Outlining for NaNoWriMo, or How Not to Fly By the Seat of Your Pants.

Tips, Writing

I cannot pantz.

I just can’t. 2016 will be my sixth time doing NaNo, (seventh if you count the time I *tried* and *didn’t do a thing* in 2010) and every November I’ve gone into the game with some form of a plan.

It’s changed through the years. Some times it’s my general story idea or just a bunch of facts but most always it’s a sad little plot arc.

But this year I’m changing that, and I’m dragging you along for the trip!

So here is my “How Not to Fly By the Seat of Your Pants,” tutorial.



1.Gather all the troops *COUGH* notes, previous outlines, scribbles and inspiration.

If you’re anything like me you’ve spent the past few weeks and months scribbling out scene ideas, possible paths the plot could take and details on the settings, but nothing really coherent. Find them all, read them all, and try to really grasp everything you’ve wanted for this story.

2. Iron out the details you actually want.

Some of the things you wrote or thought just aren’t going to work in this book. Figure out what stays and what goes. Also at this time, figure out your setting(s) is and who your cast of characters are this time around. It’s a little different this year for me, considering I’d reusing a cast-o-characters and will only be adding on a few newbies.


Now comes the fun part. You can outline however you like. You could draw a little plot map, make little numbers on it and then fill in the slots with what happens…


But, believe me on this, those first few days you’ll wish you’d written more and you had a better idea where you’re going. That’s usually how it works out for me.

So this year, I’m planning on outline a little like Cait does from Paper Fury.

Bullet points, and lots of them. Then I’ll probably divide it up into 1st, 2nd, and 3rd act, along with which scenes/points are my inciting incident, dark night of the soul, etc etc. Then I will have my map. πŸ™‚

However you outline, you’ll just be blabbering on from beginning to end about your story. How it starts, goes, and ends.


So, are you doing NaNoWriMo? How do you plan on outlining, or… *GASP* are you going to fly by the seat of your pants?

(I commend your bravery and implore you to make some kind of a plan please save yourself.)


5 thoughts on “Outlining for NaNoWriMo, or How Not to Fly By the Seat of Your Pants.

  1. Haha, I’m pantsing XD. I can’t do anything BUT pants for the very first draft! It’s just SO much fun for me, I love it! Plus I feel like I’m killing the idea when I start out by planning and not writing. So I just don’t plan XD. But I loved this post, I hope NaNo goes well for you! (and HOW is it so close?! O_O)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I AM PLOTTING FOR ONCE! It feels so weeeird. I’m used to hardcore pantsing and doing NOTHING in preparation, but now that I have an organized notebook and folder and plotting station I feel so official. Maybe I’m turning into a plotter?? WE’LL SEE.

    Good luck on NaNo! ❀

    // katie grace
    a writer’s faith

    Liked by 1 person

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