Best Free Resources For Last Minute Nanowrimo Outlining

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Nanowrimo is just around the corner! Less than two weeks away actually and I haven’t even started outlining my story yet!

So what, you may ask? Well, I prefer to have a basic structure for a story planned out before I just sit down and start writing. It helps me to know where I’m going and will ensure that I hit that 50,000 word goal in 30 days!

Why have I procrastinated? Several reasons… the first being that it’s hard! Some people write effortlessly and 50k is a drop in the bucket, but not for me! So I know there are going to be some long days ahead and while it is rewarding to finish, getting there is a major sacrifice.

This will be my third year participating in Nanowrimo and I won the previous two years. So I now have two manuscripts that need to be revised and edited. I intended to revise one of those novels during Nano this year, but I just decided last week to give in to this new idea that keeps tugging at the back of my mind.

With all that said, I really need to get my crap together. Here are some of the resources I found and plan to use immediately!

Day-by-Day NaNoWriMo Outline: Your 30-Day Cheatsheet by Better Novel Project

For those who don’t want to outline too much and would rather fly by the seat of their pants. This is also a really useful tool to consult when you have writers block or need another scene idea. This cheatsheet gives you a prompt each day of November and by the time the 30th comes around you will have written 30 major scenes!

Bonus: If the original cheatsheet isn’t enough for you already, there is also a supplemental cheatsheet, Day-by-Day NaNoWriMo Outline: Characters & Themes Cheatsheet. This one is focused on character and theme! Add these two together and you’ll have no problem coming up with a story.

How To Use Plot Formulas by Eva Deverell

Plot formulas are a super easy way to get started on an outline and this post has everything you need to learn about the different types, how to use them, and yes – another cheatsheet! Eva took the time to thoroughly breakdown 11 plot formulas! Seriously, this post is a wealth of knowledge.

Bonus: has so many resources for writes that you could get lost in there for days! Don’t do that now! We must stay focused on the task at hand. But when you do get the time, make sure to look around the site and take advantage of all the wonderful worksheets, productivity pages, and even an adorable printable Novel In A Month Notebook to use during Nanowrimo.

6 Tasks You’ll Love Yourself for Checking Off Your NaNo Pre-Writing List by Helping Writers Become Authers

This is absolutely where I will be camping out the next couple of weeks to get my story whipped into shape! There are several pre-writing exercises with focuses ranging from character development to setting. She then goes on to break down plot points and even scene structure!

Bonus: If you have a little more time I definitely suggest checking out K.M. Weiland’s books Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success, Outlining Your Novel Workbook: Step-by-Step Exercises for Planning Your Best Book, or the Outlining Your Novel Box Set which contains both the book and the workbook in Kindle version.

Leave a comment and let me know if you end up using any of these wonderful resources or I’d love to hear about your favorite planning resources too!
  • Aaron


    The pre-writing checklist is perfect. I wish I’d had this to use with my classes last year. They’d have actually had some more compelling conflict in their stories. It is super hard keeping up with the pace of Nanowrimo. I’m really keen to peruse the first cheat sheet and see what I can apply to my normal writing days. Thanks again for sharing some incredibly useful content. How’d it go for you this year?

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