NaNoWriMo and Prep for Pantsers

So you are prepping for NaNo and you are a discovery writer (some call pantser), and you are wondering how you can prep a novel. Cause prepping is for outliners right? Stephen King doesn’t do much prep, why should you?

Those are some excellent questions.

For my writing, I do a type of discovery writing where I plan plot points or what I like to call beat points. These are cool scenes or important points I want to get across during the course of a novel. It might be a fight scene or an emotional point in the story.

I usually will write these down and sort them into some type of order. Sometimes I plan to write multiple interlocking stories all weaved together. These I may do per point of view character in a large chunk, then shuffle them together later once they are all done.

As a discovery writer, the main way to be successful in NaNo for most people is the prep. Create your cast of characters, even if you’re unsure of you are going to use them or not. Create a setting. People need places to sit and eat. Write about those places.

If you have an antagonist you are unsure about, write a short clip of him. You can also do the back story of your main character as well. Especially if you need to understand her. With my stories, sometimes its important to write a one thousand word short about there childhood. It doesn’t go into the novel, however, but knowing what the character went through is important.

Being only October 20th, with time still, there is time to plan and to prep. There might not be time later. Use the time wisely.

If you like what you are reading and wish to support me in my endeavours, please sign up for my newsletter, visit my Amazon Author Page and purchase one of my books. Or buy me a coffee. Your help and support are much appreciated.


Suppose for a second, I have convinced you to write a novel for NaNoWriMo. For those tuning in, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. It is a challenge where you write 50 thousand words in thirty days.

The rules of NaNoWriMo, states that it counts the story only. Outlines, character sheets, diagrams. They don’t count for your total word count. This is also able to be done before November, in October.

No matter if you Outline or Discovery Write, the way to be successful in writing for NaNo is in the prep. Preparing to write the story is how many people keep the quantity up for the length of time.

The Prep

I start my story with my idea. Having a set idea pushes you forward. The idea should be thought thoroughly through with different ideas on different conflicts, tensions, and emotions. The more the idea is flushed out, allows for a better shot of being successful for NaNo.

For me, what I do is I have my novel planned. I’m not a “Discovery Writer” and not an “Outliner.” I do what I have dubbed “Sign-Post-Outlining.” I discovery write to set points in the story. This allows me to have a plan, yet being able to have the freedom to see where the story takes me.

The way to NaNo success is the prep. Plan your story. Plan until you think you can’t plan any longer. The more you do, the more of a chance of success.

So for all of those who want to write a novel for NaNoWriMo. Prep your story. Plan it through.

If you like what you are reading and wish to support me in my endeavours, please sign up for my newsletter, visit my Amazon Author Page and purchase one of my books. Or buy me a coffee. Your help and support are much appreciated.

Outline vs Discovery Writing: The Battle Continues

It is time to enter the battle. The epic battle between Outliners and Discovery Writers.

Both sides are frothing at the mouth and ready to fight it out. Ink will fly. Paper will ripe.

Okay that metaphor died on arrival.

My thoughts on Outliners and Discovery writers. Notice that I called it Discovery Writing and not Pantsers. I find that the term Pantsers doesn’t do the writing method justice. I think that it is a little bit of a low blow in the epic fight.

Well. It makes you think that you have no idea what you are doing. That you are just winging it and have no idea what you are doing. That your inability to want to create an outline means that you are somehow incompetent in writing.

The discovery writers, however, don’t like to feel confined in an outline. They don’t want to miss the spontaniousness that comes with discovery writing.

What does this mean for me and my opinion in this issue? I see the good in both sides of the argument.

Outliners like to plan there stories. They go into the griddy details on what needs to happen and when. They look into the little pieces of info that a discovery writer may miss until the 2nd or 3rd draft. The are better at writing more complicated stories that involve multiple viewpoints or time frames.

Discovery Writers enjoy a certain spice in the stories that they write. A well written discovery written story feels more natural and tends to flow better. Discovery written books tend to have less view point characters or time frames.

They both have issues and the issues with the methods need to be mentioned too.

Outlined stories can be stale and the characters may have a motivational problems. It is usually when the story makes a left when the outline goes right. Or that the outline says that a character must do something that the written story doesn’t allow for.

The problems with discovery written books is simple. Plot holes. As the author doesn’t have a plan on what is happening, there can be un-foreshadowed scenes, and plot holes through out the story. Discovery written stories tend to need more revisions that there counterpart.

So what do I do?

It depends on the story. I do both.

I will leave a pause for the reader to freak out at the political statement.



I write both. as it depends on the story. I have written some where I have done complete outlines to them. I have written others where I Discovery Wrote it. I have done some where I have gotten part way through a Discovery Written book to discover that I had gotten lost and I need to outline my way out of the mess that I was in.

What was better? It depends.

The Outlined one was a collaboration with my 6 yr old and we did an outline as it is his story that I am writing. He just have the grammar of a six year old.

The Discovery written one was a NaNoWriMo challenge that I didn’t have enough time to get an outline done, but I had a fairly good idea on where I was going. The one that I needed to outline my way out of it was that I was writing a book, then I decided that the backstory was just as entertaining as the story and needed to be part of the story.

My conclusion. Don’t worry about how you write the book. Just write it. Decide how you want to write it and get those words on a page. getting word count every day is much more important than worrying about how you are writing it.

Until next time.

Nathan Pedde