I can’t remember how I stumbled on the enjoyable book No Plot No Problem by Chris Baty.
But I do remember it offered something no other writing guide had ever done before.
In detail more crazy than serious, it showed how to write a 50,000-word novel in a single month. That was 11 years ago. National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is still going strong.
As Baty pointed out, the first step to calling yourself a novelist was to actually write a novel. His “low stress, high velocity” solution got that bit out of the way in just 30 days.
Write a (bad) novel in just 30 days
So I took up the challenge, and every day hammered away at the keyboard.
I had a vague idea of where I was going, but Baty had been clear: plot and character were unnecessary. The important thing was to get the words down, and the novel written.
30 days later I’d done just that, and I was filled with enormous pride at the achievement.
There was just one problem. My novel was terrible.
In fact calling what I’d produced a “novel” would be to disgrace the very word.
But, I’d had a lot of fun. And it wasn’t difficult to see how a few tweaks would have made the month much more productive.
How to write a (good) novel in 30 days
For example, if I’d planned my story and had a better idea of things like plot and character, I would have written a better story. Or at least produced something I could work on and improve.
I also wouldn’t have spent quite so much time staring at the ceiling, wondering whether now was the time to introduce a random alien invasion into my story.
Luckily, anyone facing the same crisis now has a few options to fall back on.
How to get the best out of NaNoWriMo
There are hundreds of outlines to choose from on the Story Planner website, and all of them will help get your idea into shape, so you’re ready to get writing.
Register at Story Planner and you get two weeks of unlimited plans to try out completely free. That could be enough to get you ready for a month of frantic typing.
That gives you access to character outlines , structure plans, and various other tools that will help you plan, and then write your novel. It’s already been used by thousands of writers to get their novels started, planned, and written.
And that way you’ll avoid my fate, while still enjoying the whole NaNoWriMo experience.
So no idle time staring at the ceiling. And at the end of the month, you might just have a draft of your novel you can take pride in, and start treating as a serious piece of work.
To find out a little more about our Story Plans ahead of NaNoWriMo, check out our easy to use ‘Novel Launcher’ system, or look at our premium options for unlimited story plans for a year or more.
And, if you still prefer to head into NaNoWriMo like I did, with an old fashioned disregard for anything as serious as plot, then good luck. You’re still going to have terrific fun.
But if you get stuck, give those Story Plans another look.
Alternatively, throw in that random alien invasion I mentioned. It works every time.
National Novel Writing Month starts on November 1st.