Plotting/ Structure

NaNoWriMo’s Knocking at My Door aka Time to Plan by Landra Graf

Nothing says, “Hello, Fall” like Halloween, apple cider, pumpkin treats, candy, and NaNoWriMo?

Yes, it’s around the corner. The days to October are ticking away and I’ve already encountered over half a dozen authors who’ve forgotten about the month when we all crank out a brand new, shiny story.

Let’s start out with this year has been tough. It’s going to get tougher, with the election around the corner and occurring in the early days of NaNoWriMo. We’ve got the holiday season looming with Halloween and Thanksgiving sandwiched into our writing time. Sure, maybe we’re not doing a lot of traveling, but I know the pressure of trying to make this year exciting in the face of social distancing is real. How do we combat these potential writer’s block inducing events? We plan.

One of the best ways I’ve overcome the challenge of writing is to have a plot. I’ve blogged about this before, referring to plotting like a roadmap. This time around I want to explain how plotting can break the blockage we often find ourselves assailed with come November. Writing doesn’t seem fun, but it can be.

Tip 1: Psst.. NaNoWriMo isn’t about quality it’s about quantity.

Perfection in words comes in the editing stages, and I promise there are many a fabulous course instructor with Savvy authors to help you there. To ensure those pages don’t remain wordless and you have something to edit, figuring out those parts that make the story go comes with plotting. Let’s not get hung up on how pretty the words look, focus on making a word count, just hitting those numbers you want to reach.

Tip 2: To-do List

I work best with to-do lists and a plot is essentially a big to-do list. A list of events, ideas, and actions that need to occur between characters to propel a story. When I have this in front of me, it’s a bit easier to start something flowing, to think of the next steps, the dialogue that might occur, or even the potential conflict. I’m not longer staring at a blank page with no direction. Even if I’m not feeling particularly flowery that day, I can at least write down the basics of the scene. The rest will come.

Tip 3: Use the list/plot as a chance to explores possibilities.

Since you’re putting up words, maybe it’s time to explore two or three ways a scene could go. Maybe a side character dies, instead of lives. Maybe they main characters share a kiss instead of pushing each other way. Maybe the wizard discovers a secret door. Just as there is no right way to write a book, there isn’t one way to plot. List out three or four other ideas and see where those take you. The joy in plotting, and in writing, is all the different ways a story can unfold. Use this time to explore the roads less traveled.

Bottom line, this NaNoWriMo, don’t walk in without the to-do list, the surefire way you can keep adding word count in the face of adversity and get yourself jazzed up about the shiny new idea you plan to create.


Love this? Check out Landra’s new class!

True Colors by Landra Graf

Five years ago, Rose Roberts won a Pulitzer prize—and nearly lost her life at the hands of a stalker. After severe anxiety derailed everything, she is about to lose her career and her stalker is on the loose.

Following the murders of his wife and daughter, ex-cop, Jeffrey Dixon, finds himself in need of a windfall to save his home from foreclosure. Searching for a solution, he doesn’t expect to run into the woman who made his loved ones’ killer an overnight celebrity. Or to be offered a job.

Rose, now desperate, is willing to pay whatever price, if he’ll agree to act as her bodyguard and be the subject of her next article. Without any other prospects, Jeff accepts her job offer and moves in.

Becoming emotionally entangled with a woman who wrecked his grieving process is the last thing he wants, but as weeks drag on and the threat from Rose’s stalker becomes very real, Jeff finds his protective instincts triggered. He won’t lose someone again.

As their attraction grows and their barriers drop the exposure will leave them questioning everything they hold on to.

Sometimes, the only way to see someone’s truth is to expose the things they fear most.

Buy this book!



Landra Graf is a multi-romance genre published author, and a once upon a time plotter who sought to find a better way to develop stories. A technical ...