• T. Mark Mangum

Doing 2020, National Novel Writing Month, November Challange.

This month is November. What that means for me this year like several years in the past is I am going to write 50,000 words at least, towards a single Novel, before the end of November.

This is what National Novel Writing Month is. A challenge, an opportunity, to flex your creative muscles and push through. NaNoWirMo is most definitely an exercise that can help you be a better writer.

You are supposed to start from scratch and write the 50,000 words complete from Zero. But Preparation is appropriate.

My long time friend, and Creative Writing Professor, suggested making an outline and breaking it up by using the 30 days of November as a guide. We used a couple of Hero’s Journey Diagrams he likes and created the day by day outline, (see the pics below).

After plugging the pieces of the pie in, if I have the story in my head I will plugin titles of chapters, location names, and character names and hints. This will help spur the story on as I write, and hopefully compel the tale forward towards its end state, 50,000 words of 1st draft. This is what my outline looks like the day before NaNoWirMo starts.

I am using a program called Scrivener. Here is my search for articles in Medium about Scrivener. Scrivener is a product of Literature & Latte, there are many articles here on Medium about the pros or cons of Scrivener.

It doesn’t matter what word processing tool you use to write in. You can create the outline in word the prep work is the same, and the benefit is the same as well.

As I write this it is 5:19 AM on Halloween day, I am also doing more outline work creating Character Sketches, Location notes, and sipping coffee contemplating the story.

My friend John the purist of Singleton says all this prep work is sacrilege, “you can’t count the outline,” he proclaims!

“Then don’t,” I tell him.

Again my goal is to do things that help me become a better writer. The exercise toward 50,000 words in 30 days and the prep work are exercises to that end. I do not intend to announce from on high, “I have won the competition!” But when I do, I will quietly smile.

It is not too late to set a goal, do some prep work, and write 50,000 words in 30 days. You could still even use the community of NaNoWirMo to help move you forward. Check it out. Get started today. Your story awaits.


Copyright: T. Mark Mangum, 2020. All rights reserved. No part of my story may be copied, reprinted, or published without my written consent.

T. Mark Mangum, is the product of the 60s and 70s, his imagination, wonder, thoughts, and ponderings, emboldened by Star Trek, Star Wars, Conan the Barbarian, and The Hobbit. He loves a good story and hopes you will love reading his stories. Veteran, Father, TTRPG, and Board Game Junkie. He spent 20 years in the United States Army, another 10 working for the government, before realizing he should write.


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