The Six Month Novel Writing Plan by Caitlin Jans

 

I think sometimes people need to hear the same thing numerous times before it sinks into their head. I can’t say there is nothing new in this book, but what I like about it and why I would recommend it is because of the author has an awesome delivery. The tone of this book is to the point and easy to follow. She does not waste time with long explanations about why something works. It was a quick read and her ideas are very easy to follow for any writer at any level. Books like this help motivate me to “git er dun”.

 

 

 

 

Most authors have heard of National Novel Writing Month, also known as NaNoWriMo, a novel writing challenge to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. Many famous authors, including John Green and Rainbow Rowell, have participated.

But for many writers who work full time, writing a novel in one month is difficult, if not impossible. Before I had a child or a full-time job, I completed NaNoWriMo twice.

Both times I participated in NaNoWriMo I really enjoyed the process, but I was forced to type at such a pace that both books required a great deal of copy and content editing. I made many typos per page, regularly contradicted myself, and filled the novels with many plot holes. After November, I never managed to make it very far past the first draft because of the amount of work required in terms of editing.

Now that I have a full-time job, a child, a husband, and any number of writing projects on the go, NaNoWriMo is unfeasible. But even if I had the time to do it, I am not sure it is the right challenge for me. It generates a lot of very raw material without giving the writer any time to edit. I thought I could write a much better novel if I had more time to edit as I wrote but still had a strict “must finish by” date.
I believe one of the enemies of novel writing is not having a strict deadline.  If I spend too much time writing a novel I often forget most of the details and plot that were covered in the beginning, so the start of the novel and the end do not merge. I then have to go back and edit large swaths of writing.

I have also noticed that writers who don’t set deadlines for themselves often end up spending a lot more time working on their novels, and many never finish their novels at all. One of my friends just finished his first draft of his first novel – it took him ten years to write that first draft. Another friend has been writing for almost two decades and has yet to complete her novel.
Even if you don’t end up following my plan or making your own plan, at least take this away from this book – create a deadline for yourself! It is important to stick to deadlines. Even famous authors with established fan bases struggle with this. George R.R. Martin, the author of Game of Thrones, is infamous for announcing when his next book is coming out and then delaying it by years.

I gave myself six months to write a novel and outlined a loose schedule – which appears later in this book. I was able to complete not just a first draft of the novel but also a second draft during that time. Only after the third draft was I able to come up with a name for it, The Orphan Smugglers. In just six months, I wrote a novel from scratch that I am very happy with.

The Orphan Smugglers is 63,000 words in length, which is much closer to the length of most published novels than NaNoWriMo’s 50,000-word goal.

This book, The Six-Month Novel-Writing Plan, started out as an article, but I received a great deal of positive feedback and so many questions about it, that I have expanded it into an eBook. While the initial article was just a modified version of this introduction and a very basic version of the plan itself, this eBook gives a more detailed plan and covers all sorts of important details that will help you execute the plan, such as: what you need to do before month one, tips for modifying the plan to suit your personal needs, and many more important pieces of information.
The Six-Month Novel-Writing Plan that lead to the creation of The Orphan Smugglers has already changed my life, even though the book hasn’t been published. The experience itself was so enjoyable and so productive that I could not be more grateful for it. It enabled me to be a parent and a writer. It allowed me to complete the most polished rough draft I have ever written. I really hope The Six-Month Novel-Writing Plan changes your life as well.

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