How To Write a Novel in a Month

Posted on April 17, 2018

by April S

NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, began in 1999 and takes place each November challenging writers to complete a novel in 30 days. The novel must include at least 50,000 words, which amounts to producing about 1,667 per day for a month.

You may be wondering – Is it even possible to write a novel in 30 days? According to NaNoWriMo hundreds of novels have been traditionally published including “Water for Elephants“ by Sara Gruen, “The Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern and “Cinder” by Marissa Meyer to name a few.

NaNoWriMo Mission Statement:

We believe in the transformational power of creativity. We provide the structure, community and encouragement to help people find their voices, achieve creative goals and build new worlds—on and off the page.

While November may be months away, we hope you’ll start thinking about writing now, find inspiration, read more about NaNoWriMo, check out some of our novel writing resources and hatch a plan to make your next novel a reality.

Novel Writing Resources

The Complete Handbook of Novel Writing: Everything You Need to Know to Create and Sell Your Work from the Editors of Writer's Digest (3rd edition)

The Complete Handbook of Novel Writing: Everything You Need to Know to Create and Sell Your Work” from the Editors of Writer’s Digest (3rd edition)

In The Complete Handbook of Novel Writing, 3rd Edition, you’ll learn from established writers about how to make your novel a reality. Discover techniques and strategies for generating ideas, connecting with readers emotionally, and finding inspiration you need to finish your work.

This fully revised edition includes an updated marketing section for navigating the unique challenges and possibilities of the evolving literary marketplace.

Available in Print and eBook.

Bring Your Fiction to Life: Crafting Three-Dimensional Stories with Depth and Complexity by Karen S. Wiesner

Bring Your Fiction to Life: Crafting Three-Dimensional Stories with Depth and Complexity” by Karen S. Wiesner

Craft a story that towers above the rest. You know it when you read it: In page after page and scene after scene, a truly engrossing novel has qualities that set it apart. Authentic characters, a well-rounded plot, and immersive settings work in harmony to create a three-dimensional experience–one you can practically step inside and explore. But while you can recognize this work when you read it, writing it can be much more challenging.

“Bring Your Fiction to Life” teaches you how to build a solid narrative structure and layer in lush, textured scenes to create a story that rings true. You’ll learn how to:

  • Master the three-dimensional aspects of characters, plots, and settings using detailed sketches that define the past, present, and future aspects of each element.
  • Develop complex opening, resolution, and bridge scenes that expertly lead readers through your fictional world. Construct and analyze an outline for your manuscript, using tools and techniques to analyze scenes that lack dimensionality.
  • Brainstorm, research, and draft efficiently and effectively, and juggle multiple projects with ease.

Packed with story-development charts, worksheets, and checklists, Bring Your Fiction to Life shows you how to craft a vivid story world that readers will instantly recognize as remarkable.

Available in eBook.

Fast Fiction: A Guide to Outlining and Writing a First-Draft Novel in Thirty Days by Denise Jaden

Fast Fiction: A Guide to Outlining and Writing a First-Draft Novel in Thirty Days” by Denise Jaden

Writers flock to National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) each November because it provides a procrastination-busting deadline. But only a fraction of the participants meet their goal. Denise Jaden was part of that fraction, writing first drafts of two subsequently published novels in that tight time frame.

In “Fast Fiction,” she shows other writers how to do what she did, step-by-step, writer to writer. To ensure success, her program begins a month before the month of drafting. During this prep period writers think through plot, theme, characters, setting, etc. Then Jaden provides day-by-day coaching for the thirty-day drafting period. After writers “race to the finish,” they are not left high and dry. Jaden’s “After the Draft” revision tips allow writers to determine if a draft is not just workable but compelling, so that they don’t waste months or years developing it. Her camaraderie and skill allow Jaden to both instruct and inspire.

Available in eBook.

Write Your Novel in a Month: How to Complete a First Draft in 30 Days and What to do Next by Jeff Gerke

Write Your Novel in a Month: How to Complete a First Draft in 30 Days and What to do Next” by Jeff Gerke

One of these days, I’m going to sit down and write that novel … Everyone thinks about doing it, yet most people who do start a novel end up stalling after a few chapters.

Where do these would-be novelists go wrong?

  • Are the characters dull and cliched?
  • Did the story arc collapse?
  • Did they succumb to a dreaded bout of “writer’s block”?
  • Or maybe it was all just taking too long?

