My NaNoWriMo Novel

  • Commit to writing a novel

    • On the left, add writing milestones you want to achieve on your way to finishing your project. Pro tip: Think about when you want to finish this writing project and the 3-4 big things you want to accomplish between now and then.

    • Writing tip: Set a timer for 5 minutes and write without stopping. No editing, no judging. Write here...
    • Break down your first milestone into smaller, more actionable tasks. Pro tip: You're more likely to make progress if your tasks take an hour or less to finish.

    • If you feel good about completing this task... Then you got this! Make sure to check it off when you're done. Feeling not so ready to start the task above? No worries. Think: Before I do __, I'd like to _____. Write here...
  • Make time for a writing a novel

    • Review my timeline by clicking on 'My Timeline' above the title of this milestone

    • You can explore your timeline by toggling back and forth between your timeline view of milestones to the milestone view which contain tasks for each milestone.
    • Click on the expansion arrow below this task to see a writing space under this task

    • Each task has its own writing area which will contain guidance (which you can delete) and a space to write notes, outlines or thoughts.
    • Set my intention

    • intention (n.) — why am I writing a novel? Refer to this throughout your writing journey to keep yourself motivated. Write my intention here...
    • Choose a topic I want to write about

    • Make sure you can stand it for 6-12 months (the time it usually takes to write a novel)
    • Brainstorm ideas for a novel based on the story or topic

    • Brainstorming tip: Set a timer for 5 minutes and list out possibilities. No judgement here. Here, we'll throw in one to start: "Fiery purple dragon sailors." Your turn...
    • Identify my writing workspace at home or in another location

    • Where have I done my best writing? Write here...
    • Identify local writing groups

    • Take some time to research and list some good candidates. This isn't necessary, but it's a good way to keep yourself inspired and accountable. Write here...
    • Identify an accountability partner

    • Who's the Person to help keep me motivated throughout my novel writing journey?
    • What rewards I will give myself when I hit big novel milestones?

    • Be kind to yourself. And it's always good to look forward to things. Write here...
  • Figure out a novel-length idea

    • What is central dramatic question my novel will answer?

    • (e.g., Is life after death possible?) Or something not quite as heavy... But knowing this will set you up for success.
    • Based on the answer to my central question, write a one sentence summary of my novel

    • Frame this as my character's journey toward answering the central question.
    • In what Point of View (POV) do I plan to write my story?

    • Third-person and first-person points of view are the most popular.
    • In what tense do I plan to write my story?

    • Past tense is the most popular.
    • Consider character summary

    • Who is my primary character? What do they want, more than anything? What is my character’s motivation for getting what they want? What or who stands in the way of getting what they want? Why does the antagonist or antagonistic force want to prevent my character from getting what they want? What happens if my character does not get what they want, or achieve their goal?
    • Consider my setting

    • Where does my story take place? When does my story take place? Present, past, future? How does the setting impact my character and their journey?
  • Novel outline done

    • Act I - The Journey Begins

    • Where does the story begin? What is the inciting incident? This is the concrete event or occurrence that sets my character on his or her journey - either by force or by choice. When does my character commit to pursuing their journey? What is the first step on that journey?
    • Act II - The Journey and Characters Face Setbacks

    • What major impediment do I introduce that now stands in the way of my character advancing in their journey? What setback occurs because of the introduction of this impediment? How does my character continue to pursue their goals despite this setback? How do they change their approach? What decision does my character make that sets about the road to the climax?
    • Act III - The Journey Reaches its Climax

    • What is the immediate reaction to my character's decision or action that sets the road toward the story's climax? What is the climax? Where does my antagonist or antagonistic force make their last-ditch effort to prevent my character from reaching their goal? Does my character prevail? If so, how? If not, why? What does my character learn from the events, decisions and outcomes of the climax? Did my character achieve what they’d hoped to achieve? How have they changed? Has their journey answered the central question I wrote during the novel's planning phase?
    • Consider this scene template to use as you map out your plot

    • Where does the scene take place? Why? What characters are present in the scene? What does the primary POV character want in this scene? What prevents them from getting it? What concrete event or decision happens to commence the scene? What is the immediate reaction to that event or decision? What final action happens that reveals something about the character(s) or journey and connects the reader to the next scene? (This can be a setback, a new question, information revealed, or victory won that keeps the story moving forward.)
  • 1,667 words written

    • Let's do this! Start strong, set a timer, and write my first day's word count

    • Consider timer intervals of 30 or 40 minutes. And remember to take breaks!
    • How long did it take me to write 1667 words?

    • Knowing this could help you make enough time in the days to come.
  • 3,333 words written

    • Reread draft so far

    • Is there anything you need to jot down to remind yourself for future writing? Are there changes to be made on your outline at this point?
  • 11,669 words written

    • Re-evaluate outline

    • Make sure you fill out your outline with more details, fix any discrepancies and find an ending by this point.
  • 25,000 words DONE

    • Revisit my initial intention

    • If I made one, does it need to be updated? If I haven't, would it motivate me to make one now?
    • Celebrate the half way point with a reward

    • Refer back to your rewards you listed out in a previous milestone. Take a break and congratulate yourself for getting halfway.
  • 33,340 words written

  • 41,675 words written

  • Finish line: 50,000 words DONE

    • *Woo-hoo*—I made it! Take a moment to share the news with my friends, family, and peers. This is a big deal and I should be proud of my accomplishment!

  • Celebrate!

    • Take a moment to appreciate how much you've written!

    • Refer to my list of rewards I brainstormed during the planning phase—consider choosing a few to enjoy!

    • Brainstorming tip: Set a timer for 5 minutes and list out possibilities. No judgement here. Here, we'll throw in one to start: "Fiery purple dragon sailors." Your turn...
  • Reflect on my experience

    • 1st draft Retrospective

    • How do I feel? What would I like to do with what I've accomplished so far? What went poorly? What went well?
    • Brainstorm my next steps for this project

    • Do you want to do a second draft? What do you need to revise/edit? Do you want to publish this? Do you want to share it for feedback?
  • Next Steps

    • Build dates into a calendar for other revisions or additional work required to finish my novel

    • Join or start a novel critique group

    • Take 5 minutes and just free-write whatever comes to mind for what you want out of a group.
    • Set dates in my calendar for sharing, revising and editing work

    • Editing tip: Editing can sometimes be the worst. Do yourself a favor and break it down and spread it out. Maybe sprinkle in some rewards for yourself for editing. List out small sections of things you need to edit here and then add them as tasks! Write here...
    • Do I need to spell check my novel?

    • Is my novel formatted according to Standard Manuscript Format?

    • http://www.shunn.net/format/novel.html