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How to Write a Novel in Six Months: Week 9 Drafting Update

Updated on September 16, 2008

This was the first week of drafting my novel and boy was it exciting! After mapping out a plan, getting the basic structure and characters on paper, and researching agents in my genre, it was nice to sit down and write! The week had ups and downs. I learned things that caused me to look at my plan again and I learned things about my characters and story I hadn't yet known. Overall it was a great experience. Here are the highlights.

Photo: nuanc,Flickr
Photo: nuanc,Flickr

Moving Beyond the Terror

I cannot lie - I was terrified to get to this point. Up until now it's all been planning, analyzing and strategizing. While that seemed to be going well, I still harbored the doubt that once I sat down to write nothing would come out. I was ecstatic to find just the opposite was true. It really did work out for me that more constraints resulted in easier (and I hope better) writing.

It's always difficult for me to judge the quality of my writing, but what I'm noticing this time around is that the craft is coming with much less effort. I find myself much better able to focus on one moment in the story at a time, which is resulting in my writing a lot fewer odd constructions or physical impossibilities. I think it's because my mind is free to stay in the story without the burden of worrying what's next. I'm not wondering how a particular character ultimately fits into the overall story or how to tie in a certain action to the plot. I don't want to jinx myself, but having all the structure in place has almost made writing easy. Characterization is coming out at the logical times and even when things get a little out of order or I need to go back and add or subtract a detail, I don't get overwhelmed. I know I always have my map to refer back to.

Adjusting Expectations

I really had no way of knowing how many pages a day was a realistic goal. I set out to write 40 pages a week so that I'd end up at 400 pages in ten weeks. What I found was that 5 pages a day is a good goal for me. If I have extra time, I may be able to crank out more, but 5 is just enough to stretch me without making me feel a failure. I also realized (accepted) the fact that weekends aren't really ever going to be a time for me to catch up. We just have too much going on as a family for me to hole away for a few hours on a Saturday afternoon. So I adjusted my weekly quota from 40 pages to 25 pages.

This adds 6 weeks to my plan. Not too back in the scheme of things. Since I'm not keen on renaming this series How to Write a Novel in 7 ½ Months, I've decided to forego the originally planned sanity break altogether and re-purpose the final weeks. Instead of trying to get a first edit done in the 6 months, I'll be shooting for the first draft only. I had also planned a week to work on transitions, but because I'm writing the sections in chronological order, I don't think this will be a big area.

You'll just have to come back for the next series on revising the novel!

How to Write a Novel in Six Months, One Writer's Journey

Week 1, Mapping Out the Six Month Plan

Week 2, Resources on Structure

Week 3, Index Cards Are My Friends

Week 4, Sketching Characters

Week 5, Researching Agents

Week 6, Outlining

Week 7, Detail Scene Beats

Week 8, Writing the Synopsis


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  • mentor82 profile image

    mentor82 9 years ago from Miami, FL

    Nicely done. I am not a current writer but thinking of picking the habit back up again. You have inspired me to awaken that part of me that has been sleeping for years.

  • qlcoach profile image

    Gary Eby 9 years ago from Cave Junction, Oregon

    Very nice job about our craft. Thank you for sharing this Hub! Feel free to see how I try to help others in new ways too. Sincerely: Gary Eby, author and therapist.