These problems used to stop writers in their tracks, but nothing will get in your way after reading Write Your Novel in a Month. Author and instructor Jeff Gerke has created the perfect tool to show you how to prepare yourself to write your first draft in as little as 30 days. With Jeff’s help, you will learn how to organize your ideas, create dynamic stories, develop believable characters, and flesh out the idea narrative for your novel–and not just for the rapid-fire first draft. Jeff walks you through the entire process, from initial idea to the important revision stage, and even explains what to do with your novel once you’ve finished. Whether you are participating in National Novel Writing Month or you’re simply hoping to complete a draft over winter break or your vacation, this book covers the entire scope of writing a novel and lays out exactly what you need to know to get it done fast and right.

Available in eBook.

Write-A-Thon: Write Your Book in 26 Days (and live to tell about it) by Rochelle Melander

Write-A-Thon: Write Your Book in 26 Days (and live to tell about it)” by Rochelle Melander

Find the focus, energy, and drive you need to start and finish your book.

Everyone has dreamed of writing a book, but so many start writing only to stall out due to writers block, mental fatigue, and other challenges. “Write-A-Thon” helps you overcome those stumbling blocks and complete your book once and for all. And you don’t have to type away for years on end. Here’s a plan that’ll help you write your book in twenty-six days! “Write-A-Thon” gives you the tools, advice, and inspiration you need to succeed before, during, and after your writing race. Solid instruction, positive psychology, and inspiration from marathon runners will give you the momentum to take each step from here to the finish line.

Start out well prepared:

  • Learn how to train your attitude, your writing, and your life and plan your novel or nonfiction book
  • Maintain your pace: Get advice and inspiration to stay motivated and keep writing
  • Bask in your accomplishment: Find the best ways to recover and move forward once the marathon is over and you have a completed manuscript in hand

Writing a book in twenty-six days may seem impossible especially if you don’t write full-time but in “Write-A-Thon,” Rochelle Melander will teach you the life skills, performance techniques and writing tools you need to finish your manuscript in less than a month guaranteed!

Available in eBook.

Writing Your Novel From Start to Finish: A Guidebook for the Journey by Joseph Bates

Writing Your Novel From Start to Finish: A Guidebook for the Journey” by Joseph Bates

Equip yourself for the novel-writing journey!Starting a novel is exciting, but finishing it–that’s the real challenge. The journey from beginning to end is rife with forks in the road and dead ends that lead many writers off course. With “Writing Your Novel from Start to Finish: A Guidebook for the Journey,” you’ll navigate the intricacies of crafting a complex work of fiction and complete the journey with confidence and precision.

To maximize your creativity and forward momentum, each chapter offers:

  • Techniques to break down the elements of the novel–from character-building to plotting and pacing
  • Mile Markers to anticipate and overcome roadblocks like ineffective dialogue and “the unchanged protagonist”
  • Guidelines for Going Deeper to explore and implement more nuanced aspects of storytelling, such as finding your voice and the role of theme
  • Try-It-Out Exercises and 27 interactive worksheets that help elevate your writing.

No matter your level of experience or where you are in your project, “Writing Your Novel from Start to Finish” provides the instruction, inspiration, and guidance you need to complete your journey successfully.

Available in Print and eBook.

The Writer's Compass: From Story Map to Finished Draft in 7 Stages by Nancy Ellen Dodd

The Writer’s Compass: From Story Map to Finished Draft in 7 Stages” by Nancy Ellen Dodd

Map Out Your Idea and Finish Your Story in 7 Stages!

How do you tell the story you want to tell and capture your audience’s heart? Regardless of genre or format, to tell your story effectively you must first sort through all the ideas you’ve been toying with-organize them, whip them into shape, and turn them into great writing. “The Writer’s Compass” is here to show you the way. This guide to better writing teaches you to visualize your story’s progress by creating a story map that helps you see all the different components of your story, where these components are going, and, perhaps most importantly, what key components are missing.

You’ll learn to:

  • Develop your ideas into a finished story by working through your writing in 7 thoughtful stages
  • Evaluate and improve your work by mapping out your story’s progress and structure
  • Assess your story’s strengths and weaknesses so you can write the story you want to tell

Whether you’re writing a novel, a short story, a play, or a screenplay, the 7 stage approach of “The Writers Compass” allows you to focus on one aspect of your story at a time-including forming and developing ideas, building strong structures, creating vibrant characters and structuring scenes and transitions.

Troubleshooting Your Novel by Steven James

Troubleshooting Your Novel: Essential Techniques for Identifying and Solving Manuscript Problems” by Steven James

Take your story to the next level of excellence!

You’ve completed the first draft of your novel–now what? Chances are, it’s not perfect…at least not yet. In order to increase your chances of getting a literary agent, selling your manuscript to a publisher, or garnering an audience for your self-published work, you need targeted, practical instruction on tackling the problem areas and weak spots in your story. You need “Troubleshooting Your Novel.”

