National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)


It's been a couple years since I first found about NaNoWriMo, and I've never been able to catch this global event in time to participate. Finally, I am right on time to be a part of this annual month of writing that takes place every November. The goal is to write each day of the month in order to reach around 50,000 words by the end of the event. Most people embark upon this journey in hopes of completing the first draft of their novel. It is a wonderful opportunity to join in on such a powerful collective energy and jumpstart your writing goals. National Novel Writing Month is a non-profit organization that connects writers from around the world to net of support, inspiration and guidance. I think it's the idea of knowing that there will be many others starting fresh on the first of November that really boosts encouragement. Everyone is in this together, even though they are working on separate projects. I've decided to join in this year, as it aligns perfectly with some goals and deadlines I have set for myself, current projects and my brand.

So far, I've visited the NaNoWriMo website and created a profile. It was there I found links to the inspiring introductory webinar they streamed a couple days ago. I took some notes on the webinar and will be including them in this post. If you have ever dreamed of writing a novel, or embarking on any solid writing project, this is the moment for you. Now is the time. It's currently what they call PREPTOBER, where you spend the month of October getting completely prepared in all aspects for the journey in November. I also watched a video on from a published NaNo Alumna where she shares tips on getting ready in October. Those notes will also be included in this post, as well as embeds and links to the videos I've been absorbing so far. If you are interested in joining this journey, potentially having a first draft of your dream complete by the end of November, or just want to gather some writing momentum and inspiration, I highly advise you to go to the NaNoWriMo website and sign up, it's free. So let's get into these notes, I'm all about preparation. Also, if you decide to create an account, add me as a writing buddy! My NaNoWriMo username is M.Theo. See you there...


Join some of the folks at NaNoWriMo HQ for a webcast designed to prepare you for writing a novel this November! We'll be pulling some noveling, outlining, and prepping prompts and activities from tried-and-true NaNo resources, as well as making up some fun and crazy new ones.

NaNoWriMo Prep/Webinar Notes 

What Inspires Me To Write?

10/3/2017 11:56 Pm

I am inspired to write when I feel as though I mustenter into a world that exists within my own mind. My mind feels infinite, so naturally I believe that there are an infinite amount of story possibilities to exist in the realms I create. I like to vacation in these places mentally. I want to make a realm that can be traveled to from here. A realm full of adventure, and lessons that will translate back to the home land. Perhaps it is here where I will go through some trials so that I can be better prepared for my actual life. My inspiration comes from the desire to overcome obstacles in a journey-like sense, and document that victory in a fantastical manner that aims to teach, illuminate and inspire. The obstacles faced in this realm will serve as a guide for the real world.

Other sources of inspiration (from webinar):

1.       Walking after writing sessions.

2.       Driving; using voice memos.

3.       Senses: Sound and taste/feelings you get from eating something good. Creating analogies from those experiences.

4.       Music: Jazz and other non-lyrical/instrumental genres.

5.       Favorite Books: Keep nearby, open randomly to catch the rhythm of a sentence or flow of dialogue.

6.       Nature

7.       Stretching Your Brain: Doing, learning and/or experiencing new things.


10/4/2017 8:14 Am

NaNo Webinar Points (Continued)

·         The things we appreciate as a reader, are also the things we appreciate as a writer.

·         Write the things you actually like to read, not the things you think you should be reading.

·         Write for yourself, with your true voice, as it will attract the tribe that will connect to it.


Identify The Things That Make Your Favorite Novels Tick & Things You Dislike In Novels

Favorite Things

1.       Fantastical elements in real settings.

2.       Character depth and backstory.

3.       Complicated antagonists.

4.       Interesting side characters that I love almost more than the main characters.

5.       Mayhem and ever-growing chaos.

Annoying Things

1.       Stories that start up slowly, too much exposition.

2.       Unnecessary wording and sentence structure.

3.       Stories that start with a mother or close relative dying from illness or car crash.

4.       When the protagonist doesn’t have enough small victories during their journey.


Other favorites vs annoying things (from webinar)

·         (Dislikes) Using big words for the sake of sounding smart.

·         Useless love triangles.

·         Second person narration.

·         Too many beautiful people.


·         (Likes) Multiple perspectives of the same story.

·         Natural sounding dialogue; takes practice.

·         Putting ordinary people in situations that make them extraordinary.

·         Humor, including an air of lightness.

·         When your heartbreaks over real life struggles.

·         When beautiful people are insecure.


Split screen note taking makes me happy. Baby sleep. Hubby getting ready for bed. I had tea. All was well. 

Split screen note taking makes me happy. Baby sleep. Hubby getting ready for bed. I had tea. All was well. 

