The energy behind Nanowrimo is so contagious, it is impossible to resist. The premise is to complete 50,000 words in the month of November to “win.” In order to reach that 50,000 word goal, a lot of writing gets included that might be considered “thinking about the book’s ideas on the page” rather than solely the story itself. I’m already writing a novel, so I don’t want to completely stream-of-concious write to achieve the word count, but I love to sign up to get the supportive emails and to feel the camaraderie with others aiming at the big goal. My personal goal is to write daily on my novel at about 750 words a day. To make the big goal, it is about 1,700 a day, unless you take time off for Thanksgiving, etc.
Here’s where Alan Watt’s “the 90-day novel” comes in. This book is a wunderkind. Basically he takes you on a 90-day journey to writing your novel. Each day is a letter to you focussing on plotting, holding ideas loosely, character development or plain encouragement. The letters are bundled into themes and each week begins a new theme. Each week also corresponds to either the first, second or third act. You work your way through the novel with daily encouragement and a sense of where you are going.
For instance, in Week Seven, I know that I am writing toward the end of Act One where my character will make a decision. I am not held to “plot” but the structure allows me to keep the novel going toward a direction that I have determined by finding out what my character most truly wants. What is so special about this book is that Watt allows that the book is inside of us. There is a story wanting to be developed and that we have to be careful not to trample all over it. I want to say this is the best book on novel writing I have ever read, but I’m not going to say it…yet. Sometime next year, I hope to be finished with both “the 90-day novel” and “the 90-day rewrite” and then I’ll let you know how much I ended up using it.
To make “the 90-day novel” work for Nanowrimo, you will need to read more than a few pages a day. 50,000 words is about half or 3/4 of the way toward a finished novel length of 80,000 to 100,000 words. So maybe you plan to work through week six to week nine. Signing up at Nanowrimo will already get you a lot of great advice but writing at the Nanowrimo pace is a marathon. It doesn’t hurt to have another coach at the ready. Reading the daily letters from “the 90-day novel” at the beginning of another day of passionate writing will help you feel grounded and encouraged, maybe all the way to 50,000 words .
More about Nanowrimo is at….http://nanowrimo.org/
More about “the 90-day novel” is here….http://lawriterslab.com/