Day-by-Day NaNoWriMo Outline: Your 30-Day Cheatsheet

Deconstructing Bestselling Novels, One Doodle at a Time.

10.25.2015 by

This NaNoWriMo outline is your 30-day cheatsheet!

I pulled out 30 key scenes from the master outline to create this day-by-day outline. As you probably know, my research for these scenes is based on the common structural elements of Harry PotterTwilight, and The Hunger Games.

You can use this outline from start-to-finish with your own story, or just refer to it if you hit some writer’s block and need an idea for a scene.

If you write 1,667 words for each scene listed below, you will have 50,000 words by the end of NaNoWriMo.

Please pin this chart to refer to it later!


 Pin this chart to save it for later reference!

Links from the NaNoWriMo Outline:

  • Get an idea for a novel
  • Make a chart of characters showing good-vs-evil and order-vs-chaos
  • Write a 100 word blurb of your plot
  1. Open the story on a bittersweet celebration
  2. The hero goes on an everyday errand; show her special skill
  3. The herald gives the hero an “invitation for adventure”
  4. The hero takes a short trip to make preparations and ask questions
  5. The hero says goodbye to family and boards mass transit to new society
  6. The hero attends a social acceptance ceremony; meets the wise one
  7. The hero meets the sidekick; they have conflict with the bully
  8. The hero takes a “pop quiz” and gets embarrassed
  9. The hero is forced to spend time with the love interest
  10. The hero shows some athletic ability (and may break some rules)
  11. The hero and the love interest have a “Q&A” session
  12. The hero clashes with an authority figure
  13. A minor character rescues the hero
  14. The hero has a fight based on socioeconomic tension
  15. The healer character aids one of the hero’s injured friends
  16. The sidekick acts as a magical guide and teaches the hero
  17. The hero attempts to rescue a friend but fails
  18. The hero plays “hide-n-seek” with the villain’s henchmen
  19. Show order-vs-chaos tension among the “good guys”
  20. The hero and the love interest share their first kiss
  21. Demonstrate the hero’s special skill
  22. The hero is forced to incapacitate a friend
  23. A character flirts to receive much needed information
  24. A major characters rescues the hero
  25. The hero must pass the gatekeeper
  26. The hero uses his special skill in an unexpected way
  27. The sidekick is badly hurt and the hero proceeds alone
  28. A climactic battle with the villain reveals the twist and explanation
  29. The hero is knocked out, wakes up in the hospital, and learns of success
  30. The hero heads back to his homeland but knows there is a continued threat

For more story elements and scenes, including an in-depth look at themes, symbolism, and characters, check out the Better Novel Project master outline.

Good luck!

2016 NaNoWriMo Update

Since writing this post last year, I’ve continued my research on story structure. Here are some new scenes that you might want to add to your outline:

  • The hero eavesdrops and makes a bad assumption
  • The hero is rescued during a fight scene
  • The hero protects a friend in a fight scene
  • 10 traits of the mentor character archetype and 10 scenes for the mentor character archetype

Bonus! I created a Supplemental NaNoWriMo Outline: Character Archetype and Themes Edition. Use this to flesh out your outline and get your word count up as needed. 🙂

Day-by-Day Character & Theme Outline for #NaNoWriMo

More novels on Betternovelptoject


Collins, Suzanne (2009-09-01). The Hunger Games. Scholastic Inc. Kindle Edition. (“HG”).

Meyer, Stephenie (2007-07-18). Twilight (The Twilight Saga). Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. Kindle Edition. (“TW”).

Rowling, J.K. (2012-03-27). Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Book 1). Pottermore Limited. Kindle Edition. (“HP”).


About Christine Frazier

I help people write better stories using research instead of luck. I’m a writer, joyous outliner, and compulsive doodler. Learn more.


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