Getting ready for NaNoWriMo? I’ve prepared a calendar with word counts and plot points for each day in November. While you don’t need to follow it exactly, this roadmap will help keep your story on track and keep you from falling into writer’s block.
NaNoWriMo Calendar: What to write every day
This roadmap is a combination of several sources.
- Jami Gold’s Story Engineering spreadsheet If you haven’t explored this website, it’s a treasure trove of great information for writers. She also has special beat sheets for romance writers.
- Story Engineering by Larry Brooks also available here
- Save the Cat by Blake Snyder
If you are planning to write more than 50,000 words, download Jami’s spreadsheet and type in your own goal. The plot points will adjust automatically. (You will have to fill in the missing scenes yourself)
Who should use this outline
This outline will work best for plot or action-oriented genre novels. If you are writing a romance, try Jami’s romance beat sheet. Literary and other character-driven may not fit this structure as well, but you can still use the plot points as they are helpful.
How to use the calendar
This calendar will provide a daily plot roadmap to your novel. Each day you will have plot goals to achieve in your writing.
- Download the calendar and read through each step
- Highlight any unfamiliar terms to research. (I will be posting all month on the plot goals for the following day, so if you’re not sure what to do, read my posts)
- Use a notebook or my planning your scene worksheet to brainstorm ideas. You can do these days in advance or five minutes before you begin writing. There’s no wrong answer. Many participants begin their planning months in advance, and some do almost nothing
If you are just getting started, don’t worry. I’ve never started November with as much as a character sketch and I’ve always finished on time (Power to the Pantsers!!!)
*A note about Prologues
Yes, people will tell you they are the devil, and I don’t have a place for them in the calendar because they are not usually part of the typical story structure outline. However, if you want to write one, DO IT!
Prologues are usually nothing more than worldbuilding/character building exercises. Since this is a draft, you should write it. It will force you to make some decisions, and give your wordcount a boost. While 99.9% of prologues will never see print, there is no reason to spur them at the draft stage.
A few points to remember before you begin:
- There is no right way to NaNoWriMo. As long are you are writing, your process is working
- You don’t have to finish the story. As long as you write 50,000 words, you qualify for the certificate and the goodies
- “Winning” is a mindset. If you accomplish your goal, you are a winner. If you are inspired to start writing again, you are a winner. If you make writing a priority for 30 days, you are a winner
Best of Luck this November
Find this article helpful? Please share it with other writers on social media. Thanks!