NaNoWriMo Writing Preparation

Posted by on Oct 13, 2014 in NaNoWriMo, Writing | 1 comment

NaNoWriMo Writing Preparation


Days, that is. Until NaNoWriMo.


That’s plenty of time. At least that’s what I tell myself to keep from going crazy over my procrastination. The fact of the matter is, 19 days really isn’t a very long time to plan out the novel that you will be writing during November.

Though it may feel super far away, as a seasoned NaNo veteran, I advise all pansters and plotters to prepare now. Prepare now while you still have your wits about you. Prepare now while you’re not awake at midnight wondering whether you should just light your laptop on fire or stick it out just a few more days. NaNoWriMo victory can be yours.

NaNoWriMo banner




Do Your Stretches

All sports players warm up before they play, right? Writing isn’t any different. One of the biggest hurtles I have to overcome during NaNoWriMo is writing around 2,000 words a day if I am not used to it. So start now. Start writing 2,000 words a day. If you’re not able to now, after a few weeks of practice (or warm-up) 2K will feel normal. Get your fingers and your brain sprint-ready with writing warm ups. If you’re not sure what to write about, use any one of our Pen & Muse Monday Blues Away writing prompts or if you’re into horror, The Midnight Society often posts writing prompts with pictures on their Twitter account. There are a billion more if you’re interested under the hashtag #writeprompt on Twitter.

Plan Your Route

As a regular panster on just about everything in my life, it can feel weird to plan. Believe me, I get it. But even I don’t go on a roadtrip without at least packing a map. So take your time now and map out your book.

If you’re a plotter, break out your Post-Its now and start story-boarding (or if you’re KJ this means you will be making lists).

If you’re a panster like me, plan loosely. Nail down characters, genre, basic subject matter, and if you dare, start to map out your story.

For me, this will involve selecting pieces of my story like cities on a map. I may not know how I’m going to get there, but I know a few places that I want to head to. I’m writing a Blovel called NIGHT DARES (blovel = novel written on your blog. Post about that what that is here AND a freebie)  and though I don’t know all the things that will happen, I’ll give you a sample of how I planned. I chose a title, pitch, and general idea of a few things that will happen. This is what my planning doc looked like.

Title: Night Dares <- Chose a title

Pitch: A group of kids sneak out at night and dare each other to do stupid and dangerous things. <- Chose a quick elevator pitch to use for when I need to describe my blovel or if people ask about it.

I prefer to let my story tell itself so I didn’t map out everything that would happen. But I did jot down the following note in my phone when I decided to write it:

First installment: Someone gets dared. They don’t want to. Elements of love. Creepy. Group is diverse.

Just by jotting down sentence fragments, I was able to come up with my chapter one or first installment that you can read here. I didn’t exactly plan. There’s not really a beginning middle or end that I planned out. It was more like I had a few ideas that I let simmer.

Do Your Homework

School is back in session my friends. Take this time to research those little things that you’ve been meaning to! Like, the difference between Em dashes and ellipses, or How to Write a Kissy Scene, or one of the other million topics on writing over at Pen & Muse or on twitter under #writetips.

We also have a ton of freebies for people that you can use to plan your novel. Check out our NaNoWriMo story planner here or our Get To Know Your Character here, or a fabulous story arc planner from Eddie Louise. Here’s an editing worksheet checklist as well for when you’re finished!

You have time to do your homework on your novel – don’t waste it! Come November 1st, you’ll regret that you didn’t plan better.

Are you doing NaNoWriMo? What are you doing to plan or prepare? Let me know in the comments below!

Jolene Haley, Jolene Haley, @JoleneHaley


One Comment

  1. While I query agents for my YA novel, I want to use NaNoWriMo to get as far as I can into a MG project that’s been percolating in my mind for the past few months. A prescription mix-up results in the MC’s 80-yr-old grandmother gaining superpowers.


  1. NaNoWriMo - A Few Of Our Favorite Things - @PenandMuse | @PenandMuse - […] & Muse has a few tips on how to prepare  and we even have a freebie for you to download…

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