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Rated: E · Assignment · Activity · #2232231
NaNoPrep Assignments
 
STATIC
2020 Prep Calendar  (E)
Daily writing assignments to help you develop your novel.
#2232096 by Brandiwyn🎶


ABBREVIATED RULES:
For full Prep rules refer to "October NaNoWriMo Prep Challenge" .

*Checkr* Sign up and log your first assignment by the end of Oct. 3rd.
*Checkr* Spend at least 15 minutes on each assignment (no max.)
*Checkr* You are never required to link your work. You're on the honor system.
*Checkr* Don't go more than 72 hours between logging a completed assignments.

THE CALENDAR:
Click each assignment for detailed instructions.

2020 NOTE:
I haven't had time to rearrange the order of assignments with detailed instructions below. This is the order of assignments for 2020.

10/1 - What if?
10/2 - Premise
10/3 - Protagonist Background Story
10/4 - Freebie Day
10/5 - Protagonist Profile
10/6 - Beginning (Where does your story start?)
10/7 - Climax (Where is the story going?)
10/8 - Rising Action (How does the story get there?)
10/9 - Outline Revision #1
10/10 - Antagonist Background Story
10/11 - Freebie Day
10/12 - Antagonist Profile
10/13 - Dramatis Personae
10/14 - Theme
10/15 - Freestyle Brainstorm, World Building or Research
10/16 - Outline Revision #2
10/17 - Setting Description
10/18 - Freebie Day
10/19 - Settings List
10/20 - Cultural Setting
10/21 - Definitions List
10/22 - Minor Character Profiles
10/23 - Outline Revision #3
10/24 - Plot Background Story
10/25 - Freebie Day
10/26 - Complications
10/27 - Literary Devices
10/28 - Freestyle Brainstorm, World Building or Research
10/29 - Market Definition and Narrative Voice Synopsis
10/30 - Protagonist Interview
10/31 - Premise Revision
11/1 - NaNoWriMo Begins!

Oct. 01: - Plot: What If? ▼

Every good story starts with a 'what if'. What if a young boy discovers he's a wizard? What if a girl discovers a world hidden inside her wardrobe? What if there was a cemetery where pets came back to life if they were buried there? What if dinosaurs were real again?

In this exercise, imagine your story and your main character(s). Who is(are) the character(s)? Why do we care about them? What happens to them, and why is it a problem? (If it's not a problem, it's just life, not a story. *Wink*)

Spend at least 15 minutes imagining all the possibilities in your story. Make a list of every possible 'what if' you can think of. Nothing is off limits here - let your brain go.

*** STILL NEED A STORY IDEA? Try the writing tools at the bottom of the calendar. *Down*

Oct. 02: - Plot: Premise ▼

Now that you've brainstormed the general story idea, let's identify some story elements:
(1) Setting(s). Where does your story take place?
(2) Protagonist(s). Who is(are) your main character(s)?
(2b) Flaw(s). What is(are) the protagonist's major flaw(s)?
(2c) Goal(s). What does(d) the protagonist(s) want (or want to avoid)?
(3) Conflict(s). What's keeping them from their goal(s)?
(4) Antagonist(s). Who or what is creating the conflict(s)?

Just for fun: Write a provocative one-sentence description of your story.
Example: "A young, mistreated orphan discovers he is a wizard and must face the evil villain Voldemort to fulfill his destiny."

*** Wikipedia's definition of Narrative Conflict

Oct. 03: - General: Theme ▼

(1) Theme. What is the theme (see below) or moral of the story?
(2) Resolution. Brainstorm ways you could resolve the conflict(s) within the confines of the theme. You are not required to identify a chosen resolution from your list of possibilities yet, so really think outside the box! Anything goes.

NOTE: This list of universal themes might give you some ideas, but don't let it box you in. Feel free to add your own.

Oct. 04: - Character: Protagonist Profile ▼

Draft a profile of your protagonist. Include detailed information such as name, age, physical attributes, occupation, education, culture, religion, family, relationship status, personality, likes, dislikes, strengths, weakness, motivations and desires. Use Google Images to find an image of your character. The point of this exercise is for you to get to know your character inside and out before you write your novel. If you don't know your character, how can you expect it of your readers? Flesh out your pre-story character in detail. Keep in mind that your protagonist will grow in some way during your story. For more serious character profilers, here is are two optional, very extensive templates: "Character Interview / Profile Sheet" and "(Another, Very) In-Depth Character Profile" . Also, here is a "Traits List" to draw from.


