Nanowrimo Guide
5 min read

A guide to Nanowrimo: 8-day plan to get through Act 3

Two writers working on a laptop overlaid with the text Act 3, an 8-day plan for writing based on the classic 3-act structure.

This is your complete guide to winning Nanowrimo. We're breaking down the classic three-act story structure across a 50 000 word novel, and giving you a clear checklist of what you should be covering each day to write a compelling story and meet your wordcount goal.

We've broken the guide into three sections, one for each act. This is Act 3. You can find Act 1 here and Act 2 here.

We're nearly there! There's just one week to go. Like Act 1, Act 3 is also allocated 25% of the story in the three-act structure. These are the last 12 500 words you need to win Nanowrimo.

Act 3 is the climax or dénouement of your story. Your characters are at rock bottom when Act 3 starts, and you have to put them back together again.  

Your goal

From 23 Nov — 30 Nov: You are taking your characters from the depths of their misery to a place of resolution. You'll end the week with your characters feeling either content and victorious, or the bittersweet emotion of having achieved something at a cost (and it might not be what they set out to achieve).

Dark night of the soul

Nov 23 | Dark night of the soul [36,674 –38,341 words]

  • They realise that the antagonist's true strength has been hidden until now. It must come as a surprise. It's great if you can connect the fact that your protagonist didn't see this coming to their internal goal/conflict or a flawed perspective.
  • The antagonist's victory must be both physical and mental. There must be no hope left as you end this section. Not even a tiny glimmer.

Nov 24 | Dark night of the soul [38,341–40,000 words]

  • Your protagonist is at their lowest point, and now they need to put themselves back together.
  • Have the protagonist rally, and begin to prepare for battle.


Nov 25 | Crisis [40,000–41,675 words]

  • Gather the team for the final battle.
  • The stakes need to be at their highest. The consequences of failure need to be very clear.
  • How are they going to overcome the strength of the antagonist now that they know its full extent?
  • Show what your protagonist has learned, and how they have grown. How are they going to use this to overcome the antagonist?

Nov 26 | Crisis [41,675–43,342 words]

  • Battle 3 – Storming the castle: the protagonist re-engages the antagonist. This is the big boss battle. The most challenging confrontation to overcome. Make sure it's epic.

Nov 27 | Crisis [43,342–45,000 words]

  • Battle 3 – High-tower surprise: give us a twist where the antagonist turns the tables somehow, putting the protagonist on the back foot.
  • Your protagonist needs to dig deep. They know they will have to make a sacrifice to overcome this challenge.
  • Build tension and excitement as they decide to give it their all.

Nov 28 | Climax [45,000–46,676 words]

  • Battle 3 – Executing the new plan. The protagonist puts it all on the line and makes a sacrifice (but will it be enough?)
  • Show us the fate of the antagonist.

Nov 29 | Climax [46,676–48,343 words]

  • Take the central conflict full circle, and resolve your protagonist's external goal.
  • Winding up starts at around 47,500 words.
  • Wrap up any sub-plots. Tie up loose ends.
  • Resolve all your character arcs, and show how your protagonist has changed. Resolve your protagonist's internal goal.

Final Image

Nov 30 | Resolution [48,343–50,000 words]

  • Final image – Show the protagonist back in their usual life, and show what life looks like for them now.

All rules are made to be broken, so go ahead and break them! It's your story, after all. Feel free to take the advice that resonates with you and discard anything that doesn't.