Tips for Writing a Novel in 30 Days

Tips for Writing a Novel in 30 Days (Even If You’ve Missed NaNoWriMo)

Tips for Writing a Novel in 30 Days
Photo by midwinter

Tips for Writing a Novel in 30 Days (Even If You've Missed NaNoWriMo)

Did you miss NaNoWriMo this month?

If you missed it and if writing 50,000 words in one week sounds too daunting (it would to me!), you don't have to wait until next November to write your book. You could start writing a novel in 30 days in December or January, or any month of the year.

Since you have some time to prepare, I wanted to share with you some things I've been using this month for my NaNoWriMo adventure.

One must-have when you're writing a novel in 30 days is the book No Plot? No Problem! A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days by Chris Baty, the mastermind behind NaNoWriMo. This book is the "NaNoWriMoers' bible". At the start of each week, there is a short section to read that will help you prepare for the week. It also gives you an idea of pacing for your novel.

Another book I love to use is The Novelist's Boot Camp: 101 Ways to Take Your Book From Boring to Bestseller by Todd A. Stone. Each "drill" has a short section to read and helps me come up with ideas for my novel. I find this book is easy to read during the writing process. I can flip through it, find a section I need to work on, and then get moving right away after a short read.

I find that a lot of books on the craft seem to have too much to read. It's fine when you're not in the process of writing a book and on a tight deadline, but when you need more ideas to get you moving, a book like this is very effective.

I'm not much of a people watcher, so I've been watching movies to gather ideas for characters, plot, and pacing. Sometimes, I'll remember a character from a movie that I want my novel character to be like, so I'll watch the movie and just let my brain absorb the information. I don't recommend getting too carried away with movie-watching though. You don't want it to take up too much of your time and keep you from getting your writing done.

Last year, I also read a book while I wrote mine. It helped me move forward. Of course I'm not suggesting plagiarizing or copying characters. Watching movies or reading books can help you come up with your own ideas as you move forward in the writing process.

Have you participated in NaNoWriMo before? It's definitely a rewarding process. Writing a book is hard work, so it can be very effective as a big push to get a book written in a short amount of time. I'd love to hear your thoughts. Do you love it or hate it?

Jody Calkins
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