Oct. 05: - CONTEST ROUND: Protagonist Background Story ▼

Write a story about your protagonist that takes place outside of your novel. Make your readers relate to him or her in such a way that we would be devastated if he or she were to experience conflict (which, ultimately, sometime in November, he/she will.) The object of the contest is to make your judges root for your protagonist! Simply put: the character we like best wins. If your protagonist is a drug dealer or someone similarly "unlikeable" (a.k.a, an "anti-hero"), never fear! I love Vlad Taltos, the professional assassin. You can make us love your character, too.

*Contest Round entries may be any rating. Submit your ITEM or ENTRY number by 1200 noon WDC time on Sunday to compete. WDC time is New York City time and can be found at the top of the IM Console. If you miss this deadline or choose not to compete, you must still log the assignment complete (without linking your work) for the grand prize, per the standard Prep guidelines.

Oct. 06: - FREEBIE DAY ▼

Relax or catch up.


*TreeFall**TreeFall2**Treefall3**TreeFall**TreeFall2**Treefall3**TreeFall**TreeFall2**Treefall3**TreeFall**TreeFall2**Treefall3*

Oct. 07: - Plot: Beginning (Where does your story start?) ▼

(1) Describe your protagonist's life in the beginning ("Ordinary World" or "Stasis") of the story. Brainstorm ways you could establish normality through action and dialog to avoid boring your reader.
(2) Describe the inciting incident or trigger ("Call to Adventure") that prompts your protagonist(s) to embark on this story's journey (whether literal or metaphorical) and face the conflict. This incident could be large and obvious like a death or disaster, or it could be seemingly insignificant, such as an offhand comment by another character.

Oct. 08: - Plot: Climax (Where is the story going?) ▼

Where is your story going? Describe the climax, the point at which everything changes and the tension of the primary conflict is finally resolved. Use the "What If" brainstorming exercise to create a list of possibilities, remembering to consider the growth of / change in your main character(s) as a result of this event. The climax can be as hidden and seemingly tiny as that moment when your character finally makes that decision they've been dreading or avoiding for fifteen chapters, or it can be as huge and obvious as an exploding planet. Sometimes, the climax is a little hard to pin down. Was it the moment Ender won his game? Or was it the moment he realized the moving images on his screen were not a simulation, not the game he thought it was, and that he had just personally wiped out an entire alien race?

Oct. 09: - Plot: Rising Action (How does the story get there?) ▼

Review your notes from the "Premise" and "Beginning" plot exercises, and tweak the conflict(s) and inciting incident as needed before proceeding with the "Rising Action" plot exercise, as follows:

(1) Describe any initial refusals on the part of your protagonist(s) to face the conflict.
(2) Describe the moment when your protagonist(s) makes the choice to face the conflict.
(3) Describe the moment when your protagonist(s) crosses the point of no return and cannot change their mind.
(4) Fill in some of the blanks: How will your characters get from the point of no return to the climax?

Oct. 10: - Plot: Outline Revision #1 ▼

(1) Select a desired outlining strategy from the list below.
(2) Review your plot elements thus far and organize them into your outline.
(3) Flesh out your outline by adding more details.

Outlining Strategies
*Bullet* A traditional outline format with bullet points, numbers/letters, or chapters.
*Bullet* Index cards (paper or electronic) which can be easily shuffled to change scene order later.
*Bullet* The Snowflake Method.
*Bullet* Use one of the following story models as a fill-in-the-blank outline template:
*Bullet* The Five-Point Story Structure.
*Bullet* The Eight-Point Story Structure.
*Bullet* The Hero's Journey Story Structure.
*Bullet* Any other appropriate model.

Oct. 11: - Character: Antagonist Profile ▼

Draft a profile of the antagonist(s) you identified in the "Premise" assignment. If your antagonist is a situation rather than a person, choose another minor (but significant) character to profile.

Further clarification:
*Bullet* Newsletter Article: "When The Bad Guy Isn't a Person"
*Bullet* "ANTAGONIST (Re: A LOT of confusing things)"

Oct. 12: - CONTEST ROUND: Antagonist Background Story ▼

Write a story about your antagonist that takes place outside of your novel. The object of the contest is to make your judges understand and empathize with the antagonist's motivations.

If your antagonist is a situation rather than a person, write a background story about that. The Tom Hanks movie "Cast Away" famously features only one character (unless you count Wilson), and his antagonist is loneliness. Could you personify loneliness? Why does loneliness exist? What motivates it? How would a lack of loneliness affect survival of the human race? How did it drive main character Nolan to survive for years alone on a deserted island? Loneliness has a job to do. Make us believe it's a valid one.

