Plot-tober and my guide to getting ready


Hey guys! With Nano approaching fast, and my normal projects stagnating, I’m turning my attention to prep. I’m a severe planning; even if I don’t follow everything exactly, I like to have a clue of where I’m going. Nanowrimo forums are filled to the brim with plotting and resources, but the general consensus is using the month of October to plan your baby. I’m not going to a daily bingo of “do x”, especially when I’ve done a bit of my stuff already, but I’m going to show you the rough plotting guideline I’ve given myself to get stuff done with. If this is at all helpful to you, and I really hope it is, please let me know how you go plotting and planning this way!


Week One, October 1-7th: Plot

For the first week of October, I’m going to tackle the basic plot of my story as a starting block. Some of the aspects I really want to nail down include:

  • Writing a brief synoposis so if anyone asks “what’s your story about?”, instead of me umming and ahhing and saying “well it’s really complicated a lot”, I can grab my synopsis and wave it in their face.
  • Work out the themes my story is representing. Is it about love, friendship, a greater moral victory? Is it a quest? That sort of business.
  • Work out the rough beginning, middle and end. Divide them into three sections, and acknowledge what I want to accomplish in each. What is the climax of my story, and start working out how I’m going to get there. It doesn’t matter if I’m too detailed with this; I’ll be approaching this a bit more after.


Week two, October 8-14th: Characters

I have some notes on my characters already, but I haven’t fleshed them out a lot. This is hard because I am doing a multiple POV story, jumping between chapters, so I need consistency in my characters when swapping over, so I don’t feel like it’s just the same character without switching. So a few of the goals I have for each character, for my own benefit, include:

  • One page backstory for each character. Include trivial notes on their life, beyond basic physical and personality traits. What is their family like, how does that tie into the plot.
  • Work out exactly how important they are in the plot; are they directly affecting things, or are they more of an overarching symptom/side effect of what’s going on
  • Clearly define how they connect to one another. I feel like I’m going to go full Charlie Kelly, red string style with this.
  • Be able to give them each a one or two word motive driving their actions in order to understand how they shape the story.


Week three, October 15-21: World

Oh boy, this is the bit that usually scares me the most. Again, I’m lucky I have a rough world and a map and stuff, but it still needs a lot of work, and I’m dreading this. My world is OK, like I know where the holes are and that they need to be filled, it’s just a matter of…filling them.

  • Magic. I need to know exactly WHAT my magic is, does, it’s limitations, and that sort of stuff. It’s not an all-powerful, OP magic, I based it in as much realism as a fantasy world can get, but I want to make sure there aren’t plot holes in it.
  • Fantasy creatures: I need to do some notes and outlining. I have a few minimal creatures but I need to make sure they aren’t out of place, or ridiculous.
  • Map out my literal cities/villages/kingdoms a bit more.
  • Is religion a thing? Do I want to nod in that sort of direction? I feel like even with the monarchy system, religion of some form is usually the case. Would it revolve around magic, seeing as that’s the fundamental basis of my world?
  • I know what my world looks like, but realistically, how big is it? How long does it take to get from point a to b? I’m a bit touchy about this stuff after the most recent season of Game of Thrones.
  • Is there more to my world than the particular continent I am using? Which hemisphere is it in? On that note, how do seasons work? Gonna have to do some research and read some academic resources.


Week four, October 22-30th: Preparation

So, assuming I did all that stuff during the time I designated, I should have a pretty solid idea of my world, and the plot. The final week and a bit, I’ll be doing the worst bit of all: outlining my chapters. I don’t want to be too “this has to happen here!” with outlining, but I also don’t want to be too vague. I think I’m going to write up chapter outlines for each character individually, and work out what order they go in after one another AFTER the story is written, or I’ll be too stressed trying to balance out POVS and stuff, when really, I just wanna tell my story.


October 31st: REST AND PREP

This is just as important as all the other stuff, resting is important too! I want a fresh mind and a fresh start for Nanowrimo, and with a 2k daily word goal between other things, it’s gonna be tricky. So my to do list for the 31st is:

  • Meal prep! I’ll shop and buy some fresh fruit and stuff for easy lunch and whatever, but I’ll make enough vegetable soup to go in the freezer for a month that I won’t have to stress about actually eating. Fun fact: I forget food exists a lot.
  • Although it’s basically done, add to my nano treat/goal box to keep me motivated and on track. Here’s what it looks like so far:


I have about…35 candy bars in there (one per 2000 words!) and a bath bomb for every 10,000 words finished. I also have scents in there for an oil burner, because I have to have candles going. Ikea had a special, $7 for 200, so I stocked up. I have just over half of those ready to go on my writing desk next to my treats.


  • Playlists. I’m pretty particular about music, I’m pretty sure I’m just going to throw on Swan Lake and the Four Seasons a million times this year, though.
  • Take a bath!
  • and most importantly, have an early, restful night of sleep.


I think that’s just about everything for my nano prep. How are you all going to tackle October and the scary rush for Nano? Are you plotting, or just pantsing? Are you going to eat all your snacks before then, like I’m tempted to? Let me know!

Happy writing,


Emma-Kate xoxo

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