Tag Archives: NaNoWriMo Prep

Character-Based Doodling Prompts By Lisa Currie

Posted by November 17th, 2014

Lisa Currie

Midway into NaNoWriMo 2014? Or, stuck on your novel-in-progress or novel-to-be and feeling like your characters need a little more oomph? Today we offer another set of fun doodling prompts for character development from author and master doodler Lisa Currie, whose new book ME, YOU, US is just out from Perigee Books. You can download and print these exclusive prompts by clicking on the hyperlinked words in the text below. Share yours with us on social media! 


Welcome to the fourth installment of doodling prompts for writers, adapted from my books, ME, YOU, US and THE SCRIBBLE DIARY. And as the holidays get closer, a little hint: the books make great gifts for writer and non-writer friends alike! In the first doodle prompt installment post, we established how doodling can help develop your book. If you click on the link, you’ll be able to download four doodle prompts that you can use to start fleshing out your character(s). The second installment was an in-depth online profile prompt. The last doodle prompt focused on plot points and obstacles in the way of your protagonist’s goal(s). Continue reading

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Doodling Prompts for NaNoWriMo! By Lisa Currie

Posted by November 5th, 2014

ME, YOU, US by Lisa CurrieReady to start NaNoWriMo 2014Fleshing out characters for your novel-in-progress or novel-to-be? Today we offer another set of fun doodling prompts for character development from author and master doodler Lisa Currie, whose new book ME, YOU, US is just out from Perigee Books. You can download and print these exclusive prompts by clicking on the hyperlinked words in the text below. Share yours with us on social media! 


In the first post, we established the power and popularity of doodling, identifying famous politicians, businessmen, and creative types who doodled, from George Washington to Bill Gates, Michelangelo to Larry David.  More relevant to you, well-regarded authors throughout history have turned to doodling and scribble-thoughts to better imagine characters and give them more depth, outline story arc, and visualize settings and context. Continue reading

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Preparing for NaNoWriMo – The Five-Line Outline by Julie Artz

Posted by October 21st, 2014

Preparing for NaNoWriMoNaNoWriMo doesn’t leave much room for preparation. Try the following five-line outline method to help you survive the insanity that is NaNoWriMo without completely flying by the seat of your pants. 


Step One: Create your logline

The first line of the outline is the logline. It covers the main character, what s/he wants (goal), what stands in his or her way (obstacles), and what will happen if s/he doesn’t reach her goal (stakes). Two great articles to guide you are Writing a Killer Logline and Writing Killer Loglines.

Here’s the logline from my 2013 NaNoWriMo project:

When lightning fries the village well pumps, Elías must redeem himself in the eyes of both Elders and family by journeying through the ruins of Andalucía to find help before their water supply runs out.

Writing this summary of your story before you begin will help focus your idea enough to get started. Don’t worry if you tweak it as you work—this logline has been through multiple revisions in the past year! Continue reading

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How to Use the Snowflake Method to Prepare for NaNoWriMo

Posted by October 1st, 2014

DJ Lutz

NaNoWriMo is only one month away! October is the perfect time to start outlining your novel before the mad rush of writing begins in November. Book Country member D.J. Lutz shares how using the Snowflake Method can help you make NaNoWriMo a success!


Hi, my name is DJ, and I am a recovering pants’er.

What do I mean by pants’er? Well, in late October, 2008 I discovered NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and decided I could scribble out a 50,000 word first draft by the end of November. No prep, no editing, just flat out stream of consciousness clacking on the keyboard. Fueled by venti Americanos with extra shots of espresso, I would go on to write my first ever novel PECOS BILL AND THE CURSED GOLD by the seat of my pants.

I finished well over the requisite 50k word count. Of course, the novel had no discernable structure other than “ramble,” which I don’t think counts. It was, however, fun to write and the experience taught me about the time management and discipline professional writers need to be successful. But as a coherent novel it lacked. Everything. It was time to research the craft of writing. Continue reading

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NaNoWriMo Finish Line

Posted by November 30th, 2013

Congratulations to everyone who participated in NaNoWriMo 2013! We’re so proud of each of you! Whether you finished all 50,000 words or only got a couple of chapters down, we’re happy that you made time for writing this month.

Congratulations to NaNoWriMo 2013 participants and finishers.

Congratulations to NaNoWriMo 2013 participants and finishers.

Book Country sponsored NaNoWriMo because our missions align — we both work to support writers. If you’ve joined us recently, welcome to Book Country! We’re looking forward to reading your manuscript and helping you on your journey as a writer. Check out our tips on how to use Book Country.

As you start to revise and publish your NaNoWriMo novels in the upcoming months, please tell us! We want to showcase NaNoWrimo books and feature them on Book Country. Email us once you’ve uploaded it and tell us the title.

As most of you know, our very own Community & Engagement Manager, Lucy Silag, participated in NaNoWriMo. She’s been writing about her experience on the Penguin USA blog. I’ve really loved hearing about how she balanced a full day job with huge writing goals.

