I strongly recommend doing some prep work if you want to write a 50,000 word rough draft of a novel in a month. You have such a short amount of time and quite a lot of work ahead of you. Knowing where you have to go in your story will keep you from stalling or taking unnecessary detours.
Does prep work mean you should fill out character charts and have a bulletin board filled with color index cards? No. Some writers don’t like doing too much prep work because it feels like they’ve told the story before they actually write it. Do what feels comfortable to you. Here are some ways authors prep a story. One of these ways (or a mix of them) may be right for you:
Write a two-page synopsis: Most authors hate writing a synopsis but it is a tool that will serve you well. A synopsis will help you get a stronger idea of what happens in the beginning, middle and end. Less than two pages won’t show if you need to add more conflict or twists to avoid a sagging middle. More than two pages indicate that you’re getting bogged down in the details.
Chapter List: If you have a general idea on how many chapters your book will have, figure out these three things for every chapter: What does your character want? Why does she want it? How far will she go to get it?
Outline: Break it down scene by scene. Not only will this help you keep your chapters consistent, but it will also help you see how a previous scene sets up the next scene. Authors also find this method helpful because they can see plot holes or they can go back and redo the beginning before they even start writing the book.
A little prepping before you write will save you hours of angst and backtracking.