Novel Planning Tools and Worksheets

We recently talked about preparing for NaNoWriMo during October, and I shared some of my own plans such as using the Snowflake Method for this novel's outline. Today I'd like to share some of the best resources for helping you plan your NaNoWriMo novel (or any novel for that matter).

Here are links to character planning resources and some of my favorite more general tools and templates related to planning and outlining your novel.

Character Worksheets / Guides

Outlining Tools and Templates

Some of these were recommended in the previous NaNoWriMo post as well, but they're such strong resources that they're worth repeating.

Do you have any other great novel outline templates or other planning tools to share? Tell us about them in the comments.

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Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, consultant, and indie author. She runs numerous websites & blogs including All Freelance Writing, Freelance Writing Pros, NakedPR, and Kiss My Biz.

Jenn has 25 years' experience as a professional writer and editor and over 20 years' experience in marketing and PR (working heavily in digital PR, online marketing, social media, SEO, new media, and thought leadership publication). She also has 19 years' professional blogging and web publishing experience (including web development) and around 18 years of experience as an indie author / publisher.

Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names and is an Active member of the Horror Writers Association.

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7 thoughts on “Novel Planning Tools and Worksheets”

  1. Wow!I have finally been pushed to write a book and this site has so many resources that I am overwhelmed at the generosity of all of the authors. That they took the time and effort to “pay it forward” for those of us that have no idea what to do. Thank you.

  2. Good stuff here thanks for posting. I take from one of your comments that you use Scrivener…I am doing NaNoWirMo for the first time and bought Scrivener – well awhile back – but never really used it – is the learning curve too steep to tackle for my first go at NaNo or is it doable? I am fine with multiple Word docs.
    FULL DISCLOSURE – I posted this question on the Nano site but would like your thoughts too.

    • It took me about a month to really dig into Scrivener, and there are plenty of features I still don’t know. I probably wouldn’t try to learn it while doing NaNo. But if you can find a good template that has you set up for scenes, research, and whatever else you need for your genre, you would probably be OK. I just wouldn’t try to set up a project from scratch. NaNo’s crazy enough without trying to figure Scrivener out for the first time, so if you do that, maybe stick to the bare basics.

  3. Hi, I want to write my own novel, I have so many ideas in my head and I’m having a bit of trouble putting it into a coherent story, I have no idea where to begin or how to start. I am overwhelmed with all the information in my head and I’m scared that if i start to just write it would mess up my idea of the story and ruin my main idea.

    Please help?

    • I’d highly recommend starting with an outline. I’ve tried several methods, and I use an adapted Snowflake Method outline for most stories now — whether short stories or longer works. It might be a good option for you because it lets you start small, but you never lose sight of the overall story. It’s similar to the “skeleton outlines” I use for articles. You start with a framework and flesh it out with the details as you go. You can find a link in the post to learn more about that outline style.


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