50K in 30 days baby 🏆




A month ago past, there was a valiant storyteller who set out on a quest to pen 50,000 words in a month. She knew it was an arduous and daunting task but she armed herself with the infinite knowledges of the digital tomes and the strength of her imagination.

Her journey was grand and the words flowed like glittering threads, weaving a fine tapestry of people and places into existence.

But soon the Chasm of Doubt opened up and she was mired in the Swamp of Sorrows. It pulled her down into its dark and murky depths. And she began to question.

What should I do next?

How do I connect these pieces together?

How do I fill in this hole here and that one there?

The Storyteller sunk further and further into the inky darkness of questioning.

But then the Storyteller remembered her most sacred of relics, The Map of Simple Paths and once again found her way back to the Path of the Story.

And on the day of celebration, she arrived safely in the Nation of Endings.

Well, November was a whirlwind of a month, wasn’t it, Reader? And for a little bit there I didn’t think I was going to make that 50K goal by the deadline.

But I persevered.

I kept writing.

And on November 30th I crossed that finish line with 50,899 words for my Boys Love Dark Fantasy Occultopus.

Now NaNoWriMo is over. However, at some point in the future, you might want to or need to write a substantial chunk of a novel so here are…

My Top 3 things I’ve learned from over a decade of writing 50K words in a month:

1) Your adventure needs a map

Even if you’re a pantser, your story needs an outline.

It doesn’t have to be some long 5-page book report sort of thing you dread making. You know what I’m talking about. The kind of outline that when you’re done it’s all but sucked the spark and magic out of actually creating your story.

Honestly, your “outline” can be as little as a few basic sentences that answer these questions:

  1. WHO is your Legendary Character?
  2. WHERE is this story set?
  3. How does the story START?
  4. What is their GOAL? (What are they trying to accomplish in the story?)
  5. What is their FOIL? (What’s obstructing them from getting said goal?)
  6. How does it END?

2) Break it down into smaller pieces

50,000 words may seem overwhelming and insurmountable to some aspiring and even established storytellers. But if you break that up into 30 days it becomes much smaller. That’s only 1,667 a day.

But maybe even that number seems too massive to you, Reader? If it does, why not try thinking about it in terms of scenes instead of words?

On average, novels have approximately 30 scenes for every 25,000 words. So a 50,000-word novel would have approximately 60 scenes. Now you just have to write 2 scenes per day.

But won’t I fall short? you might be asking.

Well…when I started this experiment of writing by scenes for They Come at Night a little over a year ago, I thought I would find it hard to write 500 words. (The original goal for each piece.) Instead, I very quickly found them nearly breaking 800-900 words each time!

So it just goes to show you when a task seems too overwhelming, just break it into a piece that seems achievable to you.

3) Cut Sheet

Have a “cut sheet” a file, doc, or page at the end of your story where you can paste any line, paragraph, or whole scene you decide to cut from your story during the month.

These still count toward your final word count in the challenge, and who knows, you might end up using them in a new place later down the line or even in an entirely different story.

So just remember, Reader, conquering a big challenge like writing 50K in a month is perfectly achievable when you…

1) Make a simple plan

2) Break things down into manageable pieces

3) Squirrel away unneeded bits for later.

Your cohort in storytelling,

Kat Vancil


PS 👉 My project for this year’s NaNoWriMo was Occultopus it stars my two characters October and Kole from my holiday-themed Alternative Universe (AU) short stories 2 Turtledoves and Trick or Treat.

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1179 West A Street, Suite 137, Hayward, CA 94541

I’m Kat! Professional Storyteller & Neurodivergent Creative

Here to help you vanquish those story construction obstacles, slay that imposter syndrome clawing at the back of your brain & stomp boredom flat with heart-pounding Boys Love fiction. Join the Saga and choose your inbox obsession, whether it’s helpful advice to get your writing unstuck or an episode of my weekly Boys Love Fantasy series to devour during your coffee break.

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