*Contest Round entries may be any rating. Submit your ITEM or ENTRY number by 1200 noon WDC time on Sunday to compete. WDC time is New York City time and can be found at the top of the IM Console. If you miss this deadline or choose not to compete, you must still log the assignment complete (without linking your work) for the grand prize, per the standard Prep guidelines.

Oct. 13: - FREEBIE DAY ▼

Relax or catch up.


*TreeFall**TreeFall2**Treefall3**TreeFall**TreeFall2**Treefall3**TreeFall**TreeFall2**Treefall3**TreeFall**TreeFall2**Treefall3*

Oct. 14: - General: Freestyle Brainstorm, World Building or Research ▼

Spend at least fifteen minutes clarifying things through "What If" brainstorming, mind mapping (see resources at the bottom of the calendar), freestyle writing, lists, drawings or research as follows:
World Building: For fantasy, science fiction, or other speculative fiction, develop the history, geology, ecology, and/or maps for your world.
Research: For reality-based fiction, research aspects of your novel that will lend credibility to your writing.

You may also choose to use this time to finish a previous assignment that needs more time.

Oct. 15: - Setting: Cultural Setting ▼

Describe the cultural, political and/or religious setting in your novel, regardless of whether the cultural setting is fictional, historical, or modern.
(1) What do your societies believe?
(2) In what practices do they engage?
(3) What laws or rules of society are in place?
(4) Who/what enforces the laws and rules and how successful are they?
(5) What technologies are in use?
(6) How does the setting impact your protagonist(s) in their pre-story lives?
(7) How does the setting impact the plot of your story?

Oct. 16: - Character: Dramatis Personae ▼

(1) Identify allies and enemies encountered along the journey and describe how they help or hinder your protagonist(s).
(2) Create a list of characters in a format easy to edit and expand.
(3) Write a brief profile on each character new character.
*Bullet* Name
*Bullet* Age
*Bullet* Occupation
*Bullet* Relation to the main character(s)
*Bullet* Rough physical description or image (try a Google Image Search or comparable)

NOTE: You can revise this list at any time, so this revision is not expected to be fully accurate or complete.

*** NEED CHARACTER NAMES? See the name generators at the bottom of the calendar. *Down*

Oct. 17: - Plot: Outline Revision #2 ▼

(1) Review your plot elements thus far and organize them into your outline.
(2) Add a chronological timeline to your revised outline, using whatever measure of time is appropriate in your story. Determine when plot events happen in time (which is not necessarily when you will reveal them in your novel.) See this example composed by JK Rowling while outlining one of her famous Harry Potter novels.
(3) Optional: Brainstorm the best chronology(ies) for your story and work it(them) into your outline.

Chronology Strategies
*Bullet* Linear Narrative - the story is told in the order the events occurred.
*Bullet* Non-Linear Narrative - the story is told out of order.
*Bullet* Reverse Chronology - the story is told backwards.
*Bullet* In medias res - the story starts in the middle, goes back to explain how it got there, catches up, and then resolves.
*Bullet* Flashback/forward - individual scene(s) that take place prior to or after the current action.

Note that the difference between these chronological devices can be minute. Read the examples below to see how most stories use more than one style of chronology. Your job is to plan the order in which you will tell your story to the reader. Don't get hung up in the nomenclature.

EXAMPLES:
Lord of the Rings is mostly linear. The events of the story are revealed to the reader as they unfold for the characters. Some flashbacks occur, such as when Gandalf tells the Fellowship how he defeated the balrog and what happened when he visited Saruman.

The hit TV drama "How to Get Away with Murder" begins in medias res, with a group of law school students burying a body. The rest of the story is generally non-linear because it routinely moves back and forth in time. The screen will display "3 months ago" on a series of scenes, and then flash back forward to the body-burying scene again, then move back in time to "2 months ago," using flashbacks to build the story for the viewer. Also, some scenes are repeated multiple times as flashbacks, often as visual-only scenes replaying while a character is explaining something to other characters or building a defense in the courtroom, but through careful camera angles or a few additional seconds of footage, the scene reveals more about the mystery than was obvious the first time the viewer saw that same scene. In this way, the show plants red herrings to fool the viewer and later prove their assumptions wrong.