In this hand-on, easy-to-use guide, award-winning author Steven James provides helpful techniques and checklists, time-saving tricks of the trade, and hundreds of questions for manuscript analysis and revision.

You’ll learn how to:

  • ADJUST elements of story progression, from causality, tension, and setbacks to plot twists, climaxes, and endings.
  • DEVELOP authentic, riveting characters by exploring their attitudes, desires, beliefs, and more.
  • LEARN narrative techniques for elements such as dialogue, flashbacks, suspense, voice, subtext, and flow.
  • ENSURE reader engagement by aligning with their expectations, fulfilling promises, and instilling trust.
  • CHECK issues with context and continuity.You owe your book more than just a polish and a proofread.

Strengthen your story, prepare it for the marketplace, and make it the best it can be with “Troubleshooting Your Novel.”

21 Ways To Double Your Productivity, Improve Your Craft & Get Published! A Field Guide for Writers by Sara Connell

21 Ways To Double Your Productivity, Improve Your Craft & Get Published! A Field Guide for Writers” by Sara Connell

Anyone who’s ever given serious thought to writing will benefit from this boot camp in a book! Sara Connell shares the exact techniques she used to go from unpublished writer to successful author with an agent, book contract, publication in national magazines and a nomination for Elle magazine Book of the Year for her first book, “Bringing in Finn.”

For writers, “21 Ways” is like having a personal writing coach, guiding you through the writing and publishing process, stretching you into your genius and leading you to your greatest success. Aspiring, emerging and established professional writers will benefit from Sara Connell’s coaching expertise on developing author confidence, effective craft strategies and insider tips to get published.

Going beyond the typical recommendations to write every day and celebrate rejections, “21 Ways to Double Your Productivity, Improve Your Craft & Get Published!” offers writers a wealth of innovative strategies to achieve success and creative fulfillment as an author in today’s publishing landscape.

How to Write a Book Proposal: The Insider's Step-by-Step Guide to Proposals that Get You Published by Jody Rein and Michael Larsen

How to Write a Book Proposal: The Insider’s Step-by-Step Guide to Proposals that Get You Published” by Jody Rein and Michael Larsen

The Essential Resource for Selling Your Book!

If you want to publish a book, you must present it to agents and publishers with a knock-your-socks-off proposal. Whether you’re seeking a traditional press to publish your self-published book or trying to win over an agent for your graphic novel, memoir, or nonfiction title, you need an irresistible proposal. The better your proposal, the better the editor, publisher and deal you will get. Nailing your proposal requires an understanding of how publishers work and how to brand yourself, build a platform and structure your book. You’ll learn it all in this breezy top-to-bottom revision of the classic 100,000-copy best-seller.

Inside “How to Write a Book Proposal,” you will find:

  • Examples of successful proposals that earned six-figure deals
  • Guidance from agents, publishers, and writers
  • Ways to customize your proposal
  • Strategies for proposals in the Digital Age
  • Effective structures for narrative writers
  • A list of the “Top Ten Proposal Killers”

This sassy, thorough guide from industry professionals Jody Rein and Michael Larsen will become your go-to for advice about publishing.

Novel & Short Story Writer's Market

Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market

“Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market 2018” is the only resource you need to get your short stories, novellas, and novels published. This edition of NSSWM features hundreds of updated listings for book publishers, literary agents, fiction publications, contests, and more, and each listing includes contact information, submission guidelines, and other essential tips.

Inside “Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market,” you’ll find valuable tips for:

  • How to take your readers on a roller-coaster ride by mastering the art of the unexpected
  • Weaving foreshadowing and echoing into your story
  • Discovering the DNA – dialogue, narrative, and action – dwelling inside all memorable characters
  • Gaining insight from best-selling and award-winning authors, including Steve Berry, Liane Moriarty, Junot Díaz, and more

Available in Print and eBook.

Writing Tips – Articles

How to Write the First Draft of a Novel in 30 Days – The Guardian

5 Steps to Writing a Novel in 30 Days – Grammarly

20 Ways to Write a Book in 30 Days – Inc.

30 Tips for Writing a Book in 30 Days – Writer’s Digest

Writing a Novel in a Month: Is it Possible and Should You Try? – NY Book Editors

How to Finish Writing a Novel in 30 Days – Bustle

Toledo Library Writing Blog Posts

Writers on Writing: Tips for Aspiring Writers

5 Tips to Improve Your Writing Skills

Top 5 Reasons to Join a Writing Group

Memoir Writing Resources

Learn How to Publish a Book

Developing Characters That Resonate With Readers

The Art of Storytelling: 5 Tips on Crafting Compelling Storylines

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