Streamlining your writing process is useful. Whether you’re gearing up for a novel-writing challenge such as NaNoWriMo, or simply have a personal deadline. Here are 10 tips for writing a novel in a month:
- Make preparations, even if you’re a pantser
Aspiring authors often describe themselves as either ‘plotters’ or ‘pantsers’. Pantsing (writing ‘by the seat of your pants’) without an outline has pros and cons. On the one hand, you have the freedom to follow your story down any surprising avenue without a rigid outline limiting options.
On the other hand, the advantage of plotting is that you have a guide to help you if you get stuck. You can make it as rigid or as flexible as you like, and keep it like a map in your back pocket, one that shows you through the densest thickets of your story.
- Write a general synopsis: Know where your novel is headed
The problem of not outlining is that it’s easy to work yourself into a corner, plot-wise. If you’ll be writing a novel in a month, you’ll need to have a clear concept of the general arc and purpose of your story from the outset.
To start preparing, write a synopsis of your story idea in two to three lines. Include the ideas you have so far for major objectives for your central character(s) and any primary conflicts. It doesn’t have to be perfect.
- Summarize ideas for each scene’s purpose when you write
Writing 1667 words or more per day is an ambitious target. You need to use every bit of writing time productively.
Avoid having to backtrack a lot to make scenes more purposeful and link them to your story’s main themes later. Instead, try summarizing each scene’s purpose before you start writing it.
- Divide your book into structured parts
A pitfall of writing a novel within a month is that you likely won’t have much time for structuring or re-structuring the narrative. You could, for example, end up with a 15,000 -word beginning and middle, leaving 35,000 words for the closing chapters of your book. This could leave your story feeling end-heavy.
- Do preparatory journal-writing
If you are preparing to write a book in a month, in spare moments write in a journal about your story idea, the themes that interest you, and any ideas for crucial scenes. Note things such as:
- Why you want to tell this story in particular
- What you think the hardest part of writing 50,000 words in a month will be (staying motivated? Creating story structure?)
- Ideas for how you will overcome these challenges
- Any places or subjects you need to research generally for the book