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  • Stephanie Bourbon

How to write a novel in a month and win nanowrimo

Hello, Writers!!

This week, I'm coaching you on how to write a draft fast and complete NaNoWriMo, which is coming up in just a month.

Today is Sept 30th and this special edition is all about joining something fun and real that will get your novel written!



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If you are signed up for NaNoWriMo or in any groups for that challenge, you will learn there is now a thing called "Preptober," which is for prepping your book.

This is not my style at all.


When I first starting doing NaNoWriMo, you couldn't have any more than a title on November 1st, when we started, and I'm old school, so I never know what I'm writing until that day when I sit down.

That's just me, and it is the method I use but you can do what makes you happy as long as you finish a novel.

The five steps that I use to prepare are these.


1. Decide WHO your story is about & WHAT will happen to him or her. Example-Harry Potter (WHO) is a boy who finds out he is a wizard (WHAT). That is enough to start NaNo.

2. Create a REALISTIC schedule that includes a time to write & your daily word count.

3. Find a writing buddy.

4. Create accountability with that buddy.

5. Create a folder on your desktop AND email folders to save your work.


#1 the WHO & WHAT--the meat of your story.

The reason it's important to know who your story is about is that without that, there is no story.

Character is everything. Some writing coaches suggest knowing what happens before the character, and I disagree with that because I believe that character informs EVERYTHING--now if you have a strong premise for a story--that will inform characters, it works both ways.


Steve Kaplan does a premise exercise in his comedy writing workshop that is brilliant. I urge you to check him out writing comedy or not.


For me, to draft fast, I choose the character and what the story is going to be together.

It could be about a woman who moves to a small town after a breakup in the big city. It could be a preteen who finds out that she has magical powers.


Anything-but then once I know that for NaNo, I'm done. I don't prep further on the story because then it restricts me too much. That is what revisions are for.


I will sometimes take time to think about who the character is by doing character exercises; I find the more clear on who I'm writing about, the easier it is to get the words onto paper.

Ways you can do this are to answer those questions: favorite place in the world, fave color, what's on the top shelf of his closet, does he have parents, is he/she rich or poor, what city do they live in--etc. and another way I like to do it is to think of characters who this person might be friends with from books, movies, and TV shows.

If you are a female/woman writer or identify as one, please join my FREE FB group.


Until next week, I hope you have an amazing rest of your week!

Happy writing!

XO Stephanie


BTW I'm STEPHNEWYORK in NaNoWriMo so let's buddy up so I can cheer you on!

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