1. guamyankee
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    guamyankee Contributing Member

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    Write Your Novel in 30 Days!

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by guamyankee, Feb 15, 2011.

    Not my words, but rather the title of a magazine that is on the shelves of bookstores, across the U.S., right now. The magazine is from a reputable publisher, more or less. I saw this today, and my opinion of the publisher dropped, on the spot.

    Sure, it is possible to do a rough draft in 30 days, but it is this really the road you want to send new writers down? Rather, it seems more like a way for the magazine to make a quick buck. No doubt, the magazine business is all about money, but where do you draw the line?

    How do you all feel about trying write a novel in 30 days?

    How much good info do you get from these writing magazines?

    ***Inside the magazine, it clearly states to not submit a rough draft to an agent***

    Here's a link about the magazine:

    http://blog.writersdigest.com/norules/2011/02/14/WorksheetsForWritingANovelIn30Days.aspx
     
  2. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Have you heard of National Novel Writing Month? The idea is that you crank out 50,000 words in the month of November - 50K isn't an entire novel in most cases, but it's about two-thirds of one.

    I personally find it better to plow my way through a novel, even though some parts suck, but finish and then go back to redo the bad parts. If I sit around forever trying to make it perfect, I won't finish.

    I finished a novel in December, and it was so plot-holey and full of incoherent jumps and "wtf" moments that I had to slice off all but the first 8,000 words and rewrite the damn thing. But I'm glad I went the route I did - even with the crappy version, at least I wrote it all the way through, and now that I have a solid idea of what to do with the plot, the rewrite is a breeze. If I'd said "no, I'll wait, I want to get it right," I'd still be mulling over it writing 500 words a day and getting nowhere; with 20-someting unfinished novels as it is, that's not something I need. :)

    Just my own experiences, of course. Now, if the publisher's idea is that you write the entire thing and actually send it to publishers at the end of the month, that's quite implausible.

    Oh, and writing mags? I don't really use them. A few years ago my aunt got me a year-long subscription to Writers' Digest, and I enjoyed the 12 mags I got from them. One article had a list of ways NOT to begin a story and I found it quite useful. On the other hand, lots of the time they tell you stuff you already know: "Find a place in your house that stimulates your creativity," "Writer's block happens to everyone" etc, and come on, how much help do people really get from that.
     
  3. guamyankee
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    guamyankee Contributing Member

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    When you read inside the magazine it becomes apparent they are talking about a rough draft. I know faster is better than slower with the rough draft, but 30 days just seems a little too fast to me.
     
  4. Acanthophis
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    Acanthophis ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) Contributor

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    ^That sounds like a fun thing to do, I'm going to try that come November.

    Did the publisher give any more specifics? Like getting it published in 30 days? It would be quite hard to do... rough draft, final draft, finding a publisher (unless you already have one) could take up time you need to write. It would probably be stressful if you were really serious about it (thank god I would never do something like that seriously - unless it had a big cash reward:D).
     
  5. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Schofield, want to do a 50K challenge with me in March?

    The OP clarified it didn't include publication, just a first-version run through.
     
  6. Kevin B
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    Some very famous writers have written much longer novels in a fraction of that time. Ray Bradbury, wrote 'Fahrenheit 451' in a little over nine days. Okay, it's not a particularly long novel at 192 pages - but nine days is still pretty impressive.

    But nine days is by no means a record. Bradbury was easily beaten by Stephen King (writing as Richard Bachman) who wrote one of his novels in just seven days. Interestingly, King started using his Bachman pen name because he was writing novels faster than his publisher was prepared to release them. One Stephen King novel per year was more than adequate, they said. The public won't accept more than that. So along came Mr Bachman, and King's productivity (and indeed wealth) doubled. At the rate of one book every seven days, King would have needed another 50 pen names to keep his publisher happy.

    But seven days is hardly a record either. One of the world's most prolific writers was the Belgian novelist Georges Simenon, creator of the police detective 'Maigret'. Simenon regularly produced up to 80 pages per day and could write a novel in just six days. And, yes, he too had a pen name that allowed him to publish more books. But for him, one pen name just wasn't enough; he had more than two dozen of them! During his lifetime Simenon wrote several hundred novels and novellas, as well as short stories, articles and autobiographical works. His famous detective 'Maigret' appears in 75 of his novels, and in a further 28 short stories.
     
