Bookmark this blog post. You’ll need it when writer’s block hits during NaNoWriMo.
I have you covered with 30 writing prompts for every day of National Novel Writing Month.
Normally, I’m a NaNoWriMo planner. I have my chapter outlines, character sketches and plot arcs all ready to go by October 28.
This year, I have nothing. And I’m freaking out!
I swear I’m not lazy. Between blogging about National Novel Writing Month and working longer hours at my 9-to-5 (and maybe a weekend trip or two), I let the month of October slip through my hands.
So I searched the Internet for daily NaNoWriMo writing prompts—and found nothing!
If you’re in the same sticky situation I find myself in this year, have no fear. I created 30 daily prompts for National Novel Writing Month so that both you and I can keep our novels going, even if we have no clue where they’re going to go.
Before You Start Writing
These aren’t best-selling novel writing prompts. In my opinion, many of them stink.
So do first drafts.
The purpose is to inspire you to write. Stop focusing on an epic start for each day. All you need is a launching point to get to the juicy parts of your story.
If you choose to start your writing a different way, go for it. Just write!
I wrote these writing prompts for National Novel Writing Month in first person. At first I wrote them out at I/she/he, but it became too confusing to follow. If your story is in third (or even second) person, please adjust accordingly.
I also added in parentheses overarching goals following Christine Frazier’s method to keep your NaNoWriMo novel-in-progress on track day by day.
30 Daily NaNoWriMo Writing Prompts
November 1: It was a celebration planned months in advance with excitement, but I couldn’t shake the nervous tension building in my gut… (Start your story with a bittersweet event or celebration.)
November 2: I always put off this errand every day because I hate doing it so much, but it needed to be done every single day… (Give the protagonist a daily task that plays out differently than every other day.)
November 3: I took the envelope in my hands and read the contents of it aloud… (Confront your protagonist with a proposition for adventure as offered by another character. Let your protagonist weigh the pros/cons. Change your hero’s mind because of a significant event.)
November 4: I never visited this side of town, but I had questions that needed answers… (Encourage your protagonist to take a short trip to ask questions and prepare for the adventure.)
November 5: I promised my family I wouldn’t be gone long, but they cried anyways… (Force your protagonist to leave familiar setting and embark on the adventure by way of personal or mass transportation.)
November 6: The festivities were already taking place when I walked in…(Have your protagonist attend a ceremony or event that’s socially accepted by the people within the new surroundings. Introduce your protagonist to a wise character.)
November 7: “Haven’t seen you around here,” someone behind me says… (Let the protagonist meet the sidekick and face a confrontation with a bully together.)
November 8: I really thought that I was up to the task… (Put your protagonist to a test, either by questions or action. Have your protagonist fail and experience embarrassment.)
November 9: We pounded our fists on the locked door and screamed unheard pleas to be freed… (Force your protagonist and love interest to spend time together.)
November 10: It was at that moment that I was glad for all those weeks I practiced by heart out at X, Y, Z… (Write in a moment where your protagonist shows off some talent, be it athletic, mental or skillful. Tempt your protagonist to break a rule or two to get the task done.)
November 11: She/he tapped my shoulder. “I have a question for you…” (Prompt your protagonist and love interest to ask each other questions. Give them a scene where they show a vulnerable side to themselves.)
November 12: She/he was loved outwardly by most and secretly hated by all… (Create a rift between your protagonist and an authority figure that causes tension throughout the story.)
November 13: I didn’t think much of her/him until that afternoon… (Allow a minor character to rescue your protagonist from a sticky situation.)
November 14: She/he rolled up his sleeves and looked loathingly into my eyes… (Place your protagonist into a fight that arises social tensions between the characters.)
November 15: The wound was very deep and oozed fresh blood… (Allow a character heal and/or aid a friend of your protagonist.)
November 16: “Here me out on this one,” she/he says… (Let your sidekick shine by teaching or guiding your protagonist to discover the truth about both the plot and oneself.)
November 17: It was now or never to showed what I was made of… (Disappoint your protagonist by letting her/him fail at rescuing a friend.)
November 18: A twig snapped beneath my foot and her/his head turned towards me… (Play a game of cat and mouse between the protagonist and the villain or villain’s helper(s).)
November 19: We were all enjoying a delicious dinner until she/he clinked her/his glass for a toast… (Illustrate the tension building among the protagonist character and friends.)
November 20: Know that feeling you get when your palms are sticky and your stomach is in knots and your tongue sticks to the top of your mouth?… (Encourage your protagonist to kiss her/his love interest!)
November 21: It was a long shot, but I had to try something… (Provide an event where your protagonist can demonstrate her/his special skill.)
November 22: It happened so fast, I couldn’t believe what I was doing and saying… (Hinder your protagonist’s goal by forcing her/him to disarm or immobilize a friend.)
November 23: I wasn’t expecting to see her/him at the party that night… (Lower your protagonist’s guard down and allow a character to charms vital information out of your protagonist.)
November 24: It wasn’t a card I expected her/him to play… (Write a difficult situation where your protagonist barely makes it out alive if it weren’t for a major character rescuing her/him.)
November 25: It was dark and damp within the storm cellar of the mansion… (Coax your protagonist to pass the gatekeeper guarding her/his goal.)
November 26: Her/his eyes popped out when I revealed X,Y, Z from my coat pocket… (Highlight your protagonist’s special trait in an unexpected way on her/his way to the final battle.)
November 27: She/he slunk to the floor without a word or a sound… (Injure your protagonist’s sidekick so badly that your protagonist must proceed to the final battle alone.)
November 28: I stood face to face with the one I loathed most… (Set the climatic battle with the villain in motion! Reveal an unforeseen plot twist and provide backstory and/or explanation for the twist.)
November 29: The last thing I remember is a fist rushing quickly to my face before submerging in darkness and losing all sense of time… (Weaken your protagonist by having her/him knocked out. Your protagonist wakes up in hospital or safe space to learn how the protagonist won.)
November 30: I booked another one-way ticket back to where life was familiar, or where I hoped it to still be… (Welcome your protagonist back to her/his familiar setting. Let her/him discover how much she/he has changed based on his reactions to his familiar places and faces. End the story with your protagonist knowing that the threat still lingers.)