Posted by: Kathy Temean | October 27, 2011

15 Tips to Prepare for NaNoWriMo’s 50,000 Words

Brian A Klems wrote an article for Writer’s Digest about the two times he took the NaNoWriMo writing challenge to write a 50,000 word novel during the 30 days of November.  Here are three things he said:

1. It was unbelievably fun.
2. Being that productive gave me the shot of adrenaline I needed to write more.
3. I was terribly unprepared both times and ended up with 50,000 words of useless material.

I have never participated in NaNoWriMo, because I am always under so many deadlines, that I didn’t want to  inflict another one  on me.  But if you think about it, it is only 1667 words a day.  That is like writing one chapter each day, so it is doable and it would be great to get a new first draft completed.  Downside is – It’s November – Holidays approaching and tons of things are flying at you screaming, “You need to do this!”  But I’m starting to think with a little planning, it might be possible to do; end up with something worth keeping and still keep your sanity.

Here are  my ideas:

1.  Pick a theme for your new story.

2.  Decide on your genre – fantasy, sci-fi, historical, adventure, contemporary, etc.

3.  Think about the setting.  Where will your story take place? 

4.  Who is your main character?

5.  What is unique about your protagonist?

6.  Do a quick character sketch.  Describe physical characteristics and personality traits.

7.  What other characters will be needed to tell your story?  Friends, family, teachers, etc.

8.  What does your protagonist want?

9.  What stands in the way? What obstacles does your MC have to overcome to achieve what they want?

10.  What steps does your MC take to get what he/she wants?

11.  Consider some scenes that might show the above.

12.  Think sub-plot. What could be going on in your protagonist life that is not connected to the main plot, but effects the main character and the decisions they make?

13.  What are the turning points in the plot.

14.  On a piece of paper layout a map of the journey your MC will take to get to the end of the story.

15.  Now look at your calendar and layout a time plan. Saying you are going to write 1667 words a day is not going to do it if you are not going to be home on Thanksgiving.

Remember even if you plan, things will happen that will throw you off your game.  Just keep adjusting to try to stay on track.   Most likely, you will not have time to go back and edit as you go along.  I find that I want to read what I wrote the day before in order to get back into the story and then I start reworking sentences, etc.  Before I know it an hour or two has ticked by without anything new added to the story.  That is a pleasure you don’t have with NaNoWriMo.  Just stay with your story map and time map you created before you started.  There will be lots of time in the months that follow to revise.

Click here to read Brian A Klems article or to look at books on this novel in 30 days exercise.

Would love to hear your stories & tips if you have taken the challenge in the past.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Makes you wonder why, when they first initiated this, they chose November, one of the busiest, most hectic and pressure-filled times of year for SO many people! Great tips, Kathy 🙂


  2. what a wonderful ‘organizer’ for a start to writing (painting and life too!) thanks K…. enjoy you fall weekend…c


  3. I agree, Donna Marie, a hideous month for a writing marathon. But we all do it anyway. Think how much we’d get written if this happened in, say, August?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: