It's nearly November, which means it's time for NaNoWriMo! There are plenty of blog posts about whether NaNo is any good or not, so I won't bother with one of those - suffice to say that I love it, and participating in NaNo is one of the highlights of my year.
This weekend I started plotting my new novel (using Scrivener), filling in scene outlines, making character notes and various bits of world-building. I began with a premise and some basic plot points, but by the end of the day I had a much more detailed understanding of my novel. My characters were starting to fill out, my world was becoming more intricate and the plot was taking shape.
The internet is a wonderful thing. I don't think I could write my novels without it! Of course, I'm prone to procrastination because of it, and some of my random ideas lead me into rabbit holes that waste several hours of my time, but it also really helps to stimulate my imagination. Everything from the adoption forums on the NaNoWriMo site to the results thrown up when I accidentally mistype something in a search engine - it all sets my mind working.
For me, a big part of planning a novel involves letting my mind wander down these pathways, finding new and interesting bits of information, investigating websites that are new to me or throwing strange ideas together to see if they work. It's so exciting, seeing a plot form in front of my eyes, out of such disparate elements! It's no wonder that this is one of my favourite times of year, because I enjoy this process so much, and it will soon be followed by the thrill of writing that first draft.
Now, if you will excuse me, I'm off to look up obscure alchemical symbols and see where that leads me...