You have characters.
You have setting.
….do you have a plot?
In creating your setting, I’m near positive all sorts of ideas occurred to you on what you could do with your characters in this world. Now is the time to gather up those thoughts and put them all on paper.
Perhaps you have a simple plot in which girl meets boy, they go out, they get married, the end. Or maybe there’s complexities involved, such as girl meets boy, girl kills boy, boy is now a zombie…and, well, you get the picture.
Here is where you can have fun and really begin to figure out what your story is.
There are four simple steps to creating a plot that you can follow during your NaNo month (or really, at any time).
One: Figure out your starting point. With a start point, you know how the characters meet, what is going to happen to get them together and what them getting together might entail. It’s an introduction of everyone involved and might take anywhere from a few paragraphs to a few chapters, depending on what you all have planned.
Two: What is your climax of the novel? This is your Point B if we look at step one as Point A. The characters must get here eventually. Will the climax be a nail biting magical duel or a fight between two lovers. Maybe it’s a gun fight and one of your main characters is currently in a hospital bed fighting for their life. (Aside: never be afraid to kill off your main characters if that is what the story calls for. Be a literary murderer!) This is what every one of your readers has been waiting for, so whatever it is, make sure it has been worth the build up to this moment.
Three: The Ending. I don’t mean writing the words “the end” when you have finally finished it all, but that is a fun thing to do, I’ll admit. Here is where you tie up loose ends and slowly wind your reader down from the high that they hopefully experienced during the climax. A great video explaining why this is so important in anything can be found at Penny Arcade and I highly suggest checking it out: http://penny-arcade.com/patv/episode/episode-07-pacing
Four: Fill in the spaces. You have three points now: A, B and C. This is now when the fun part of plotting can happen. Sub-plots, interactions, laying of clues, everything indirectly related to the climax is now put into place along your chart of points. Give a word or two of detail at each new point. Examples can be “meets Samantha” or “learns about dragons”. This will make sure your story is paced well and that you won’t forget anything that you had planned.
Of course, like all good plans, this will likely fall apart at the first sign on battle (in this case, the second day of NaNo), so don’t be worried! You can either us this roadmap you have created here to get you back on track or just go off and let the story take you where it will!