Plot and Story Building Tips to Plan Your Novel for NaNoWriMo

Today is the fifth in an 8-post series on planning your novel for Nanowrimo. In today’s post, we focus on plot and story building tips. 

If you missed it, the first step in your novel preparation is your elevator pitch and the second step is crafting your story synopsis. The third post on preparing your characters is here. The fourth post is here on world building. (All the posts are here.)

Keep in mind: Take note of your genre. This will give you a general idea of the story structure your readers expect and help you think of ways to surprise them.

Time to budget: I recommend you take at least 2 sessions of 60-90 minutes to do this exercise for your story.


Plot and Story Building Tips

1. Brainstorm the high concept of your story. This will help you think of the kind of events and problems you can put into your story.

The Jewish version of The Da Vinci Code
Lara Croft meets Lord of the Rings
Snakes on a Plane
Die Hard on a Ship

2. Make a list of all the bad things that could happen to your characters. Then organize the bad things in order of least bad to most bad.

3. Make a list of all the events that your readers most likely expect in your genre and type of story, then see how you can twist the events to surprise your readers.


Here’s an image to share or pin and use for your world building brainstorming!

3 Plot & Story Development Tips to Prepare Your Novel for Nanowrimo

3 Plot & Story Development Tips to Prepare Your Novel for Nanowrimo



Please share me on social media: Instagram, Pinterest, etc.!

Plan Your Novel 30-Day Writing Challenge, starts October 1st

If you’d like hands-on support to plan your novel for Nanowrimo with your peers and with experienced instructors — Beth and Ezra Barany, then join us for our next course starting October 1st: 30-Day Writing Challenge to Plan Your Novel.

All the details for the course here.

Follow our tips on Twitter with the hashtag #30dayWC.



Further Reading:

For more examples of the High Concept pitch, check out the previous post on Writer’s Fun Zone by Ezra Barany:

How to Write the Perfect Pitch to Sell Your Novel In Person


The Five Kingdom series about Henrietta The Dragon Slayer by Beth Barany

Award-winning novelist and creativity coach for writers, Beth Barany has been making up fantasy and adventure stories all her life. She writes magical tales of romance and adventure for women and girls to transport them to new worlds where anything is possible. She empowers novelists to write, publish, and market their genre novels.


Books by Ezra BaranyBook marketing mentor, Ezra Barany is the author of the award-winning bestseller, The Torah Codes. Contact Ezra today to begin the conversation on how he can help you design your book cover or pitch via FacebookTwitter, or contact him through this blog, or email: EZRA at THETORAHCODES dot COM. More about his thrillers at

Tip #6: A unique way to develop conflict in your story for pantsers

List of all 8 tips here.

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2 Responses

  1. Manik says:

    The way you explained the entire thing in less words is amazing, but one question that jumbled up while reading through the words is :
    Sometimes it happens that the story shaped in a different direction which is actually you haven’t planned, and because of that the entire story plot got twisted, how to handle this type of condition.

  2. Beth Barany says:

    It usually doesn’t happen if I know my characters well. But I’ve seen it happen to some of my writers. They roll with it and make new decisions about the direction of their story. How have you handle this type of situation, Manik?

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