Saturday, January 07, 2012

The 90-day novel by Alan Watt

I LOVE books on writing. Some writers couldn't be bothered with them. They need, come hell or high water, to forge ahead in their own way, in their own time. Me, I guess I'm a wimp. I love having a professional, published author in my life (so to speak), looking over my shoulder, giving me tips, encouraging me, helping me to pull my dream toward me. In this case, to begin to discover the next story I want to tell myself. The next novel I want to write.

Alan Watt helped me to do this--sketch out the possible scenes for an entire novel--in 40 hrs' time. He claims writers can plan and finish writing a rough draft of an entire novel in 90 days. He takes you through the process day-by-day.

The first 30 days are planning days, in which he expects you to spend two hours each day planning your novel, based on questions to ask your hero and your antagonist. I busted through the first 30 days last week. Good lord, I was so inspired, I managed to write up 13,000 words of notes about my characters, possible scenes, and where those scenes might appear in the novel. I have never in my whole life written so many words in a week. It helped that it was a three-day work week at the library, with a four-day weekend on one end and now, with my Fridays off, a three-day weekend on the other.

I have just printed up my notes--24 pages' worth, and am going to do some further scene-building, this time using tips learned from Holly Lisle, before launching into the rough draft. But in one week, using Watt's book, I sketched out my entire story. Seriously. Not only that, but I cannot wait to begin writing it. Do I sound dazed? I am. Dazed and delighted.

What methods do you use to jump start your imagination? How do you go about planning a new book?


  1. That's so great! It's true that different things work for different people and it's great when you find what works for you. When I need a jumpstart, I'll play "what if" or "maybe." My husband and I will brainstorm what if ideas and almost always something comes up. Then I'll sketch out what might happen in the first few chapters. From there I write a truly dreadful first draft and then I'm started.

  2. You're not at all a 'wimp' for loving these books. I have an office full of them! As writers, we should never stop learning new methods and skills; by reading these books you're looking to progress, to become the best writer you can be. No shame in that!

  3. I love to read books on writing! Unfortunately I tend to do more reading about writing rather than write! I hope to remedy that this month when I take an online travel writing class

  4. "Dazed and delighted." What a wonderful state to be in! Watt's book sounds great, and may be just what I need. Right now what I have is files of research and notes begging me to find the story that's down in there somewhere :-)

  5. Happy New Year!
    Hope it is off to a great start.



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