Any writer who wants to be successful needs to continue their professional development, irrespective of where they are in their writing career. Established authors, as well as beginner authors, need to refresh their skills and learn new tricks to keep their creative juices flowing.
I find the webinars of Writer’s Digest University an excellent source of courses and literature to grow myself as a writer. The latest webinar I attended, called “Write Your Novel in 90 Days,” was presented by Dr Sarah Domet. Sarah is the author of 90 Days to your Novel. You can read more about her illustrious career on her website http://sarahdomet.com/
I live tweeted part of the webinar and today I’ll expand on those points. Novelists, according to Sarah, are not crazy arty types. Well, not all of them! A large majority of writers are ordered, logical people with good organizational skills. And organisation is the main requirement of writing your novel in 90 days. Without planning, your novel is likely to meander off into the sunset without anything concrete being achieved.
Let’s take a closer look at planning a novel in advance:
• Set a definite start and end date for your novel
• Use an outline
• Assess marketability of your novel
• Write daily
Setting a Date: 90 days or 90 months, set a definite time period in which you want to complete your first draft. Stephen King says that 90 days is the ideal time period for the completion of a first draft. But we’re not all the master of horror. The key is to commit to any set period that suits your personality and life style, draft a detailed schedule and then hold yourself accountable for meeting those goals. Without a definite start and end date, your novel could end up like Casaubon’s great work in George Eliot’s Middlemarch: unfinished!
Use an Outline: It’s a myth that outlining is a restrictive process that stunts creativity. Rather, outlining promotes creativity. A good outline will show your story’s narrative arc and you can use it to work out any errors of logic before you begin to write, rather than wasting time on twists and turns that lead nowhere. Find an outlining method that suits your personality.
• If you’re a linear thinker you may prefer the traditional method, which details every scene, every character and every plot point in advance.
• If you’re a non-linear thinker, you may prefer the sign-post method. With this method you make loose notes—use cards or post-it notelets—providing just enough detail to keep you on target.
• A visual thinker, such as myself, would prefer the flow chart method. Using a bulletin board or a white board, you can create a physical representation of your novel.
Assess Marketability: You’re a writer, not a marketer. But it’s important that, before starting your masterpiece, you understand your market. This is different to writing what you think the readers want. No one can plan to write a best seller. Rather understand your themes and then assess which readers will be interested in such story and whether there is enough universal appeal to justify your efforts. Your great-aunt Mary might love to read the adventures of the family pup descended from a great-great-Grandfather’s first pet, but will the rest of the reading world care?
Write Daily: Forget inspiration. Rely on habit. Make time in your day to write something every day, or at least every other day. You’ll have to tell your family and friends about your writing goals. Let them know how important those goals are to you. Then make the necessary sacrifices and write! write! write!
You’ll be able to get more details on how to write your novel in 90 days by investing in Sarah Domet’s 90 Days to your Novel. Use this book as a reference and soon you’ll be writing the two most important words you’ll ever write: THE END!