  7. guamyankee
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    guamyankee Contributing Member

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    I'm starting to feel bad about my "don't feel like writing" day that I'm having.
    Thanks though, Kevin, for the informative and interesting response!
     
  8. HeinleinFan
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    HeinleinFan Banned

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    Look, you haven't actually told us about the content of the article. So we can't really judge it.

    If it is some sort of ad -- "Buy this program, write your novel in 30 days! Just $299.99 plus shipping!" -- then I would assume it's trying to take advantage of people.

    If it's a nonfiction article about events like NaNoWriMo, it's just journalism. No problem there.

    Or maybe it's a nonfiction article about writing myths. I mean, lots of people say "You can't write a novel in 30 days," by virtue of a) they haven't tried it , so it must be impossible, b) they haven't gone out of their way to look for exceptions. If they did, they'd learn that there are many well-regarded authors who (because writing is their job) write 3,000 to 8,000 words a day, and who therefore can and sometimes do finish their books in less than a month.

    I'm talking about writers like Nora Roberts, Amanda Hocking, James A. Ritchie, Stephen King (every day he writes 2,000 words or more), DW Smith, Ray Bradbury (who went through stretches of writing one publishable short story per day), and Mickey Spillane.

    If it's about that last, not only would I agree that it's silly to act like slow writing is inherently better than fast writing, but I'd think rather well of the article's author because it is difficult to point out myths like this. Often, it gets writers and want-to-be writers ticked off, because it pokes holes in the beautiful soap-bubble excuses they've crafted for themselves.
     
  9. guamyankee
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    guamyankee Contributing Member

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    It's a legit magazine about how to actually write a novel in 30 days. Lemme do some math here. Let's use 80,000 words as the goal. That's 2,666 words per day. OK, I'm actually kind of surprised, I thought it would be a higher number than that. Not that I think 2,666 words 30 days in a row sounds like a cakewalk.

    hmm...
     
  10. Torana
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    Torana Contributing Member Contributor

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    My partner managed 80k in 5 weeks straight, so yes, it's possible to write a novel in that time frame. Dan writes anywhere from 2,000 - 4,000 a day, there are writers we know who write up to 8,000 a day. It just depends on if you can get the creative juices flowing and are able to sit and write for the number of hours it takes. It can take up most of your day if you aren't careful. Only thing I say, is with things like NaNo, they say quality isn't important, only quantity. I say that is the biggest load of bolderdash I've heard in my entire life.

    Quality is always more important than quantity and should be the most followed rule with ALL writers. If you don't believe in quality over quantity, don't bother writing.
     
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  11. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Of course in the final result it's better to have a kickass 60K novel than a poorly-written, boring 100K one. All I meant was that the first time around, it's better to write, get your story out, and try to finish without worrying about perfection because you can go back to revise later - this is better than obsessing over quality and therefore not finishing anything. :)
     
  12. guamyankee
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    guamyankee Contributing Member

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    At some point I'd like to participate in a 50k challenge, but I'm pretty wrapped up my own project currently. Maybe I'll be able to do the November thing.
     
  13. Unit7
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    Unit7 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well its official I am a horrible writer. Just sat down to try and explain NaNoWriMo and what its truly about. But I kept coming up short and going into long explinations that I am sure didn't make much sense.

    Then I decide to see if anyone else had already posted about it and I see this and it pretty much sums up my novel length post into a neat little paragraph. Well done. lol


    But yeah. NaNoWriMo is just an event that exists to help writers get the first draft done. To stop worrying about quality and just write.
     
  14. Eunoia
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    Eunoia Contributing Member Contributor

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    Others have already mentioned NaNoWriMo which is the same idea as this magazine of writing 50,000 words in thirty days. I attempted it for the first time in November, and despite not finishing for various reasons I found it helpful. It's a good way of getting your ideas down and trying to complete a novel - start, middle, end. Yes, it may be complete utter rubbish and you'll have to seriously rewrite it, but at least the whole thing is written and you can see what works, what doesn't etc.

    You don't give a lot of information about magazine, but if the magazine proposes writers to send off their novel written in thirty days to publishers then that's stupid. Publishers will reject your manuscript with the first mistake, and especially if it's a simple mistake like spelling, so submitting a novel you've written in thirty days is just not wise. You have to seriously edit your novel a lot.

    As for writing magazines, I don't subscribe to any but I do try and regularly read Writing Magazine (UK magazine), and dabble in a few others. I find them helpful sometimes, and yes sometimes they point out the obvious and tell you things you already know, but they also give you a different insight and I find them quite interesting. I think writing magazines are a bit hit and miss, some will be good, others won't.
     
