NaNoWriMo Guide

Your complete guide to NaNoWriMo

The ultimate daily plot point guide for NaNoWriMo. Each day covers a different aspect of plotting and is matched with the word count so you are always in the right place. Use it as a companion to your writing, either as you pants your way through or as a preplanning calendar. There’s no wrong way to write.

Start with the complete overview:

Download the NaNoWriMo Plot Point Calendar

NaNoWriMo Calendar

Then, read each post for more detailed explanations of daily story goals. Even if you don’t write with a plan, you should write with goals.

Come back every day in November to see what you need for tomorrow.

The articles:

  • NanoWriMo Calendar NaNoWriMo Plot Point Calendar - Use this NaNoWriMo calendar in your preparation for this November. Use the daily word counts and matching plot points to keep your story on track ...
  • Opening Scene dos and don't-www.themanuscriptshredder.com NaNoWriMo beginners guide day 1 - The Manuscript Shredder's NaNoWriMo Beginner's Guide begins with first chapter do's and don'ts. Start your story the right way ...
  • What your opening pages must do-www.themanuscriptshredder.com Opening Chapters: NaNoWriMo day 2 - Opening chapters are more than plot. They must create the character and her world while preparing the reader for what's ahead. ...
  • Hooks vs Themes-www.themanuscriptshredder.com Hooks versus Themes NaNoWriMo day 3 - Hooks versus themes.The difference between theme and hook can be confusing. Learn what they are and why your story needs them. ...
  • Introducing the stakes-www.themanuscriptshredder.com Introducing the stakes NaNoWriMo day 4 - Stakes are the consequences you character faces. They are a critical part of your story Without them, readers won't care if your character wins ...
  • the inciting incident-www.themanuscriptshredder.com Crafting your Inciting Incident NaNoWriMo day 5 - The inciting incident is the event that forces the character to action. It is the one event that sets him on his path. Make sure yours is up to the task ...
  • The First Plot Point-www.themanuscriptshredder.com First Plot Point NaNoWriMo day 6 - The first plot point is the moment everything is laid out: the stakes, the task, and the opposition. The hero's bag is packed. Now, the journey begins. ...
  • Character Flaws-www.themanuscriptshredder.com Character Flaws NaNoWriMo day 7 - Character flaws are the elements that add realism. They add depth and dimension. Without a flaw, your character will seem flat and too perfect ...
  • Introducing your secondary characters-www.themanuscriptshredder.com Writing Secondary Characters NaNoWriMo day 8 - Are your secondary characters lazy? Make them do their jobs ...
  • Letting Characters Fail-www.themanuscriptshredder.com Letting Characters Fail NaNoWriMo day 9 - Letting characters fail The basis of a character arc is change. By letting characters fail, you will force them to move forward in their arc. If they never lose, they will never learn. Creating Character Arcs This is from the Pixar's Inside Out. If you haven’t seen this movie, watch it with your notebook in your hand. It is a perfect example of contemporary plot structure. The typical character arc has six steps Mistaken belief- Joy believes that Riley always needs to be happy Belief this tested- Sadness turns a core memory from happy to sad New information- Joy sees Sadness help Bing bong feel better New belief is tested- At the pipe, Joy begins by trying to get them both back to headquarters, but when she realizes Sadness will change the core memories, she drives Sadness away Second new information- Joy learns Riley’s happiest memory started sad New belief- Joy understands that sadness and grief are important to healing In this model the character fails twice. Why is two the magic number? It isn't. Read a dozen books, the number will vary. Notice how many times a character fails and then notice your reaction. 1 failure= change was too easy= reader dissatisfaction 5+= does this guy ever learn?= reader annoyance. This number only includes failures that are part of the character arc. This does not include the subplots or the inciting incident. Why? Usually, the failure at the inciting incident was not a result of planning. It is an involuntary, desperate response. Readers expect the character to fail here. Otherwise, the story would never happen. It also does not include subplots because these are wild cards. Do you keep an eye on how many times your character fails in the subplots because your reader is still counting. Failure is progress Effective failure causes self-reflection. Failure needs to be a result of the character’s flaw, otherwise, the antagonistic forces will seem random. This will also take away character agency. If the character's failure is not the result of his flaw then he cannot overcome those obstacles through personal growth. The NaNoWriMo hint of adding zombies or blowing something up may add to your wordcount, but it won’t help your story make meaningful progress. Readers like characters who cause their own problems. Characters need to have agency in their own stories. When your character fails it needs to cause him to reflect on his personal flaw. Your character will recognize a disparity between his view of the world and reality. At first, he will not understand why these two are not in sync. As he learns new information, he will begin to change his view to match reality. A character who never fails is a character who never learns Effective character arcs are based in failure. This failure becomes the driving force behind the character’s transformation, making their arcs dynamic and more interesting. When your characters lose, your readers win. Enjoy this article? Get the book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07DDLVPZW ...
