Thursday, September 7, 2017

Your 6-Week Prep Plan for NaNoWriMo

by Alycia W. Morales     @AlyciaMorales

It's nearly the middle of September, and I'm basking in all things fall. Pumpkin Spice Lattes. Cozy sweaters. Cooler mornings (and some cooler afternoons). Leaves turning all sorts of brilliant colors. NaNoWriMo...

Wait a minute! NaNoWriMo??!!!?? Is it that time already? Yes, yes it is.

Will you #NaNoWriMo ? A 6-Week Prep Plan via @AlyciaMorales {Click to Tweet}

If you haven't heard of NaNoWriMo, it stands for National Novel Writing Month, and it's held annually in November. Sign up to write the first draft of your novel in the month of November. At 50,000 words from November 1 - November 30, you're a winner!

Scared? Don't be. It's not as spooky as it seems. Just as it is with any marathon, preparation will be key. So here's a 6-Week Prep Plan for NaNoWriMo:

Week One: Meet your characters. Who are those funny people dancing around inside your head? Take week one to get to know them. Draw/Pin/Write out a character sketch. Figure out who your key players are. Protagonist. Antagonist. Hero. Villain. Now you know who you're starting with.

Week Two: Create your world. Where on earth or other world is your story taking place? Let the setting tell you something about the plot. How will your characters interact with their surroundings? What do the flowers smell like? What does the ground feel like between the characters' toes? Think about the world and Draw/Pin/Write it.

Week Three: Give your character a hard time. What issue is your character going to struggle with? What's the main conflict of the story? How will this impact the characters' lives? Start to think about your main character's arc. How will your character change throughout the novel? And who or what will trigger that change?

Week Four: Lay out your plot. Even if you're a panster, it's a good idea to have some idea of where your story is going. Especially since you only have 30 days to write it. What story do you want to tell? What story do your characters want to live out? If nothing else, at least write a paragraph about the story you'd like to tell. Like a back-cover blurb.

Week Five: Schedule your writing time. It's so easy to let life get in the way of our writing, especially as the holidays approach. Pull out your calendar and set a specific amount of time you're going to write each day. NaNoWriMo suggests you write a minimum of 1,667 words per day if you want to hit the 50,000 mark in 30 days. Let your friends and family members and any other distractions know you won't be available until you've hit your magic word count each day.

Week Six: Get ready! If you haven't already, sign up for NaNoWriMo at their site. Be sure to follow their instructions so you know how to update your word counts, find buddies, and more. At the same time, let your writer friends know you're participating. It's great to have someone who can hold you accountable to finishing your novel!

What other NaNoWriMo prep tips do you have? We'd love to hear them in the comments below!

If you'd like to be my NaNoWriMo buddy, I'm AlyciaMorales on the NaNo site. To add a buddy, go to the top right corner of the NaNoWriMo page and click on the Search button. Under search, be sure the circle before Authors is selected. Type in the name of the person you're looking for and hit return (or search). When the authors appear, scroll to find the one you're looking for and click on their name. Find the "Add as Buddy" words and click on them (right corner of author description). Your buddy should be added! :)


  1. This is super helpful, thanks!

    Lotte |

    1. You're welcome Lotte! I hope your NaNovember is hugely successful!

  2. Hullo Alycia! i'll be working on the third book in my new series - characters, setting, and plot (as much as a pantser can do) are pretty much set - and nothing less than a hard time!! this poor gal!!! thanks for a super post - looked for you but can't remember how to find new buddies...

    1. Hi Robin! Glad to see you on NaNoWriMo! I've gone in and revised my post to add instructions on how to find a buddy and add them. Thanks for pointing that out! (And I added you in the meantime.) Praying you meet your word counts! Have fun!


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