NaNoWriMo – Planning and Plotting

It looks like the Book Club participants aren’t ready to move on from our current book, You Are A Writer by Jeff Goins so this is for all those NaNites that want to use Mapping Your Hero’s Journey with Tarot to prep for NaNoWriMo.



In the introduction, Arwen suggests we watch one of four movies:

  • The Wizard of Oz
  • Star Wars
  • Shrek
  • Avatar

She references these movies throughout the book. I’ve decided I’m going to watch Avatar tonight and “…see what moments seem pivotal to you.”

I also found a worksheet online to better understand the different pieces that go into a “hero’s journey” movie that I’m going to answer the questions to while I’m watching the movie. You can find that worksheet here, it is the first link at the top of the page.

Tomorrow I will come back and share my findings in the comments below. I hope you will do the same (whether you watch your movie tonight or later this weekend) regardless of which movie you choose.

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo? Are you a planner or a pantser? Will you be planning and plotting with us?



Hope you have a wonderful week of reading, dancing, and writing!


Morgan Dragonwillow
Wild Woman Mysteries: Writing, dancing, and creating with your soul.


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About MDragonwillow 95 Articles
Morgan Dragonwillow: Poet , author of Wild Woman Waking & Dancing within Shadow, massage therapist and facilitator of magical journeys who (mostly) doesn't let her fears get in the way of her passion for writing and creating. When she isn't working with clients, writing or dancing you can find her encouraging and supporting her writing community at #StoryDam#OctPoWriMo, & #PoetsonthePage You can also find her on Google+


  1. Hi!

    I’m participating in my 5th NaNoWrimo this year. No books, followers or 2nd drafts have happened for me yet. The 30 day challenge always breathes new life into my habit. What’s changed this year is that I’m going to hold loosely to my “perfectionist” expectations lol I’m using my own Tarot deck to fashion possibilities with the intent of brainstorming as well as limits (goal, fear add conflict from within).

    Maybe they’ll become short vignettes or part of a larger body. Who knows?

    I know I’ll finish. I type fast enough. My personal goal is to connect with other writers to interview, accointibility partnerships and hear about how they became writers.

    • Hi Rose, thanks for sharing. I have tried to do NaNoWriMo in previous years but never finished. I want to at least finish a first rough draft even if it is really, really rough. Hopefully using Mapping Your Hero’s Journey with Tarot will help me. Good luck!

  2. I watched Avatar about 2 and a half times to catch all the pivotal moments. There were quite a few. Now I’ve moved on to Star Wars. I’m dissecting them to see all the pieces that go into a story about a hero’s journey.

    Here are my notes for Avatar;

    The ordinary world;
    A world where all the resources have been sucked out of mother earth and they are on another planet to take everything they can from it.

    Jake is a marine without legs, tasked to spy on the native people of Pandora which he is on board with in the beginning. He is a military man with a military mindset.

    Call to adventure;

    Jake quickly begins to fall for
    and the people of Pandora. Somewhere along the way he decides he wants to help them instead of betraying them.

    Refusing the call;

    I don’t really feel like he refuses the call, maybe just changes the call midway from helping the colonel to helping the native people of Pandora.

    Meeting the mentor;

    I think his mentor is a combination of Grace and Neytiri.
    Grace is instructing him on how to interact with the people and Neytiri is teaching him to learn how to be one of them.

    Crossing the threshold;

    The clean kill and bonding with his flying banshee.

    Also when he chose to knock out the cameras on the giant earth mover. They were after him after that.

    Tests, Allies and enemies;

    Tests begin almost right away with going into the avatar, being left in the forest and having to survive alone, surviving because the spirit seed lands on Neytiri’s arrow, stopping her from killing him.
    The pilot is an ally, his coworker becomes an ally, Neytiri becomes his inadvertent ally.

    Enemies – Tsu’tey that was suppose to marry Neytiri, he doesn’t like him and wants him to fail.

    Of course there is the colonel, he becomes an enemy when he realizes Jake is helping the Omaticaya clan.

    He is tested when he has to get on the horse like creature, and tested when he gets on the flying creature. He is also tested when he has his first clean kill.

    Approach the inmost cave;

    This would be when he has become an outcast from the Omaticaya clan and he realizes he has to do something drastic to win back their trust and help them stop the sky people. He decides to connect with the larger flying creature. Once he has bonded with it he goes to the native people to show them what he’s done and to convince them to call all the tribes to work together to win against the sky people.


    Would be the final fight with the sky people. first stopping them and then his fight with the colonel where he almost dies.

    The reward is he lives and they get to keep their planet and kick the sky people off the planet.

    He doesn’t go back, he stays and truly becomes one of them.

    The hero: Jake
    The mentor: Grace and
    Threshold guardians: The native man that was suppose to marry. Not sure if the general is one or not. He is a catalyst.

    The herald:

    The shapeshifter: Does the shapeshifter have to be bad? Someone that was one thing that ends up being another doesn’t necessarily have to be bad.
    One shapeshifter could be the colonel as he is on his side to begin with. The pilot switches sides, the native man ends up switching sides.

    Pivotal moments;
    When the spirit seed lands on her arrow.
    When all the spirit seeds land on him, truly showing he is different.
    When he is able to bond with the flying banshee.
    When he damages the cameras on the earth mover.
    When he is able to bond with the large flying creature and flies back to the Omaticaya people.

    A major pivotal point is when they get away from the large flying creature. I think this is when he realizes he doesn’t want to go back to his old life.

    Major pivotal point, when he is initiated into the clan and he mates with Neytiri.

    When all seems lost and the sky people seem to be winning and suddenly the predatory animals come slamming out of the forest to destroy the sky people and Jake stops the ship that is about to drop the bomb on the spirit tree.

    I love how Neytiri saves Jake several times throughout the movie. I also love how expressive she is.

    There were a few of these that I didn’t understand what they were asking for and I found, Stages and Archetypes for the Hero’s Journey, that explained each piece.

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