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NANOWRIMO - Writing From Art - Day 1 of Plotter Book-in-a-Month

Updated: Nov 5, 2023

Writing From Art - Day 1 of National Novel Writing Month (NanoWriMo).

This is a PLOTTER approach to a book in a month. There are worldbuild approaches, character depth approaches, and research approaches. Those are all wonderful and worthy. This particular approach, though, is all about plotting. We'll be building out our story like a home.

  1. Ideal and Detail Week - build the framework

  2. Bulk and Believe Week - add depth, like the drywall around your framework

  3. Sequence and Style Week - Design and make the story your own with your voice and details

  4. Transition and Take Apart Week - Pull out what needs to go and make sure the elements are joined where they need to be

  5. Format and Finalize Week - "Decorate" and better the book you've written


Art includes at least: pictures, scenes, dance, music, photos, witnessed events, live performance, sculpture and 3-dimensional art forms, and the written word. Art is everywhere. If using non-visual art, you must visualize the picture in your own mind. For the purpose of #nanowrimo, art is whatever it is that INSPIRES you.

  • Find Focal Point

To who, where, or what in the “art” are your eyes drawn – name it.

  • Identify Important Objects

Is something being held, pointed to, or ignored? What special things do you see? Is there a mystery item implied through a shadow or a bump under a blanket or clothing item? Just as you, the purveyor of the art, have a focal point, what is the focal point of the characters (if there are any) in the art? The “object” could be obvious OR hidden.

  • Ask (and answer) Questions

What are you left wanting to know? Ask the questions that come to mind when you observe the art and use your imagination to answer them.

  • Write a Caption

This sometimes becomes the title of your work. Other times, it becomes the theme or the event/goal/action of your written piece. Imagine that this art you are using as writing inspiration is the one thing you have to represent your whole story.

  • Define The Story Formula

Now the writing really begins. Using the chosen art, as well as the first four completed steps, and your own imagination, write a short CLAPS formula for the art. CLAPS is the acronym for C.haracter, L.ocation, A.ction, P.roblem, and S.olution.


  1. Do MANY Writing from Art outlines! Keep them on-hand. You may discover that more than one will be used in your story. One of them could be your main story and the other a subplot or a scene in your story. You also may discover that you begin to create around one of your outlines, but another would work better or is a better fit for your writing skills and style or the genre for which you choose to write.

  2. Already here with an idea? Consider using Writing from Art to your existing idea to help break down your initial concept into a framework.

HOMEWORK DAY 1 - Spend 15 to 30 minutes fleshing out your own writing from art outline!

Yours in writing,


Day 0 - Preptober - Setting Up Your Ideal Writing Space

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