How to write a novel in 30 days

betty ming liu Art, Inspiration, Relationships 20 Comments

November is National Novel Writing Month. And the celebration of this event is very specific: You must sit down and complete a 50,000-word fiction manuscript by Nov. 30. The idea is so insane that I definitely want to do it!

For the past few Novembers, I’ve sat longingly on the sidelines. There was always a very good reason to hold off. I mean, really. Can you imagine the logistics involved? Could I really crank out 2,000 words a day, every day, for an entire month? Could I accept the fact that the novel will suck?

Now we’re onto the genius of this event. A bad novel is the goal here. It’s not about quality; let’s just get the damn thing done. There will be plenty of time to rewrite later. Or the opposite might happen…maybe getting my concepts down on the page will be enough. Maybe that’s all the release they need, which would free me to go on with my life.

For those of you new to NaNoWriMo, it began in 1999 with 21 people in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Fast forward a dozen years to 2010, when 200,530 people from 40 countries joined in on the fun. The history of NaNoWriMo is on its website. Check out and you’ll find an online community that offers cyberspace forums as well as hundreds of real world chapters. There are also instruction tools for teachers of students in every age group, advice, pep talks and more.

My November project will be my third novel. I’ve written two the old-fashioned way: Alone, in a room, tormented by the confusion of my life. The first one was a Chinese herbal ghost thriller. After I finished it, I got divorced. The second one was about a middle-aged Chinese-American woman who just got divorced. Both manuscripts are sitting in my closet, which is where they’ll stay.

But there is a character from both works who wants out. And she will journey with me next month. That’s right Mom, we’re going for a ride!

It’s been nearly two years since my mother died. Yes, I truly miss her. No, I don’t want her physically back in this world. Ugh, if she was here, she’d make me crazy all over again. But having her visit as a fictional character — that might actually be dandy. She could hang out for an entire month, um, I think. 

So… anyone with me on this adventure? This will be quite a creative experience. For an idea of what it can be like, there’s a great post on — “NaNoWriMo: The Right Rite of Passage for Writers.”

And if you’ve already been there and done that, please do tell. Your advice and insight would be most welcome.  :)


Comments 20

  1. I checked out the NaNoWriMo site. It’s a lot of fun! I noticed that the same organization also sponsors similar contest in the spring called SCRIPT FRENZY. This contest is for stageplays and screenplays. There are even contests geared towards children in grade school. Teachers may want to get their students writing books or plays. There’s something for everyone to write!

  2. Post

    skye, there seem to be any number of ways to cut this november adventure. i saw this post on which suggests that bloggers use the month to draft 50 blog posts that could be used over the course of a year. of course, these are “evergreens,” timeless topics. but just think what a relief it would be for a blogger to bank that much inventory!

    here’s the link:

  3. Pingback: Writing about my mom makes me cry

  4. Pingback: Just broke up with my bf of 14 months. Sad yet illuminating. Well, at least I now have a better idea of what I want in a relationship.

  5. Pingback: Get help to start that novel

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *