Writing a Novel in Six Months

If you Google “write a novel in six months,” you find a couple of other people who have created ambitious plans to do just that, but not a single person (as far as I can tell) who has actually succeeded. I’m not sure if that’s the best sign or not.

Regardless, I’m scavenging from their ambition to create a plan of my own. Naturally, I plan to be more successful than those internet failures, although time will tell.

So here’s the plan. There are 26 weeks in 6 months. October 3rd (tomorrow) will be the first day of the first week. There, it will begin.

  • Week one is where I decide what, exactly, I want to write about. I have a pretty good idea already, but there are a lot of specifics to work out. I’ll post more about this tomorrow (really tomorrow) when I get started.
  • Week two is when I set the broad scope of the plot, but really most of my time will be spent on characters. Since I’m going to be living with these folks for awhile, autobiographies, POV Q&As, and writing on their backgrounds and motivations will abound.
  • Weeks three and four I get into heavy plot outlining. Starting with the broadest description of the plot (the mythical one-sentence pitch), I’ll work my way down into the details. I don’t plan on going scene-by-scene, since that’d bore me to tears and I wouldn’t stick to it anyway. Rather, I want to always have an idea where I want to go next while I’m writing.
  • Starting on week five and going all the way to week 14 is drafting. I’m doing a ten-by-ten plan, where the idea is to write ten percent of your novel’s total word count a week, for ten weeks. In my case, I’m shooting for a genre-average 125,000, so I’ll need to write about 1800 words a day. If I stick to that, I’ll finish NaNoWriMo (which overlaps the first four weeks of drafting) about 3 days early.
  • On week 15, I’m taking a break. I’ll be way too close to the story to really dig into revision, so I’ll just screw around and work on miscellaneous projects.
  • Weeks 16 and 17 will be for re-reading my first draft, constructing a detailed outline of what actually made it into the story, and just taking general notes on what worked and what didn’t. The goal is to figure out what really needs work before I go page-to-page.
  • Weeks 18-20 will be spent going page-to-page, cleaning up plot holes, reworking scenes, adding and removing characters: pretty much whatever I found necessary in the previous two weeks. I’m not going to spend much time working on language at this point, though I’ll probably tidy it a bit.
  • Weeks 21-26 will be for continuing the previous three weeks’ work if necessary, but hopefully I can really start tidying up the language here, tweaking characterizations, and generally start into the perfectionist phase.

By the end of week 26, I can start looking for a publisher. Gosh this sounds easy. Beats me why not everyone tries this.

Your encouragements are always welcome.

4 responses to “Writing a Novel in Six Months

  1. That sounds like a nice plan. Would you mind if I steal a few parts for it? I’m not a good cheerleader, but I can offer encouragement in return… ;)

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