Every now and again, while perusing writing Web sites, I notice neat little ads that say something like, “Learn How to Write a Novel in 30 Days!!!” It just looks so fantastic. Me, write a novel? Thirty days, really? So I click on the ad and read the little sales pitch page it gives me. I read about how I will become the next Mark Twain, how all I have to do is buy this special system and I’ll win a Nobel Prize, and how I will be able to do it in under one month. By God , I have to try this!
And then I realize that the entire system, which includes numerous bonuses I will apparently never find anywhere else – ever – costs just under $70.
So after seeing several of these ads and figuring out that there was no way to get the information for free, I decided to buy one of the products. Let me tell you, it was a dazzling sight. The ebook was just filled with pretty colors and numerous quotes by brilliant writers who finished their masterpieces in days. And these are legitimately brilliant authors, people like Mark Twain, William Faulkner, and J.K. Rowling. Funny, I never thought these people cheated and used a fantastic system to get so famous; I always thought they were intelligent, hardworking people. I kept reading anyway.
What I found out was, even though it is entirely possible to write a novel in a month or less, and even though the ebook does give some pretty good tips and ideas, and even though the material is filled with flashing colors, the truth is that there is nothing like good old fashioned hard work.
That being said, it is possible to write a book in less than a month. I’ll tell you for free rather than scamming you out of money. To begin with, when I say book I’m not talking about a fully edited work of art. We’re talking about an unpolished manuscript. That means you will still have a lot of work ahead of you even when it’s complete-namely editing. So how do you finish a manuscript in thirty days? Why, it’s easy with my three simple steps: Plan, Plan More, and Write.
Step one: Plan
The first thing you need to do is plan. This means more than just having a vague idea about the way a story will go. There’s nothing wrong with having just a vague idea, some of the best writers in the world write novels based on vague ideas. They also almost never write their manuscripts in a month. You need to get a good idea and start mulling it over in your mind. Think plot and characters. Good characters are an indispensable part of a well written story. One of the most effective ways of planning is by freewriting and brainstorming. Sit down with a pen and piece of paper and write. Don’t stop, just write what comes to mind. It’s a fantastic way to get the creative juices flowing.
Step two: Plan More
Next, you need to keep planning. This time you’re going to get a lot more in-depth. You’re going to make an outline. A lot of professional writers (Stephen King and Dean Koontz included) recommend never making outlines. Nevertheless, if you want to get it done in one month, you’re going to have a difficult time if you don’t make an outline, for reasons which will become apparent in a moment. It’s okay to outline everything mentally as long as your memory is superb, but I recommend writing it down. Be as creative as you can, and make the outline as detailed as possible.
Step three: Write (all the time)
The final step of the process is writing. It’s simple mathematics: if you want to write a 300 page book in thirty days you will need to turn out ten pages a day. If you spend the first week planning, or thinking about how wonderful it will be once you win a Pulitzer prize, then you will need to turn out fifteen pages a day. It should now be quite obvious why outlining everything is so critical.
That’s really all there is to it. If you want to write a novel in a month, the most important thing you can do is simply write. Being an author is a job, and just like every other job the fundamental aspect by which things get done, and by which money is produced is hard work.