like? How does Workbench work, and what are the differences between drawers and tools?

Amiga Workbench 1.3 (circa 1987) from Wikipedia

How are you preparing for NaNoWriMo? Share your tips in the comments.