National Novel Plotting Month(s) – NaNoPlotMo

Posted On Oct 10 2013 by


I’ve had enough.

As much as I love National Novel Writers Month (NaNoWriMo) in November, we seem to have a problem. Many of you…and you know who you are…don’t do a thing in advance of November other than dreaming up a cool idea or character in your fuzzy little heads. Let’s stop this. Right now.

To prove I’m not alone in my quest, check out this article (along with response from Donald Maass) over at Writer Unboxed.

I apologize for the late start. And here’s why: For every day you spend writing your novel, you should have spent at least two in planning and plotting. Yes, I hear the pansters screaming their protests. But for those of us who just don’t have time to rewrite 80,000 words five or six times, please stay with me. In fact, pansters, you stick around, too. There are different levels of plotting. Some of us require at least two bedroom walls filled with notecards. The panster may only need a spiral bound notebook (and not even college ruled).


So here’s what we’re going to do. September and October are hereby claimed as National Novel Plotting Months. Or NaNoPlotMo. My wife claims that writer’s fail with acronyms. But I think that one rocks. And she’s never been in the Navy, so she has no idea…

I highly recommend the two books on the right of the screen by KM Weiland and Stanley Williams. Either one by itself will get you on track to a well structured novel.

With the time we’ve got left, I’m going to encourage you to have at least a basic outline complete before attempting NaNoWriMo. I’ll even go so far as to say this: if you don’t have what you’d consider a workable plot and character development complete by Halloween, don’t even participate in NaNoWriMo. Why waste precious time just to hit a word count when those words will never, ever see publication?

Let’s Roll!

Okay. Time’s a wastin’. Go back to my post on Monday dealing with premise. Remember, Premise is the concept with a character, goals, and conflict.


Your idea: A huge shark terrorizes a small town.

Concept: The sherrif of a small New England town battles against a giant shark.

Premise: A small town sherrif who is terrified of water must battle a giant shark that is feeding off beach goers during the peak of tourist season. (Note the irony with the “terrified of water”).

So there’s day one. And it should take you a while to nail this down. It’s the backbone of your story in one line. Your elevator pitch. Tomorrow, we’ll talk about the Moral Premise. The Moral Premise will be your guide for the main story line, as well as every subplot and character. It’s what will make every one of those 50,000 words count.

If you’d like feedback on your premise, drop it in the comments. If not, I’ll see you tomorrow.

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Last Updated on: October 10th, 2013 at 11:31 am, by Ron

Written by Ron

Just about everything I believe has been shaped by the written word. But books don't force a belief; they stir the imagination so that you, the reader, eventually draw your own conclusions. We grow richer in spirit when we read, deeper in our understanding of the universe and our role in it. That's why I read. That's why I write. To offer you a bit of myself. Come along on my journey, won't you? There's plenty of room.