For those of you who might not know, I regularly participate in the worldwide movement known as National Novel Writing Month. The challenge: write 50,000 words in 30 days. The rules: no starting the story before Nov. 1, take care of your health before your novel, and write like the wind.

Now that I’ve done the same thing three years in a row, I think it’s safe to say it is a system of sorts. My NaNo prep involves finishing the novel I’m working on – frequently with large bursts of writing right up until the night of October 31st – and then launching into the NaNo story with nothing but my wits and a sketchy outline I’ve been playing with for a month or two.

The novel I finished: my second magi story, what I titled The Becoming of Elizabeth Blackmore.

The novel I started: The King’s Philosopher – a prequel to a previous NaNo project I titled The Queen’s Assassin.

My outline is usually based off of something like this:

Novel Structure

For a shorter novel, like one of my Magi stories, I can put one line in at each of the points. But this NaNo project, like its sequel, are not short. They run around 150K, so each of those points becomes three different lines instead – just so I can keep track of the more complicated plots that fill out a story of that length.

It’s from Pinterest. What did you expect? Pinterest saved me. Everyone has a different process, and I respect that. This is the one that works for me.

On the 31st, I finished out the novel-in-project at 54K and penned my outline into my bullet journal. I started The King’s Philosopher on the 1st. I am now keeping up with my NaNo-suggested word count.

If you’re interested in learning more about my rollicking adventure with assassins and pirates, click on over to my novel on the website.