The hit TV drama "The Walking Dead" is famous for beginning episodes in medias res and then going back in time to explain how the characters got there. On an academic level, these opening scenes could also be construed as flash forwards because, much of the time, the scene at the beginning of each episode is not actually the climax, or the action in the middle of the story, but rather, it shows where the characters end up at the very end of the episode. In medias res is technically the middle, not the end.

One episode of "The X-Files" featured a character who woke up each morning to find that it was one day earlier than the previous day. On the "first" (last, for the character) day, he was on trial for murdering his wife. On the "second" (previous) day, he was meeting his attorney. The plot continued to move backwards in time until it reached the day of the murder, at which point, the protagonist had enough information to prevent the murder from occurring at all. This is an example of reverse chronology, a rare but effective tool for revealing mysteries.

Oct. 18: - Setting: Settings List ▼

(1) Create a list of settings in a format easy to edit and expand.
(2) Add brief descriptions, drawings, images or Google Maps coordinates (find the location on Google Maps/Earth and record the URL) for each.

NOTE: You can revise this list at any time, so this revision is not expected to be fully accurate or complete.

Oct. 19: - CONTEST ROUND: Setting Description. ▼

Describe a setting in words. Use all five senses and make your reader experience the setting as if he or she were there.

*Contest Round entries may be any rating. Submit your ITEM or ENTRY number by 1200 noon WDC time on Sunday to compete. WDC time is New York City time and can be found at the top of the IM Console. If you miss this deadline or choose not to compete, you must still log the assignment complete (without linking your work) for the grand prize, per the standard Prep guidelines.

Oct. 20: - FREEBIE DAY ▼

Relax or catch up.


*TreeFall**TreeFall2**Treefall3**TreeFall**TreeFall2**Treefall3**TreeFall**TreeFall2**Treefall3**TreeFall**TreeFall2**Treefall3*

Oct. 21: - Plot: Complications ▼

Complications. Identify additional things that could go wrong for your protagonist. You are not required to resolve any problems yet, just create them. Remember: The more hardships your main character faces, the more readers will cheer them on, and the more engaged and invested the reader will be in your story. Brainstorm a list of problems you could throw at your protagonist(s) throughout the story, using "What If," mind mapping (see the resources at the bottom of the calendar), freestyle writing, or any other form of brainstorming you prefer. Hint: Other characters are a great source of realistic strife, since characters often are driven by conflicting motivations.

*** NEED DISASTERS? See the Plot Twists generator at the bottom of the calendar. *Down*

Oct. 22: - Setting: Definitions List ▼

(1) Create a list of definitions (see below) in a format easy to edit and expand.
(2) Optional: Brainstorm and describe an object critical to the plot. Add to definitions list.

In your definitions list, you'll flesh out details that you'll want to remember later for consistency. You won't have to dig through pages of scribbled notes to find whatever you decided about these definitions - they will all be compiled into a neat list / binder / database / note cards / whatever your favorite form of organization happens to be.

Example definitions for the Harry Potter series:
*Bullet* rules of magic
*Bullet* the Ministry of Magic
*Bullet* modes of transportation (apparition, Floo network, portkeys, flying, etc.)
*Bullet* the four Houses at Hogwarts
*Bullet* the sword of Gryffindor (note: this would also make a good plot background story)

Non-speculative examples requiring definitions:
*Bullet* a fictional student organization to which your protagonist belongs
*Bullet* the fictional company or division of the FBI for whom your protagonist works
*Bullet* the disease afflicting your protagonist, which is a real condition you need to research
*Bullet* the antique artifact your protagonist intends to heist

NOTE: You can revise this list at any time, so this revision is not expected to be fully accurate or complete.

Oct. 23: - Character: Minor Character Profiles ▼

(1) Expand or add profiles for one or more minor characters.
(2) Spend some time updating your character list with new information, images, etc.

Oct. 24: - Plot: Literary Devices ▼

(1) Brainstorm possible solutions to your conflict and complications using the list of literary devices below or your own ideas.
(2) Identify a mentor or helper who aids the protagonist(s) in achieving their goals.
(3) Identify any other literary devices from the list you could use to enhance your writing.

