How to NaNoWriMo

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How to NaNoWriMo
by jespah

Heard of NaNoWriMo (November is National Novel-Writing Month) but don't know how to get started?

Heard of NaNoWriMo (November is National Novel-Writing Month) but don't know how to get started?

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What's NaNoWriMo?

NaNoWriMo is an online/in person event all year but most activity is in November.
NaNo makes writing less isolating, with a festive/competitive atmosphere.

What are the rules?

Write 50,000 new words in November (the big event is in November but NaNo holds camps and other events all year). Words can be for one book or several. You don't need to write in English. All genres welcome including fanfiction.

You don't have to start on November 1st. But you must hit 50k words by 11:59 PM, your time, on November 30th. You don't need to finish, publish it, etc. There are no NaNo police. No one is looking over your shoulder; this is the honor system. But counting non-writing in your word count is silly. This violates the spirit of NaNo. You won't get as much out of it.

Of course you don't need NaNo to write. It's just fun. These instructions are for November but you can scale these for any time of the year!

Planning

No plan is generally a bad idea. You must write an average of 1,667 words per day. With planning, you meet word count faster. No plan means you spend time figuring out your idea. It isn't cheating to plan ahead! You can have a detailed outline.

Outlining

Use any way that works for you. Try:

• Radiating wheel
• Beat outline
• Longer outline
• Partial outline
• No outline

Radiating Wheel
Draw a circle in the center of a piece of paper. In the circle write MC (main character, or their name if there's one). Draw other circles; fill them with names or info. Draw lines connecting other circles to the MC. Along the lines, write how they relate. MC's love interest's line might say 'met at school'. Can't relate to the MC? Change the circle or the MC, or erase that extra circle.
Put those lines in a list. Don't try to get them to interrelate or put them in order. Think of more? Add it.
Get first ideas down however works for you.

Beat Outline
Order your list. Find plot holes and adjust. List items might be one chapter, less, or more. A beat is the one point you must make in a chapter. One beat might introduce a character; another might kill them off.
Characters à conflict à crisis à change
Develop characters (scene is one). MC interacts with someone. Center plot on conflict, lead to crisis; end with change.

Beat/chapter descriptions are short, like:
• Crisis
• Resolve crisis
Change order if not working.

Longer Outline
Story bible: add info like names. Keep research, important URLs. Not set in concrete but helps if you run out of ideas.
Don't like big outlines? No problem!

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