What kind of items and events should be in your story? You should make some lists for that.
This is a merge of the Two Magna Cartas and Write the Things that Scare You activities in No Plot? No Problem! I like to call the Three Lists. Get out some paper or pull up Notepad or whatever. You're gonna list things. When you make these lists, give yourself 3 or 4 minutes to fill it out as quickly as you can, so you have some stuff and are able to write down your immediate items and get them done in 15 minutes.
The first list is the Heaven List. You should put in this list all the things in stories that you think make awesome stories awesome. They can be character types, events, settings, plot points, whatever. As long as it's cool to you, it goes on the list.
The second list will be your Hell List. This is the antithesis of the Heaven list, containing all the things in stories that you detest, whether as personal preference or under the judgement of good writing. If it makes you rage when you see it in a story, put it down in this list.
The third list is the Purgatory List. This you will fill out with all your fears and concerns. These include sensory input that strangely disgusts you, phobias, triggers, social/political concerns, fears, worries, anything of the sort. Fill the list up with that.
Here's how to treat these three lists. The heaven list is a good guide for what kind of stuff to put in your story if you don't know what to put in it. You like those things, so you'll enjoy putting them in your tale. The Hell List, you are to avoid like the plague. There are temptations to use it to make your book "smarter" or "deeper" or "edgier," but if you follow those items on the list, you're gonna have a bad time, and you're gonna hate you story the whole write-through. If you really wanna get serious, consult the Purgatory List. That way, you will put issues important to you in the story. Heck, you might even take down a demon from it.
These three lists will be a great guide for writing your novel. Do not diverge from them. Rely on them when your reserves burn scarily quickly.
I talked with HeartfulRemi about her doing NaNoWriMo, and upon further contemplation, especially of her academic workload, she decided that the challenge was 2spookey4her. It's okay to find NaNoWriMo overwhelming. My first novel was at age 17, and I could only write it up by convincing one of my teachers to make an assignment out of it, and many other people in the Wagon find it an endeavor only for the most diligent of marathon writers, which they're not on of them.
No one should feel ashamed of not being able to muster a 50,000-word novel in a mere month. Heck, some people doing it don't expect to win, but are trying anyway. I also understand how a pile of obligations can hinder putting in a legitimate effort a given year. I already mentioned that in my Why I Failed NaNoWriMo post. NaNoWriMo may be la pinche hostia, but there are things more important than that, like scoring A's and keeping your job. Don't be afraid of knowing your limits, and Remi, you do well your freshman year.
Next information meeting from me is Monday, October 27 at 6:00 PM Central Time on Raidcall. There, I will be reading from the first half of No Plot? No Problem! and we'll be discussing it throughout. Hope to see you there!
The Blurb Webinar from last Monday is on YouTube! Watch it at youtu.be/BLLBusd2haE ! The audio could be better (hehe), but it's incredibly informative.
PROTIP: No hay que escibir su novela en inglés. De facto, puedes escribir lo in cualquier idioma que quieres, y debes en lo más cómodo. Sin embargo, hay un atractivo con inglés y su usar de muchas palabras en un frase.
(TRANSLATION: You don't have to write your novel in English. In fact, you can write it in whatever language you want, and you should use the one you're most comfortable with. However, there's an allure to English with its immense wordiness.)
If you have not announced your novel on the NaNoWriMo website with at least a tentative title and a tentative genre, you are wrong. Go there and make sure the site knows you're going it with the Create Your Novel link on the front page.
DID YOU KNOW: The Webcomic Artist who Must Not Be Named* inspired a NaNoWriMo novel? In 2008, Vivian Gee wrote the 50,031-word A Girl Who Brought Down the World, hoping to get her points across to Chris. The novel itself is pretty much DitR, but replace Brolli with Chris-Chan. You can start reading it here.
*Perpetuating a meme I hate, 'cause I'm Nazrin.