#NaNoPrep: 1 Week Left!

There’s just ONE WEEK LEFT to plan this year’s NaNoWriMo novel! Are you ready?

If the answer is “HELL NO!” and you’re freaking out at this point, here are three simple things you can do to prep for November 1.

3 – Make a list

I recently bought a copy of the official NaNoWriMo writer’s workbook, Ready, Set, Novel!, which recommends writing a “love list.” This is, quite simply, a list of all the things (and places!) that excite or inspire you. They can be anything that gets your motor running. Scribble them on a sheet of paper or in your favorite notebook, and once you’re done, pick 10 that you’d like to include in your novel. Congrats: You’re on your way!


2 – Audition some characters

Now that you’ve got some ideas for what your book might be about, let’s think about characters who will appear in your story. Will they be larger-than-life, over-the-top sorts? Or quieter, ponderous people? What kinds of weaknesses or faults do they have? What do they do for a living? Have they got any pet peeves, nervous tics, guilty pleasures, secret talents, hidden fears? Start auditioning your characters. Try interviewing them, or pick a celebrity ringer that you can use as inspiration for the way they look, talk, and move through a room.

1 – Pick a plot, any plot!

One of my favorite writing tools is a thick, orange hardcover called Plotto. It’s a strange invention, really, as it claims to be “The Master Book of All Plots.” Created by William Cook and first published in 1928, this book has tons of plots to choose from. You can flip through and point to a page at random, or browse through the different types until you find one that fits.


Alternately, Ready, Set, Novel! suggests an activity called the Plot Machine, which requires Post-It notes. You place the Beginning, Climax, and Ending on a timeline, and then start filling in the blanks with additional events until you’ve got a full plot arc from start to finish.

Planning to do NaNoWriMo?

If so, you’ll want to join my mailing list to get a free copy of my book, NaNoWriMo: A Cheater’s Guide, as well as a word tracker and weekly tips for getting that novel done!