Writing a novel is an enormous undertaking on its own, but to do so in 30 days is even more so. It may seem to be an impossible task, but it doesn’t have to be. All it takes is a little planning on your part and depending on if you are a plotter (organize everything in advance; have the story plotted out from start to finish), a panster (writing by the seat of their pants; not planning your writing), or an in-betweener (this is the place between advance planning and writing without a plan), just how much planning that involves.
A few years back I bought two books on how to write a rough draft in 30 days, the first book I hated, the second one I loved and still use. Much of it has to do with my writing style and not the authors writing style or methods. So I thought I’d share a few tips with all of you that I’ve picked up over the years.
Tip #1: Settle On a Word Count
This isn’t a set in stone word count, this is a goal to work towards. When I wrote My Lord Hades, the word count was set at 50,000 words. Setting a word count helped me stay on track and calculate where I needed to be each day or when to step up the paceif I was to meet my deadline at the end of 30 days. It also let me know how many words I needed to write the next day if I skipped a day.
Tip #2: Don’t Stop Writing
Churning out a novel in one month doesn’t figure in time for revision and editing, that is to be done after the first draft is complete. Often writers who complete a novel in one month, let the novel sit for a few weeks before diving back in to revise. Writers will, of course, experience rough patches and road blocks which is understandable.
One important thing to remember is to just write. Don’t go back and re-read or edit your manuscript during the process, it will interrupt the flow of ideas and slow you down.If you are able to stay on track there is no reason to not finish the novel in 30 days. The goal is to get the ideas on paper. Revision can and will come afterwards.
Tip #3: Use a Story Tracker
The Story Tracker was an idea I liked from Book in a Month by Victoria Lynn Schmidt, Ph.D. I have adopted this simple idea to my own use, modifying it as I like. You are free to do the same or use as is.
The main idea behind the Story Tracker is to keep writing without stopping to rewrite a plot, character, setting, subplot, or revise and edit. What you do is keep notes of changes you want to make to the story, so that you can remember what you need to do later when you revise the finished manuscript. This is where you jot down new ideas and new directions as they come to mind and then keep writing as if you made those changes already.
I tried creating a worksheet in my word processor that consisted of a table with the headings: Page #, What to Fix, and Additional Comments—these can be: why you need the change, what the impact of this change will be on other characters,. This didn’t work for me—needed more room or less than I gave myself in a table—so I made it into columns. However, now I just use a notebook to jot down my notes.
Loving the Goddess of Love (Title of work at the top of the page)
-page 1-3, change POV character in Prologue to Aphrodite
-page 6-8, change character talking to Zeus from Hera to Rhea, more impact on Zeus’ decision if it’s his mom rather than his soon-to-be-wife