Oct 3, 2009

Planning your 50,000 word novel

October, time to plan for the NaNoWriMo challenge.

Will you be writing a 50,000 word novel in 30 days?

It can be a bit scary. I know. This is my first time too. You are not alone.

Click here to check out the NaNoWriMo site, when you sign up you can nominate your region and go to its forum, location groups organise writing get togethers and support.

As I progress through the challenge, I'll update this spot on my planning and executing of my NaNoWriMo novel. If you're feeling discouraged or overwhelmed, you can pop in and see how I've handled the pitfalls and hurdles. And believe me, if I can do it, anyone can do.

I've heard of people who can sit down and write a novel without planning, they just let their muse take over and the words flow. I've also read that plot is not essential to a good novel, that character development can be enough to carry a narrative. If that's the kind of story you want to develop and you are happy letting your imagination wander anywhere, then bully for you.

As for me, read Jack Kerouac's On the Road and Gertrude Stein's The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas - didn't care for them. I like a plot. I like planning. I plan my planning.

October is planning time.

November is writing time.

December we will edit.

January we will talk about submitting queries, publishing and marketing.

What first?

What do I want to write about?

I didn’t know. When I sat down with pen and paper, I still didn’t know. When I searched for inspirations from old legends and myths, I didn’t know. When my 8ry old and 11yr old girls came up with their amazing fantasy plots and detailed structure, I didn’t know – and now I was cranky.

Brainstorming helps me, writing random words, ideas, using cluster maps. Alternatively you can pick a genre to start with.

A good prompt for stories is to list all the things you love, like and admire. On my list of things I really like are dogs (we participate in dog shows with our Miniature Schnauzer, which was the inspiration for my WIP novel Dog Show Detective, about a young girl who enters dog shows and solves mysteries).


Write all the things that scare or worry you. That could be the conflict in your story, even if it seems mundane, like debt. A story about a character who has to overcome extreme poverty can be a strong narrative, just check out Oliver Twist!

Once you get your word, ask questions, like – so what? Teapot. So What? Has arsenic in it. Why? Old lady is poisoning her husband of 50years. Why? She’s only just discovered his dark secret. What? He’s a monster… and so on and so on.

Or… Look at the latest technology and think about how that might change the world if taken to the extreme – will our morals be compromised? I recently read about the military robots being created that can fuel themselves on dead meat – hmm, nothing could possibly go wrong with that!

All you need for your first step is a paragraph about your story, your beginning characters, the main conflict and what your protagonist intends to do about it.

Do you want feedback? I’d love to know your plot! In the comments, put a link to your blog or write your plot out line there. If you would like to buddy me on NaNoWriMo click here.


  1. Yay! Another Nano joiner!

    You must edit quickly! It will take me a good 3 months for my Nano to be ready for submission if not substantially longer.

    I hope you have a great time and keep us up to date!

  2. Hi Rie,
    I'm new to all this 'finishing a novel' idea, so am yet to delve into the world of editing.
    But I will post here as I go so other newbies can see the process.
    Anyways, how bad can it be? (gulp), bit of stickytape and some white out - she'll be right!
    January we'll look at the methods and different approaches to editing the novel- actual process may take a bit longer ;-), and February I'll post about marketing and looking for agents, publishers etc.
    This is either going to be amazing or self-torture!

  3. Hello,

    Great to heard about your planning.
    Keep it up. Keep writing.
    It’s a matter of happiness to write here. Thanks a lot.
    I also have planning about increase our credit score.
    Commercial Title Loans is also helpful for it.
    so i am also use this term for increased my credit score.
    I think it is very great role participate in it and also some business purposes.

    Well thanks for sharing your great story with us!!!