NaNoWriMo 2021 Prompts

A text graphic that reads: Nanowrimo | 2021 Prompts

I’ve been participating in National Novel Writing Month since 2009, and I’ve even “won” a few years, but I’ve had trouble feeling the same motivation in later years that I felt as a college student finishing her first manuscript. I talk about it more in a recent episode of the writing podcast I co-host, but I’ve been searching for a way to reclaim some of that motivation.

So this year, I’m treating it like an outlining exercise instead. My goal isn’t to come out of November with a manuscript, it’s to come out of November with enough scenes and background information to write a manuscript the rest of the year.

To help me achieve this, I’ve come up with daily prompts to lead me through plot and character development. Although they’re meant more for outling, I tried to follow the basic flow of a book, so they should also work for people who are writing a novel straight-out.

If you’re feeling a little stuck, I hope some of these will work for you, as well!

  1. Character 1 at the beginning
  2. Character 2 at the beginning
  3. Character 3 at the beginning
  4. Main characters past together
  5. Something that haunts them (individually or together)
  6. A major past event
  7. Where does Chara 1 hang out?
  8. Where does Chara 2 hang out?
  9. Where does Chara 3 hang out?
  10. Other important locations
  11. Their current connections to each other
  12. Minor character biography 1
  13. Minor character biography 2
  14. Minor character biography 3
  15. Minor character biography 4
  16. Minor character biography 5
  17. One antagonistic force/person
  18. Another antagonistic force/person
  19. Chara 1’s family
  20. Chara 2’s family
  21. Chara 3’s family
  22. What does Chara 1 think about Chara 2?
  23. What does Chara 2 think about Chara 1?
  24. History of their world/neighborhood/area of importance
  25. Chara 3 by the end
  26. Chara 2 by the end
  27. Chara 1 by the end
  28. Climatic moment/major plot beats
  29. Relationships to each other by the end
  30. The future (after the scope of the book)

About Lucy

Lucy lives in Portland, OR, and likes to write about books, anime, and relatable teens living their lives (magical or otherwise). She's a co-host on the CLAMPCAST IN WONDERLAND and WRITE PLACE/WRITE TIME podcasts.
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