I’ve wanted to write a novel for at least 20 years now. I’ve had a lot of false starts. First, I thought I had to read a lot in order to write good fiction, so I read Kafka, Hemingway, Bukowsky, Asimov, Rand, Bradbury, Heinlein and a ton of those cheap paperbacks that you can read in a night. I still couldn’t convince myself I was ready to write so I burned through books on fiction writing. I started plotting out a neat novel idea but frittered away my momentum.
Screw it! Just write already!
I just gave up for awhile, until last year when I said to myself “Screw it! Just write already!” I’ve been thinking and talking about doing it for so long that a big chunk of my self-esteem is now wrapped up this goal of writing a successful novel. I can not fail. So I wrote. And I made some progress. I signed up for NaNoWriMo 2007 but broke down after writing the beginning. I didn’t know what to do next. Back to learning how to write fiction, and for real this time (!), I decided, so that’s what I am doing now.
Here’s my plan
Here’s my plan. I know I won’t write a bestseller by the end of the year (well, I might!) but at least I will be making progress. I plan to write a SciFi-suspense-political thriller that will keep you turning the page all night long. Once you have recovered from that marketing-speak, check out my plan below and let me know how unrealistic it is.
For the last few months I have been reading all the how-to-write-a-novel books I can get my hands on, including “Plot & Structure” by James Scott Bell, “Writing the Breakout Novel” by Donald Maass, “Immediate Fiction” by Jerry Cleaver and many others. This is the phase where I get the basics straight. I plan to finish this part by January 31. Clearly I won’t have learned everything I need to know by then but I have to cut it off at some point.
Research and Planning
February will be my research and planning stage. I’m going to introspect about what I want to write. I’ll create setting, characters and plot that are absolutely rife with conflict. I’ll plot the character arcs, the plot and subplot arcs and mabe even an ark arc if I have time. I’m not a seat-of-the-pants kind of guy. I need structure. A month is very little time to do this, I know, but I already have a good piece of the research done, and I just plan to plot the big steps, without going into complete detail.
In March I plan to write the first draft of Act I. I’m aiming for 26,000 words. A lot of that will be low grade horse manure, but at least I will have words on a page. Then I’m giving myself May, June and July to write the ever-challenging Act II. I’m aiming for 52,000 words here. Finally, in August, I will write Act III, another 26,000 words. This is just a first draft so I am going to get prolific and write without criticizing myself. That will be hard for me, but I have to aim high!
During September I plan to securely store my shiny sheaf of toilet paper in a secure facility while I cool off. I’d like to have something reasonably readable by December 15. That’s not a long time to polish a turd, but I will try.
Since my name is not Dean Koontz, you won’t be seeing this book on bookstore shelves or on Amazon in January 2009. Instead I plan to publish online, and free of charge, 2 short chapters per week for as long as it takes. I estimate a year. If that doesn’t get me a book deal and a million-dollar advance, at least I will get the feedback from readers that I need to take my writing to the next level.
It’s not a perfect plan, but it’s my blueprint for writing a kick-ass novel in a year and then publishing it online for publicity and feedback. I want my readers to be totally engrossed in the story, so I’m going to put a lot of work into this – a scheduled 20 hours per week. I want people on the edge of their seats clicking endlessly for the next page until they reach the end. I’m a novice writer so this is ambitious, but that’s how I like to play it baby. :)
Just how much of that horse manure have i been smoking? Let me know what you think.
- The Hal Spacejock Series: How to write a novel
- How to Write a Novel: The Snowflake Method
- How to Write a Novel in Two Months
- Media Circus : How to write a novel
- wikiHow: How to Write a Novel
- How to Write a Novel (Part 1) (DeepGenre)
- Theophrast.us – Chris Howard’s Writing Blog: How do you write a novel