The Redhead’s Guide to PLANNING your Nano Project

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Do not fear, the redhead is here!

to tell you exactly what to do and exactly how to do it

If you have wondered upon this post, and are wondering:

How the heck am I supposed to plan my novel?

Well then, my dear, you have come to the right place.

you see, planning can either bring pleasure, or it can be a complete and absolute flop of 0 fun.  

I’m actually finished with planning my novel for the time being, and you have enough time to finish too,  before November first!

People are freaking dramatic!

They make planning seem like a torturous and looong, drawn out process.

When really, it’s just like 10-20 pages out of your notebook!

You see, I like minimal planning, but just enough to pull your novel off.

This is MY planning journal, it’s from Target and I found it under my bed a few days agao and basically said, “Heck, this will be my planning journal.”


But you can pretty much use WHATEVER you have on hand.  It doesn’t matter!  However idk, it might just be me, but I love working with pretty stationary and such.

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Planning your characters!

I developed a formula for everything that is essential to know about your little charries.


  • basic profile (age, full name, etc. like what would be on their driver’s license)
  • What is the worst thing in their lives?
  • What is the best thing in their lives?
  • What are their Major flaws?
  • What are they most afraid of?
  • Important background info?
  • What would they give their life for?
  • What is your character reluctant to tell people about?
  • Do they have a job?
  • Any hobbies?
  • What would completely break them?
  • How many friends do they have? (includes close pets)
  • How many friends do they want?
  • What would they make a public scene about?
  • What do they pretend or try to care about?


you don’t need to know whether or not they like their steak cooked rare, or that they absolutely detest eggplants.

That kind of thing is something that can be developed while writing the book, it’s more of a spur of the moment decision.

But the questions above reveal the important stuff, the deep dark stuff.

And what you need to do is:

  • write down all the questions on a piece of paper and leave a few lines between all of them
  • answer them in a few sentences or more if needed
  • use the answers for your plot/story!

Honestly, I hate to say this, but all those 100 question character questionnaires out there?  I personally think they’re a waste of time.  

You don’t need to ask your characters thousands of questions.  You just need to know their internal feeling and thoughts.

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Character arcs

Guys I literally made an actual arc in my notebook to demonstrate CHARACTER ARCS.

Is that original?  idk.  But anyways, it looks like this:



Here’s the character arc chart KEY:

  1. Character has flaw, behavior shaped by it
  2. something happens to deepen flaw
  3. this makes character work hard to hide flaw
  4. flaw creates internal and external change
  5. attempt to resolve, ends in complete disaster
  6. causes character to think deeply
  7. allows character to become better person
  8. a new trait, happiness

you can repeat this many times in one book too!

What you need to do with this information:

  • figure out character’s actions based on key
  • draw out arc in notebook for pretty visual
  • do this for all major characters, and perhaps side characters

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Important information

ok so basically, I wanted to have a reference page or 5 just in case I need to see some writing tips.  I got all these from a ton of sources, but I copied it down so here you go:


Body language


  • balling fists
  • clenched teeth
  • shaking finger in face
  • crossing arms
  • clenched lips
  • pointing fingers



  • rub back of neck
  • self hugging
  • crossed arms


  • touching nose quickly
  • rubbing eyes


  • exposed palms
  • legs open
  • leaning forward

Closed Conversation

  • hands in pockets
  • limbs crossed
  • sitting back

how to torture readers when characters die

  • leave goals unfinished
  • relationship with other character
  • struggle against death
  • don’t describe funeral in detail
  • animal looks for dead character
  • normally strong character cries

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Index cards chapters

So if you want to plan out your chapters, use index cards!


put the main plot pieces in bullet points on the front of the card, and you can know what to write for each chapter!

Yes I feel sooo aesthetic with my colorful highlighters.

This really helps me with the vision of my novel because I feel like chapters and how the story is structured will be the most important part.

I also have an UNHEALTHY amount of index cards.  Probably more than one single human could possibly need.  Whatever.

