Ghost Writer. Since I'll also be working in November I need to get as much done in advance on plotting, research, setting up my novel notebook, etc., so that all I need to do on November 1st is start writing.
Other things I have to decide on:
A title: It can be a working title, but I need something to call it. I really dislike writing a story without a title. I don't know why. Just one of my things, I guess.
A cast: I like to know who will be in the story before I write it, so I'll make up character lists. For this book Emma, Julian, Carol, Nerina, Marti, Jeff and Olivia are my main cast; I just need to figure out who else will be on the page with them.
A focal image: This is a picture relating to the story that I put in the front view panel of my notebook. It makes the notebook easy to spot (I am the Queen of Novel Notebook Planet) and it often helps me in odd ways.
An outline: I'll write a one-page synopsis first to get down the broad strokes, and then break it up into more detailed chapter summaries (I also do this when I'm pitching an idea to a client.)
A theme: All my novels have a conceptual theme of one or two words. For example, Ghost Writer's theme was survivors.
This is my process, and since it always works I stick to it; you may want to do more or less to prepare. Once I have everything put together I'll also post it online so you can see the actual prep work. Are any of you ready to commit to NaNoWriMo? Let us know in comments.
Image credit: Miiisha