October 26, 2016

Reviews: “The Novel Planner” and “Ready, Set, Novel!”


NaNoWriMo is less than a week away, which means some of you will have written a book in T-minus 36 days! I considered taking part this year, but I’m not sure that 50,000 words in 30 days will be feasible for me right now. Therefore, I will be writing along . . . but probably not at such a fevered pace. I’m setting the personal goal of spenimg_1655ding at least an hour a day on the book that’s floating around in my head.

In preparation for the November frenzy, I thought I’d review a couple of writers’ tools and share my thoughts in case you were looking for some writerly resources. Today I’m reviewing two very different workbooks for writers—The Novel Planner and Ready, Set, Novel! (Writer’s Workbook).



  1. The Novel Planner

True to its name, The Novel Planner is literally a bare-bones calendar for writers. With an adaptable black-and-white design, writers can parcel out tasks on a day-to-day and month-to-month basis. The weekly and monthly spreads can be customized, so you can start using it at any point in the year; and if you are a planner like me, it is extremely helpful to break down larger tasks into bite-sized ones that are less intimidating.

Weekly Calendar Spread

The Novel Planner: Weekly Calendar Spread

As a resource, The Novel Planner isn’t much more than a glorified day planner—so you may be fine using your regular planner, a bullet journal, or even a notebook for keeping track of your schedule, accomplishments, and mini-goals. But if you’re like me and you tend to collect notebooks, this one might be a nice one to add to your stack. Scheduling your writing time is definitely the way to go, since heaven knows books don’t write themselves. Also, I think it would be rewarding to have a visual representation of your book’s progress.


  1. Ready, Set, Novel! (Writer’s Workbook)

Very different from the planner is Ready, Set, Novel!—a workbook with activities and writing exercises designed to help you conceptualize your book before you even write it. Compiled by the organizers of NaNoWriMo, Ready, Set, Novel! provides worksheets about your plot, character, setting, and timeline elements, so that when it’s time to write, the components are already well in order.

Family Tree Spread

Family Tree Spread

Not all writers plan out their books before they write them—but if you’re a “plotter,” then this may be a great product for you. I love the design of this book and the variety of mental exercises it provides, and it has some useful instruction as well. It’s possible that you could use this workbook as you’re writing—filling in character profiles, maps, motivations, etc., as you go. Whatever the case, I think anyone who actually completed this workbook before NaNoWriMo would have very little problem writing their novel in 30 days.


More reviews to come. In the meantime, good luck, November Warriors! I’ll be excited to follow your progress on Instagram and elsewhere.


Jocelyn / The BH

PS—Check out my Instagram (@thebookhooker), where I’m giving away a copy of The Novel Planner. Contest open to anyone in the US!

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