NaNoWriMo 2014 – Preparation

That’s right! I am one of the crazy people doing NaNoWriMo again this year. Only I don’t happen to think it’s so nuts. Banging out the first draft rapid-fire really meshes well with my own personal writing style. Once I get the guts on paper then I go in and do surgery. Editing and 2nd, 3rd, 4th drafting are my favorite parts of the process. The first draft is like my own warped form for personal torture. This year for NaNoWriMo I thought I’d share my process as I go move through the month. Today let’s talk prep work.

Over the last ten months or so, I’ve added a lot to my writing process that I think really help me work better. I fall somewhere between a plotter and a pantser. I now spend a decent amount of time doing preparation work first before getting down to the writing. So the week or two before November 1st, I prepped for this book. Here’s what I got done:

Character Walks

I am very much a character driven writer (and reader). Or I try to be. I enjoy watching the growth over a time period and what a new relationship does to that growth. Let’s meet the characters I’m starting with (who knows where they’ll end up). The below isn’t everything I walked through, but it’s the important stuff.





Katherine (Kate) Nichols

Sean Wells

Physical Description

Dark brown hair, grey eyes, pale skin

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Black hair, blue eyes, grey in the beard, strong jaw, full lips

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Has moxie, spirited, loyal, cheerful. Sense of humor, supportive, reliable. Sarcastic, skeptical. Working girl has game – jumps at opportunities and makes lemonade out of lemons.

Takes care of people. Common sense. Good listener. Can’t say no. Optimistic. Capable. Self-sacrificing.

Leader, doer, likes challenges. Amused if challenged – they won’t win . Goal oriented. Decisive, responsible. Stubborn, unsympathetic, dominating. Self-made man. Protector. Bit of a hero-complex.


Parents died (abandonment); shuttled to uncle/aunt who didn’t love her (isolation), family scandalized by skydiving (shame) and would hate her maid occupation (shame)

Parents were poor – instability in living circumstances – but worked very hard. Father pushed him to do better. Social isolation from lack of $

Resulting Belief

Can’t rely on others for an emotional support or belief in her. I am unwanted and misunderstood – don’t belong.

Can only rely on himself for stability. Very driven to succeed – hard work is the most important thing in life.

Has dealt with Shame – became popular when was good at sports and good looking, realized value was from self.

Coping Mechanism

Her worlds don’t mesh so she’s a chameleon, and puts on a different face for each world.

Avoids expressing true thoughts and actions

Can be overcritical – especially of “freeloaders”

Unrelenting Standards – driven to achieve (work is his only focus)

Concept Walk

I actually start everything with the initial idea, but have to get my characters in my head before I work through the concept part


Falling for Kate

Initial Idea

Her family is ashamed of her skydiving occupation, unaware of her secret cleaning business (which would be even more scandalous).  He is being groomed to take over the family business – has only heard of her, but perceives her to be a freeloader.


Can love exist in different worlds of cleaning houses for a living / high society business moguls / and free spirited skydivers.

To see someone’s true worth is to love them.


true worth


  • His belief she’s a freeloader – fixed earlier (by mid way)
  • Her belief that he’s just like her uncle – fixed slower but by mid way (sort of – he’s still driven)
  • Her family’s disdain for her life
  • Her belief that they can’t exist together – the worlds don’t mesh

Sean has to convince Kate they can overcome. The world is what we make it together.

On the Table

Her: Someone finally in her corner. Unconditional and total support and love.

Him: Someone who softens his edges, makes him realize that work isn’t everything, family and living life is important too.

Blurb (Attempt #1)

Kate Nichols has spent her life not fitting in, unwanted by the wealthy aunt and uncle who raised her. Their disapproval worsened when she took up skydiving as a hobby and then turned professional. But they would be truly horrified to know she supports her occupation by cleaning houses.

Sean Wells grew up with nothing, hunger and fear his constant companions. So he’s worked with unrelenting purpose until now he’s in a position to take over the oil corporation where he works. There is nothing Sean despises more than freeloading rich kids. And his CEO and mentor’s niece, Kate, obviously falls in that category.

Can these two stubborn outsiders look beyond their pasts and perceptions to find the true worth each could hold for the other?

So I have my starting point! I am two days into NaNoWriMo and about 30 pages into the book. I’ve set a very aggressive goal so that I finish before Thanksgiving (cause no way will I be writing over the holiday). Wish me luck!

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