I also found the conversations on the discussion boards inspiring, especially the daily check-ins. Stay tuned! We’re creating an “I Wrote A Novel, Now What?” forum to keep the conversation going, as well as lots of tips from publishing experts on what to do as your manuscript takes shape from a very fast first draft to a polished novel ready for publication.

As you think about publication, I encourage you to consider Book Country if you’re self-publishing. In addition to the support of this community, we also have some special offers just for NaNoWriMo participants.

To celebrate 30 days of hard work, take 30% off Book Country’s Landmark publishing package through December 31, 2013 with code NANO. We’ll also feature all novels in the bookstore.

And here’s one for the winners only:

To celebrate your achievement, we want to help spread the word on your book. BookStubs are like gift cards for your eBook – give them out to reviewers, bloggers, and fans to get your eBook into the physical world. Order BookStubs a la carte or through Book Country publishing packages and we’ll double your order through December 31, 2013.  (And, yes, of course you can redeem this offer alongside your 30% discount on the Landmark package for being a NaNoWriMo participant. Great job!)

If you’ve met a writer who just finished NaNoWriMo and who isn’t a Book Country member yet, invite them to join us. We’d love to share our writing and publishing community with them. And give them a hug. Or a drink. Or both. They deserve it. Congratulations to all of the Wrimos! The whole Book Country team is really proud of you.

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Editing During NaNoWriMo: A Writer’s Perspective

Posted by November 6th, 2013

editing_while_writingThis is a guest post by Book Country fantasy writer and NaNoWriMo Montreal regional coordinator RJ Blain. RJ has been around the block when it comes to marathon writing, so we invited her to get her perspective on the how to stay on top of one’s writing goals in November.

In this piece she covers a NaNoWriMo classic: “Should I be editing during NaNoWriMo?” ~NG


One of the most common pieces of advice during NaNoWriMo is to never edit while drafting. Don’t look back, always walk forward. Don’t do this, don’t do that.

Well, screw that nonsense. There, I said it. Sometimes, editing is a valuable part of the drafting process. But if you’re the type of writer who needs to edit as you draft, you have a lot of work ahead of you.

Continue reading

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NaNoWriMo Prep: Use the Book Country NaNoWriMo 2013 Motivational Calendar to Keep Track of Your Progress!

Posted by October 28th, 2013

NaNoWriMo 2013 is only four days away!

As part of my NaNoWriMo Prep, I created this calendar to help me plan and keep track of my progress. You can download a printer-friendly version here.

NaNoWriMo Prep Calendar from Book Country

What’s the best way to use your Book Country NaNoWriMo Calendar?

Whatever way will keep you motivated!

Continue reading

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NaNoWriMo Prep: Plotting Your WIP with Index Cards

Posted by October 27th, 2013

As you may know, Book Country is a proud sponsor of NaNoWriMo 2013!

NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. Every November, hundreds of thousands of writers from around the world get together to cheer each other on as they write 50,000 words in just 30 days.

This is my first year taking part in NaNoWriMo, and I am very exited.

I spent today doing a little NaNoWriMo prep, inspired by an outlining idea I saw on a Book Country discussion thread called “How do you break out of writer’s block?” (If there is one thing I am terrified of about NaNoWriMo, it is that I would get the dreaded writer’s block at some point in November!)

Member and screenwriter Bret Plate offered up a strategy for outlining scenes ahead of time, so that you won’t get stuck when you want (or need!) to keep writing:

“As a screenwriter for many years, I was trained to plot everything out very carefully on 3X5 cards before I started writing.  It’s a way of making sure you don’t go down a rabbit hole and end up in China when your story is set in Kansas.  For a script, it’s (approximately) [120] cards — 30 cards/scenes for ACT I;  60 cards/scenes for ACT II;  30 for ACT III.”

I shared this idea with Nevena, and she tells me that this is a famous screenwriters’ trick, borrowed from the classic screenwriting guide SAVE THE CAT! by Blake Snyder.

I particularly loved this idea because while it’s common sense that a screenwriter would plan scene-by-scene, it’s hard to remember to do that in fiction. We think in terms of chapters, or the overall events of a story, and what information we need to convey when. But if we outline a list of ~90 scenes, it encourages us to write in scene rather than in summary (i.e. “Show not tell”). And that’s a great place to start, because we’ll be thinking in specifics, using sensory detail, and really be focusing on helping the reader to be there in the action of the story with us.

I’m too shy to show you the index cards I made using Bret’s SAVE THE CAT! method for my own WIP, but I did put together a set of example cards using the book EMMA by Jane Austen (since I’ve taught this book in a Creative Writing Workshop, I know it well enough to be able to parse it scene by scene pretty easily).

Bret’s advice was to start with a basic description of the scene, then fill in notes about anything else you know about it. I organized my cards for EMMA by describing the scene, making a list of some details about the setting or what’s happening, then a list of “objectives”–the things I want to make sure are clear by the end of the scene.

Act 1 Postcard detail

Continue reading

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