How to Write a Novel in 30 Days, The Series

Screen shot 2013-05-15 at 12.11.10 PM

You’ve decided you want to write a novel. 

You have a huge imagination and stories in your mind that are waiting to be told. You’ve told your friends and family you’re going to do this. They aren’t surprised because you’re the creative sort. You have a great idea and the characters are well-defined in your mind. You’ve thought about the subplots and the ending and know how your characters are going to grow and change. You sit your butt in the chair and for a few days you write like a maniac.

Then something happens. Things change. You get sick. Your car dies. You have to work more hours. Life happens and you think, I don’t have time to write.

Or, you sit at the keyboard and the words don’t come. You get stuck and think, why did I tell anyone and everyone I was writing a novel? I can’t write. There are too many things getting in the way, and besides, my writing sucks.

Screen shot 2013-05-15 at 12.08.37 PM

Photo compliment of

Does this sound familiar?

Author Natalie Golberg says:

“Sometimes people say to me, “I want to write, but I have five kids, a full-time job, a wife who beats me, a tremendous debt to my parents,” and so on. I say to them, “There is no excuse. If you want to write, write. This is your life. You are responsible for it. You will not live forever. Don’t wait. Make the time now, even if it is ten minutes once a week.”

“The aim is to burn through to first thoughts, to the place where energy is unobstructed by social politeness or the internal censor, to the place where you are writing what your mind actually sees and feels, not what it thinks it should see or feel.”


Jim Denney, author, blogger, and friend, did a guest post a while ago on HOW to WRITE FAST. Viewers visit his post at this blog more than any other post here. I’m amazed at how many people type in the GOOGLE search bar: How to write fast.

Obviously, this is something many people want to learn how to do. I decided to make a Power Point presentation and teach How to Write a Novel in 30 Days at our local library. Jim gave me permission to use his notes, and I added some of my own too. (Thank you, Jim.)  The presentation was a success and taught a few writers how to write their first drafts FAST. I call these FAST DRAFTS because that’s what they are. They are the first draft of your novel and the goal is to write them FAST. (Susie May Warren at My Book Therapy calls them FAST DRAFTS too.)

A fast draft is the first draft of your novel. It’s not one you want to share with anyone, but it gives you bragging rights that you’ve written the words, and it gives you the bare bones of a novel to work with. Yes, there will be many edits after, but for the sake of flushing out the novel–the first draft is done ONLY if you can plow through it until the end.

How do you do this?

One word at a time.

But what if the words don’t come?

There are certain problems many writers encounter that make them FREEZE and they never finish writing their first drafts. The only reason writers fail is because they quit writing. Don’t let this happen to you.

Below is my first tip that will help UNSTICK you. Please look for more tips coming soon. To find the other tips in this series click on each one: Tip #2 Setting Goals HERE, Tip #3 Which Scene Should You Write HERE, and Tip  #4 Distractions HERE,

Tip #1

Create your inciting incident. Something has to happen TO your main character that sets him/her on a journey. Her normal status quo will be disrupted by something or someone. In The Hunger Games, the movie starts with Katniss in her ordinary world, but when she volunteers to go to the Games in her sister’s place, everything changes. That’s her inciting incident. Find yours.

Inciting Incident Wikipedia definition: The inciting incident is the point of the plot that begins the conflict. It is the event that catalyzes the protagonist to go into motion and to take action. Rising action involves the buildup of events until the climax.

To move your story forward you must have something happen to the protagonist that sets him or her on their story goal journey to find an equilibrium in their new “life.”


Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address:


  1. "B" says:

    Hi Michelle!
    I love this blog so much! it has every question I could ever ask and more! I could spend days reading each article!

    I just want to know how to begin or where a good starting point is to see if I could even make it as an author? I have a ton of ideas for YA that I have never heard of and I have no idea where to possibly begin. Its almost so far over my head that I have discouraged myself! Ha! I have started my first ever real draft, (I usually just write down a short story to pass time and let my creative juice flow, I just feel at home writing or typing), but I’m worried that if I send it to someone to read (if I ever get that far… and I really don’t know where to start with that…) I will get even more discouraged and give up completely if they don’t like it… what is your advice for me? where did you begin?

    • Hi B –
      Oh. My. God. I just saw your comment today–days after you posted it. Please forgive me.
      You poor thing. Every author/writer has had those doubts. Don’t let them make you stop. We all started somewhere. Don’t let fear get in the way. Write the story all the way through from beginning to end. Along the way your writing will improve. Your creativity will shine if you don’t think about anyone reading it. The trick is to think NO ONE but you will read it. For now. Eventually that will change. With time and editing it’ll happen. But first you must let your COOL ideas flow. I’m excited when I hear you say you’ve never heard of the idea you’re writing about. And I love YA. Please keep going. I’ll be your cheerleader, your encourager, okay?
      Make a word count goal. Reach it. Don’t think quality right now. Think quantity.
      Hugs. I’m thrilled you’re finding our site helpful.

    • WritingBoy says:

      B, you really need to read and write more. You’re living all of your fears and not moving on with the writing process. The two are very different spheres in which to live. Just saying…


  1. book printer says:

    book printer

    How to Write a Novel in 30 Days, The Series

Please share your random thoughts.


Thank you for stopping by!