NaNoWriMo Prep Tools for Plantsers

After spending most of my time simply discovery writing (or pantsing) my stories, I have now moved on to be more of a planner-pantser… or plantser. This means that, while I do still discovery write some parts of my stories, I will plan the basic macro outline beforehand. Some of the scenes or chapters may also be micro-planned. However, I do like to give myself leeway still without leaving the whole story up to chance.


Some of the preparation tools I use for my projects, are:

  • Scapple
  • M. Weiland’s writing books
  • A notebook (yes, I mean a paper one)
  • Scrivener


Scapple is a mindmapping software created by Literature and Latte. Although this is paid-for software, you do get 30 days’ free trial and I think that it is worth every cent as the program you are getting is very powerful and much more than just a simple mind-mapping tool. It also integrates with Scrivener – a novel writing software also created by Literature and Latte.

K.M. Weiland’s writing books

From creating characters to structuring your novel, K.M. Weiland has you covered with books and workbooks! I have found her way of outlining and creating characters really helpful and useful.

A notebook

Nothing beats a plain paper notebook when you just need to quickly jot something down. Whether it is a plotbunny you’re afraid of forgetting or a piece of dialogue you want to pin down, I’ve found that writing by hand can be just the thing.


Probably the novel writing software, Scrivener is everything it promises and more. Created by Literature and Latte, the software is perfect for outlining your project, writing it, and exporting it for publication. You also usually win a discount on the software if you finish NaNoWriMo. However, it also comes with a 30-day free trial.


What other tools do you like using when planning out a project?

By Carin Marais

Bibliophile, writer of speculative fiction, non-fiction, and maybe-fiction, language practitioner, doer of stuff.


  1. This is great, Carin!

    I’m personally a fan of Holly Lisle’s Clinics as a planning resource. I’ve never tried Scapple, but I think I’m probably going to take a look at the free trial since I love Scrivener.

    As for notebooks/journals – YES! Writing by hand brings in a sensory experience that typing on a keyboard lacks. When I get stuck, I go back to my journals.

    I also have an app on my phone – WriterP, that I use for on-the-go ideas. And when I’m really busy – voice recording on my phone for quick reminders about plot bunnies.


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