NaNoWriMo: A Writer's Checklist For The Final Stretch

This is it. Week four of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). You are so close. Hopefully you are nearing 40 000 words. This is the final stretch. 

By this time, you have replaced caffeine with green tea, just because your brain is screaming at you and your mother should have brought over a casserole by now, because three weeks of only eating cheese nacks is going to get you killed.  

But before all is lost here is little checklist to get you through the end of your story: 

1. Have you written 50 000 words?

If you have, it is time to proofread. You may find you’re missing a few words. You need those.  

2. What is the story goal? 

This helps you to figure out if your story makes sense. The goal can change, but your character must still fight for it. 

3. Did your protagonist achieve his/her story goal? 

Your character can fail or they can achieve their goal. For example, they can lose, but still get the girl. Whatever happens, it’s up to you. Figure it out so that you know where you are going. 

4. Have you tied up the subplots? 

We don’t want to get to the end of the story only to remember you left the girlfriend tied up in the jungle somewhere. Go save her ass. 

5. Have you tied up all the loose ends?

The same goes for clues, other characters and red herrings. Remember Chekov’s gun. Make sure it has fired. 

6. What kind of ending does the story have?

Simply decide if your ending is happy, sad, or ambiguous? 

7. Have you put the champagne in the fridge?

This is obviously the most important point. Even if you can’t tick anything except 50 000 you deserve to celebrate. You have achieved something amazing. Give yourself some time to celebrate. And then get some sleep. 

Good luck for the last stretch. You are so close.  

If you want to learn how to write a book, join our Writers Write course in Johannesburg. Please email for more details.

 by Mia Botha

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