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So that was my guide to minimal planning!

I hope you guys enjoyed it and maybe it helped you with planning out your novel and stuff!

Now for a special treat!


Here, have some donuts!




Haha, no.  I already ate them all.  Sorry ’bout it.  XD 😛

I meant updates!  Updates are your treat!

So!  I came up with a few title ideas for my novel:

  • Turn the Pain Into Power
  • Turn The Fear Into Power
  • I’m Everything you can’t control

I am an decisive little ginger haired author, and I just CANNOT possibly decide which I would rather have, so I shall be enlisting YOU to choose for me.

No I’m not using you.  

Why would you say that.  

No that’s not what I’m doing.  

Anyways, please vote for whichever one you think suits it best according to my previous post!


On another note, Twila was in a cute position yesterday so I took a ton of pictures of her, and a few of them were actually decent, like this one.  heart_eyes


And then there’s this one…


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  1. I really enjoyed this post! It’s cool to see how others are preparing for NaNo. I like your planning ideas, particularly using an actual arc for character arcs. The second Twila picture is awesome!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a super helpful post! I’m not apart of Nano but I have been wanting to try writing a book so this is great. What?!? You didn’t save a doughnut for me?!? Noooooooooo!!!!!! LOL jk 😉 Awwww Twila!
    – Katie 🙂


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Nano is helpful to get you motivated to finish that first draft. 🙂 Good luck! ❤ hahah sorry about it. 😛 😛
      yes twila is an interesting creature… XD


  3. Love all of these ideas! I have only written short stories so far, so I haven’t gotten into this much detail, but I always plan the major conflict and resolution. I loved all of these ideas and I would use them if/when I ever write a book.
    As far as your books title, I like your ideas, but I think they are a little long. Maybe you could just use Pain=Power or something like that. You can do whatever you want of course, but that’s my opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. this is amazing, you’re a lifesaver. i just picked a story for my project and have been getting my brother to help me with world building. it’s not going well.

    i think “i’m everything you can’t control” is greAT. 10/10 would buy it just because of the title.

    xo loren

    Liked by 1 person

  5. For the title, I was thinking, maybe shorten it to “From Pain to Power” or just “Pain to Power” or “From Fearful to Ferocious”
    I think shorter titles help convey the feeling without blocking the reader’s mind while they are contemplating the story. 🙂
    That’s just my opinion, though.

    Liked by 3 people

    Personally, I’m a huge fan of one word titles. How about just “Power”. Or “Pain”. But that sounds kinda dark.
    And I am todes doing that index cards thing. My story is so long and complex asdfghjkl just thinking about it makes meh brain hurt. But it’s actually a story! Hey!

    Liked by 1 person

      hmm I think I’m leaning toward a 5 word title… but that’s just my opinion lol. XD hahaha, dark is good! (in some cases lol) Yes, they dfeinitely helped with sorting out the order of the novel! Good luck! 😛

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I literally have been thinking this week and researching different planning things for NaNo and I opened my reader to see this post. It was so great! 🙂 This was SO SO SO helpful, I can’t wait to get planning.
    -Rose ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Wow, this was such a cool post! I’ve been working on my characters for a novel I want to write, so this was really helpful!
    To plan my characters, I use an app called Character Planner. (What an original name, right? 😂) Just wanted to throw that out there. I love this post!!!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. You’re very welcome!
        It has a bunch of questions to get to know your characters, like something always carried, weakness, strength/talent, things like that. You can also plan books, locations, worlds, scenes, and items on it! It’s really cool and helpful.


  9. Ooh, this post was AWESOME! I love seeing how other people plot their novels. And le GASP. CHARACTER ARCS. I both love them and loathe them. ARE THEY TREATING YOU WELL? Or are they being mean to you like they were to me? 😡


    … just kidding. Just kidding. XD



  10. OH I LOVE THIS POST SO MUCH. I am not really doing NaNo this year, but this is so useful, need to bookmark it for future reference, I love all of your tips here so much. Thank you!! ❤


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