Saturday, June 11, 2011

Tips on how to write a novel in a month + info on my rough draft.

After just 32 days, my rough draft for my second novel, (still working on a name, though I do have one nearly definate idea), is complete at 68,000 words. I couldn't be more thrilled than I am now. Seriously. It's crazy. I've spent so much time working on it (lots of twelve hour days and late nights) and it's all blown by so quickly. I plan to add a few scenes in various places before I start my full read through edit, probably bringing the W.I.P. to about 75,000 words.

First off, some tips for trying to write a novel in a month's time.
1) Approximate how many words your novel will be.
2) Once you have a word count, figure out how many words you will have to type per day to reach that goal. (Keep in mind, I had originally planned for 80k, soon realized that wasn't in the cards, and just let things go how they needed to.)
3) Set a time to write everyday. I find it's easiest if you start when you wake up, at least for a half hour, so that you'll have something to think about for the rest of the day. Even waking up a half hour early to get into the groove and then working on it during some x-hour time period when you get home works.
4) Make some sort of system to mark your acheivements. For both of my novels, I made a list of all of the major plot points and then checked them off as I got to them. Then, I made a much more specific list for the last 15k words. For my last novel, where I went by pages completed not words, I made a grid with the amount of pages I expected to fill, and at the end of the day, I stamped a square for every page I'd finished.
5) Be prepared to work late into the night. It happens. Nothin you can do about it.
6) Some days you may need a break, and that's okay. There were a few days this month where I didn't write at all. But, then again, there were some days, like today, where I wrote upwards of 6,000 words.
7) Keep a positive attitude. Sometimes you just don't feel like writing. When this happens, treat yourself to a glass of wine, mug of coffee/tea/cocoa, whatever, put on some fitting music, and get to it. Once you get past the first 500 words, it should be smooth sailing. If it's not, try acting out the scene you're working on or doing something to put yourself in the main character's shoes. Always works for me. (Still stumped? Check out Getting down with your writer self: foreplay, braingasms, and their place in writing)

Now, about my manuscript.
Now that she's reaching the darker side of her thirty-ninth year, Ronnie McGallen is restless with her desires to search for something more. All of her life, Ronnie's done what other people have told her to do, and where has that landed her exactly? With a nice enough husband she doesn't love, a nice enough job that's long lost its appeal, and a life that isn't hers. To put it simply: Ronnie went straight from being a Smashing Pumpkins obsessed, over-acheiving, hard-rock-loving college student to a bored, 10th grade english teacher who only goes to concerts if they're acoustic and if her and her husband have the option of sitting down.

Yes, it's time to branch out, Ronnie decides. Time to get wild and figure out about all of this life that she's been missing. At least, this is until Ronnie accidentally discovers Leighlah Bell, a sweeter than pie, Southern belle waitress, who Ronnie can't stop thinking about. It's innocent at first. Mere intruige. Perhaps more than a bit of attraction. But when these thoughts turn into feelings and these feelings into a relationship--well, that may be a little more 'life' than Ronnie had bargained for.

The lesson learned? Maybe getting older doesn't mean getting wiser. Maybe getting older just means finally having to face all of the things we buried during our youth.

I'll be looking for Beta readers sometime in August. Let me know if you might be interested.

<3 Gina Blechman


  1. super super super huge effort! so impressed!

  2. I've never tried the nano method of writing but I can see how it's a good way to get that first draft done. I would offer this advice: the brain uses up fuel and when you can't concentrate or are moody, chances are your stores are depleted. A sugary drink can halp get you thinking straight in about 15 minutes. I know sugary drinks aren't considered good for you but half a glass of lemonade (not with sweetners) can really help you focus.

    Moody Writing

  3. WOW, congrats on your 68k!!! Speaking of writing novels in months, man I need to get back to BuNoWriMo!! hehe

  4. 68K in a month? I've written about twice that in three weeks. It's not hard if you write every day and have no life and don't care about the quality of it.

  5. That's true. I do a lot of editing while I write though. I still end up with a rough draft, but I want the best rough draft I can have. I'm too much of a perfectionist to give up on quality.

    <3 Gina Blechman

  6. I'm impressed Gina. Mutt is a freak and he knows it. There's no way I could write 68K in one month much less twice the amount that he quotes.

  7. Great tips on the nano writing. I am wondering how Ronnie's life will change for the better. :O)

  8. Super word count! And an inspiring list! Thanks.

  9. I love novel writing in a month during NaNoWriMo - so neat to see you doing it on your own and 6000 words in day, WOOT!!!!

    Your story premise is interesting and it reads storyish, too, not like a desription.

  10. OK, I'll bite. Sounds interesting.

    You'd have to let me know how much and what type critique you want though. I don't just read and say if I liked or not; I'm a critiquer, even when I try not to. And not the fluffy type, but not mean for the sake of ripping apart a novel. If it's good I'll say so, unless I'm too busy reading to comment, in which case that means you've engaged me as a reader, not a critiquer.

    My e-mail is on my profile.