Literary Devices List
*Bullet* Foreshadowing: Hints of something to come.
*Bullet* Chekhov's Gun: The gun on the wall in Scene 1 is eventually fired.
*Bullet* Repetitive Designation: An object or fact appears over and over.
*Bullet* Symbolism: Small facts, objects, or characterizations represent something bigger.
*Bullet* Self-fulfilling prophecy: Protagonist attempts to thwart prophecy but in attempting, fulfills it.
*Bullet* Poetic Justice: Good guys are rewarded and bad guys are punished.
*Bullet* Plot Twist: Surprises the reader with something unexpected.
*Bullet* False Protagonist: The protagonist dies or turns out to be something other than the protagonist.
*Bullet* Red Herring: A false trail diverts the reader's attention from what really happened.
*Bullet* Unreliable Narrator: The narrator has been misleading the reader all along.
*Bullet* Irony: The exact opposite of what the reader expects happens.
*Bullet* Reveal: A hidden connection between characters or facts is revealed in time.
*Bullet* Plot Device: Advances the plot forward, often pushing the main character past a hurdle.
*Bullet* Object of Power: Either the protagonist wants it, or the object drives the plot of its own accord.
*Bullet* MacGuffin: Something the protagonist wants for unknown and unimportant reasons.
*Bullet* Quibble: Following the letter of the law, contract, or agreement instead of its intent, changing the outcome.
*Bullet* Narrative Hook: Story opening that grab's the reader's attention.
*Bullet* Cliffhanger: Ending a scene, chapter or story in the middle of action, hooking the reader.
*Bullet* Ticking Clock Scenario: The threat of impending doom if the protagonist's objective is not met.
*Bullet* Breaking the Fourth Wall: A character speaks directly to the reader.
*Bullet* Or anything from this list: http://literary-devices.com/

Oct. 25: - Plot: Outline Revision #3 ▼

(1) Review your plot elements thus far and organize them into your outline.
(2) Fill in any gaps in your outline template and/or flesh out more details.

Oct. 26: - CONTEST ROUND: Plot Background Story ▼

Write a story that sets up your plot. EXAMPLE: The Lord of the Rings story revolves around the One Ring, its significance, and how it's destroyed. But how did Frodo get the One Ring in the first place? We learn that in The Hobbit. You obviously can't write a full-scale novel in 15 minutes, but you could write the scene where Bilbo encounters Gollum and stumbles across the ring. That would be a background story that sets up the plot in Lord of the Rings.

*Contest Round entries may be any rating. Submit your ITEM or ENTRY number by 1200 noon WDC time on Sunday to compete. WDC time is New York City time and can be found at the top of the IM Console. If you miss this deadline or choose not to compete, you must still log the assignment complete (without linking your work) for the grand prize, per the standard Prep guidelines.

Oct. 27: - FREEBIE DAY ▼

Relax or catch up.


*TreeFall**TreeFall2**Treefall3**TreeFall**TreeFall2**Treefall3**TreeFall**TreeFall2**Treefall3**TreeFall**TreeFall2**Treefall3*

Oct. 28: - General: Freestyle Brainstorm, World Building or Research ▼

(1) Spend at least fifteen minutes clarifying things through "What If" brainstorming, mind mapping (see resources at the bottom of the calendar), freestyle writing, lists, drawings or research. You may also choose to use this time to finish a previous assignment that needs more time.

(2) Update your characters, definitions and settings lists as needed.

Oct. 29: - General: Market Definition and Narrative Voice Synopsis ▼

(1) Identify your story type from this list of story types or define it with your own nomenclature.
(2) Describe your target audience. Identify a demographic profile of your ideal reader (try using your character profile template!) Explain in detail what aspects of your novel will appeal to this particular audience and why. Please read this blog post to understand the importance of marketing, and why targeting "mass appeal" or "all readers" isn't good enough: "Building Your Brand"
(3) Write a synopsis of your novel using the same narrative voice you will use to tell the story.

Oct. 30: - Character: Protagonist Interview ▼

You are a journalist. The story of your novel is complete. Interview your protagonist and ask the following questions:
(1) How is life for you now, compared to life prior to these events?
(2) How did the events of your story change you?

Oct. 31: - Plot: Premise Revision ▼

Now that you have spent a month planning your novel, revise your initial premise. Identify the following:
(1) Setting(s). Where does your story take place?
(2) Protagonist(s). Who is(are) your main character(s)?
(2b) Flaw(s). What is(are) the protagonist's major flaw(s)?
(2c) Goal(s). What does(d) the protagonist(s) want (or want to avoid)?
(3) Conflict(s). What's keeping them from their goal(s)?
(4) Antagonist(s). Who or what is creating the conflict(s)?
(5) Resolution. How does it all turn out in the end?
(6) Theme: What is the theme or moral of the story?
(7) Outline: Update your outline as needed.

Nov. 01 - NANOWRIMO BEGINS ▼

Start writing your novel!
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