The Smoke Signal, MSJ's Official Newspaper


NaNoWriMo Blog Series – Preliminary Writing

By: Staff Writers Lucille Njoo and Deeksha Raina

When we first signed up for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), we weren’t quite sure what we were getting ourselves into. NaNoWriMo is an annual online writing project in which participants try to complete 50,000 word novels within the month of November. The idea of writing our own novel seemed pretty fun to us, but when when we actually looked at the details, we realized it was going to take a lot more work and planning than we expected. After all, writing a 50,000-word novel in just one month is no easy task.

We hit our first speed bump right at the very beginning–thinking of a decent story idea. It took days of agonizing brainstorming to come up with a feasible idea that hadn’t been used before. Romance? Adventure? Dystopian universe? Been there, done that. It seemed like every topic we thought we could build a story on had already been wrung dry by other authors with much more acclaim than the two of us, and the vast variety of genre choices NaNoWriMo offered was no help either. Finally, we realized that for our story to be original, we had to begin from scratch, and we invented a setting of our own. We drew tidbits of ideas from various things we’d seen or read about and wove them together into a grand adventure story.

Even once we had an idea of our plot, it wasn’t smooth sailing. We kept finding more and more holes in our plot that just made no sense. Time and time again we had to go back to the drawing board. It was a roller coaster ride of excited ups and disappointed downs as we thought of brilliant new ideas, only to find that didn’t make sense in another part of the story. Every time we tried to start, it was pretty clear that we needed a firmer grasp on our characters before we could write from their perspectives. So once again, we had to step back and flesh out our characters. We had to create their personalities, quirks, and backstories in order to understand them and write from their point of view. But eventually, we had smoothed the plot over enough to start writing the novel with confidence. We wrote the prologue in a flash, excitedly typing out a couple of pages.

Though the first chapter was slightly more challenging, at last we ground out its first few pages, and now the gears are turning a little more smoothly. To our delight and amazement, the universe we created–or rather, universes–for our story is rapidly taking on its own life. It’s a world of multiple universes that are run by a group of people called the Council. But when a rogue decides he wants a universe of his own, all the other universes are thrown out of balance. Enter four mismatched kids, one from each of the four different universes, who happen to find their way into the heart of the mess. They’ll have to learn to work with each other despite their differences for the sake of all the universes.

So far, the novel has been progressing rather slowly. From here on out, we’ll be focusing on catching up with our schedule and powering through the novel. We had planned to finish around two chapters a day, but our troubles with planning have set the actual writing back quite a bit. It’s challenging enough finding the time and energy to produce 50,000 words in a month. Nevertheless, we’re sure it will be a blast.


Sneak-peak of the novel! 


The universe we live in isn’t the only one. Earth, as we know it, is actually part of an alternate universe.


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