  • Show,Don't Tell-www.themanuscriptshredder.com Show, Don’t Tell NaNoWriMo day 10 - “Show, don’t tell” is one of the most commonly spouted pieces of advice authors hear. One simple question will fix this common problem ...
  • first pinch point-www.themanuscriptshredder.com The First Pinch Point NaNoWriMo day 11 - The character lie is the reason your character can’t get what he wants. Challenge that lie with the first pinch point. ...
  • the character lie fights back-www.themanuscriptshredder.com Character Lie NaNoWriMo Day 12 - You’ve just challenged your character lie, now determine how the lie fights back. A breakdown of character responses by plot structure and hero type. ...
  • The False New Normal-www.themanuscriptshredder.com The False New Normal NaNoWriMo day 13 - Your character’s lie has survived its first battle, but it took some damage. The next steps in the transformation arc begin with the false new normal. ...
  • recommitment scene-www.themanuscriptshredder.com Recommitment to the Quest NaNoWriMo day 14 - Recommitment is the midpoint of your novel. The hero must decide to abandon his safe but uncomfortable existence or continue his journey. ...
  • protagonist gets proactive-www.themanuscriptshredder.com The Protagonist Gets Proactive NaNoWriMo day 15 - Your main character is ready to make her battle plans. Whether these battle plans are literal or figurative, make sure they reflect the character arc. ...
  • Increasing tension in transition scenes-www.themanuscriptshredder.com Keeping low action scenes interesting NaNoWriMo day 16 - Low action scenes don't have to be boing. Tips for keeping the forward momentum in your story even during your low action scenes. ...
  • writing action scenes-www.themanuscriptshredder.com Writing Action Scenes NaNoWriMo day 17 - Writing actions scenes might seem intimidating, but by following these seven easy tips, your action scenes can be the most effective in your novel ...
  • Fight Scenes tips and tricks-www.themanuscriptshredder.com Writing Fight Scenes NaNoWriMo day 18 - Guidelines and helpful hints for writing fight scenes. ...
  • second pinch point-www.themanuscriptshredder.com Second Pinch Point NaNoWriMo day 19 - The second pinch point is the beginning of the collapse. Whatever you decide to do to ruin your hero’s plan, make it a powerful one. ...
  • prepping for the dark moment-www.themanuscriptshredder.com New Belief Crumbles NaNoWriMo day 20 - Today, the main character has failed his test. His character arc is in ruins. In the sequel to the second plot point, the new belief crumbles. ...
  • dark moment-www.themanuscriptshredder.com All Hope is Lost NaNoWriMo day 21 - The character arc is in shambles. Now, the character is floundering. Ruled by the original lie, the hero can no longer move forward. All hope is lost. ...
  • The second plot point-www.themanuscriptshredder.com The Second Plot Point NaNoWriMo day 22 - The second plot point is the final piece of information the character needs to complete his arc and finally solve his problem ...
  • No Victory Without Sacrifice-www.themanuscriptshredder.com No Victory Without Sacrifice NaNoWriMo day 23 - No victory without sacrifice is an optional plot point intended to add emotional depth to the character journey. Some tips to make it feel more meaningful. ...
  • must have scenes before the final battle-www.themanuscriptshredder.com Planning for the Final Battle NaNoWriMo day 24 - While your hero is planning for the final battle she needs to tie up loose ends. Now is the time to mend bridges and reassemble the team. ...
  • Increasing Tension before the final battle-www.themanuscriptshredder.com Creating Anticipation NaNoWriMo day 25 - This scene is about creating anticipation. Pull your readers in by reminding them what’s at stake and why they need to know how this all will end. ...
  • Plotting your final battle-www.themanuscriptshredder.com The Final Battle Part 1 NaNoWriMo day 26 - The fight has just begun, but your character’s journey is nearly over. Now everything is in place. This time your hero is ready for the final battle part 1 ...
  • Final Battle Clichés to avoid-www.themanuscriptshredder.com The Final Battle part 2 NaNoWriMo day 27 - The final battle part 2 is the last step before the climax. Don’t ruin your ending by falling into cliché and lazy solutions ...
  • The Climactic Scene-www.themanuscriptshredder.com Writing the Climactic Scene NaNoWriMo day 28 - The climactic scene is the hero’s last confrontation with the antagonist and her personal lie. Tips for getting the most out of this scene ...
  • The falling action-www.themanuscriptshredder.com The Falling Action NaNoWriMo day 29 - Too many writers rush through the falling action. The main battle may be over, but there is still plenty to do. Tips for writing the falling action ...
  • The New Normal-www.themanuscriptshredder.com The New Normal NaNoWriMo day 30 - The new normal is a short scene that shows what the hero’s life will be like from now on. Without this scene, the story will feel incomplete and rushed ...

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Ultimate NanoWrimo Plot Point Calendar