How to turn writing prep into an actual novel?


1.       Planners: Plans many details of the novels structure.

2.       Pantsers: Does very little planning in advance, spontaneous.

3.       Plantsers: A mix of both planning and spontaneous writing.

*Download free Workbook pdf, found on NaNo website (for all aged writers).


Chart novel structure as a rollercoaster (pg.32 of workbook) Determine outline/plot points.

(Also practice by charting the shape of a favorite novel.)

My Example Novel Structure: Divergent by Veronica Roth ***Beware Spoilers***

1.       Exposition (Background/Set up): Beatrice Prior lives in a futuristic society. All people are separated into one of five factions according to their personality. She will be allowed to soon choose her own faction at the Choosing Ceremony.

2.       Inciting Incident: Beatrice finds out from her test that she is divergent, a blend of three of factions, but can’t tell anyone or else she will be in danger.

3.       Rising Action: Beatrice, now Tris, goes into the Dauntless faction and works to prove herself there through a series of difficult physical challenges. She becomes involved with her instructor, called Four.

4.       Climax: She completes Dauntless initiation but then her and her faction are injected with a serum that causes them to attack Abnegation, her home faction. Since Tris is divergent, she doesn’t get affected by the serum. She tries to protect them but is captured by the Erudite faction.

5.       Falling Action: She escapes execution and returns back to the Dauntless compound with her dad and other help. They help free the Dauntless from the serum’s mind control, including Four.

6.       Resolution: Tris and her allies know this is only the beginning of the fight against Erudite. They leave the Dauntless compound to travel to the Amity compound for protection.


More Outlining Tips/Ideas

·         The rollercoaster (story structure/plot points) could use more hills, loopty loops, separate tracks.

·         Use flash cards to help keep track of separate ideas. Create a deck of ideas and plot points.

·         Read Stephen King’s book on writing, gives an alternative perspective on story structure.


Writing Prompt Exercise

“Write about your ability to be able to talk to an alien colony near earth and what you do with this ability.” -Christina A.

I have an ability which allows me to communicate with a nearby alien colony. I am able to receive information from them in the form of musical note combinations and chord progressions. I then take these melodies and send them through the airwaves on earth. The purpose of spreading these waves is to help people around the world become peaceful and inspired. Peace and productivity are the main staples of this alien colony and they feel that if they can gain us as useful allies, then we can create a large enough energy shield that will protect us from future danger from other approaching alien colonies. People on earth have a large amount of creative energy that will prove to be very useful in the larger scheme of things. It is my job to encourage this power among us all through the form of musical inspiration.

Additional Ideas on Alien Communication (from webinar)

·         Developing trust with the aliens which then leads to the development of communication.

NaNoWriMo To Do

1.       Sign up for National Novel Writing Month [X]

2.       Watch Webinar [X]

3.       Download free workbook [X]

4.       Go to website and announce novel on profile.

5.       Begin preparation and novel planning.

6.       Attend next webcast on October 20th.

7.       Begin writing November 1st.


Ten PREPTOBER Tips for National Novel Writing Month (Notes from Kristen Martin)

1.       Create a dedicated notebook/bullet journal

·         PREPTOBER checklist

·         NaNo outline

·         Title ideas

·         Plot and subplot ideas

·         Character archetypes

*NaNoWriMo Bullet Journal Inspiration Video*

2.       Sign up for NaNoWriMo and create a profile

·         NaNoWriMo Website

·         Free to sign up

·         Add writing buddies

3.       Brainstorm and write down story ideas.

4.       Determine genre, point of view and tense.

5.       Create character profiles

·         Who are your characters, what are their backgrounds and what their relationships to one another are.

6.       Determine the rules of your world

·         Does magic exist?

·         What type of creatures appear in your story?

·         What does the society look like?

·         Who holds the power?

7.       Outline plots and subplots

·         Expanding on the story idea.

8.       Write synopsis or act 1-2-3 outline

·         Write backwards. If you know the ending of the story, it can be easier to write.

·         In the act 3 outline, try writing the ending in one sentence. Next write what events happen in act 2 that lead up to that ending. Then try to bridge the gap to how certain events could lead to act 2 which lead to the ending in act 3.

9.       Gather writing inspiration

·         Make Pinterest boards and music writing playlists ahead of time.

·         Atmosphere prep: scented candles, tea supply etc..

10.   Choose rewards for word count milestones

·         Maintains motivation, keeps you on track with word count goals.

·         Ex. Reward yourself every 10,000 words. Rewards increase as the numbers increase.

·         Keeps writing fun and exciting.

Thanks for reading!