  15. guamyankee
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    guamyankee Contributing Member

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    In the original post, I've provided a weblink with more info about the magazine.
     
  16. KurtistheTurtle
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    What if you're such a genius everything you write is of an untouchable level of quality? In that case, quality < quantity. ^^
     
  17. Dandroid
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    Dandroid Senior Member

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    my father can manage a 100k manuscript in a week...albeit it requires a colossal amount of editing...colossal beyond the typical amount of work necessary...i feel uncomfortable getting over 10k in a week...
     
  18. Fiona
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    Fiona Member

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    It's interesting, I wonder how I'd find the experience of putting a time-limit on my own writing. At the moment, when I write, I just follow my gut instinct and inspiration. Some days I could spend hours writing, other days, I barely scrape a few pages together, but I'm okay with that. It's just the way it works for me.

    It'd be an interesting challenge, I suppose.
     
  19. Porcupine
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    Porcupine Contributing Member

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    If somebody could find me 30 days without anything to distract me from writing, I'd be perfectly happy to take up the challenge. :cool:

    As it is, I have between 30 minutes and 2 hours per day maximum to spend on it.
     
  20. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Personally I think its a good thing - after seeing what NaNo did for people and how many people who had talked about writing a novel for years actually wrote one and are now editing it. I personally think just writing a first draft of a novel is an achievment many writers talk about and don't achieve. Of course that novel isn't ready to sub to agents or publishers but its closer than a lot of people get. Whilst quality of a final draft is important imo there is nothing in a first draft that can't be rewritten, added to, deleted, edited or changed. Its all fixable but now you have a story to work with. My first drafts are deliberatly rubbish - after seeing how little of my first, first draft has remained in the final book I am even less careful than I was when I wrote it. There are plenty of people out there with talent who never get as far as a first draft.

    Its only around 3-4,000 words a day to write a 100,000K novel in a month - everyone writes differently but personally I can do that putting aside around 2 hours a day with no distractions. I wrote my second novel which is 95K first draft in a month without too much headache. My third book I wrote to 80K in 20 days (NaNo)- I was in process of moving house and had flu so not going full tilt.

    Like others say NaNo does it with thousands of people every year. My first drafts are useless beyond they have the story out - then I rewrite it completely from scratch (takes another month). Editing then takes a further month.

    If this was a proper job and my children were older then I could easily write 4 novels to completetion a year devoting just two-three hours a day to it. Right now aiming for two in just over twelve months completed by end of March - I have a middle one to first draft and a novella. I want to start serialising some stories on a website so will need a day aside for that a week.

    Now if I have absolutely no distractions and things to snack on I can write 20-25K in a day - have done that on four occasions this year. Mostly I manage about 5K. I does depend on the stage of story though some days I may write less than 2K.
     
  21. Show
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    Show Contributing Member Contributor

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    I can do it in 2 months and maybe even 6 weeks(I think i did), but promising new writers a 1-month quick fix is a bit phony, IMO. People need to write at the pace that works for them, not rush to get everything out to meet some silly made-up deadline.
     
  22. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    amen to that!
     
  23. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    NaNo provides a pretty good aftercare service, chance to find beta readers, advice on editing, really good help with queries etc. Things you can't really get as easily on this site. The boards continue throughout the year usually.

    I guess I fail to see why the quality of my first draft is that important. The quality of my final polished and ready to go draft is vital. I see no point in spending time loving and caring words I may want to delete or change. I will probably rewrite the thing several times before I am satisfied. I am postively OCD about my final draft but don't want to be attached to anything before then - I want to be able to say actually lets just take that out.

    I am sorry but for me in my first draft quantity wins everytime. But then I see myself as a storyteller and not a writer, writing is just a medium to tell that story in and the story has to come first. Once the story is perfect then the writing is a concern.

    I also don't see why someone writing as a hobby has to write quality over quantity either. I don't think it applies to ALL writers on any level.
     
  24. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    He also claimed to have seduced over 10,000 women. I don't know how he found the time -- I can only assume he multi-tasked and did his writing at the same time!

    By the way, I realise that Simenon rejected the word "seduced", but the word I would have used isn't appropriate for this forum. ;)
     
  25. Torana
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    Torana Contributing Member Contributor

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    Even if you are a genius writing at that level, you are definitely going to be more concerned of your quality anyway. Although there is a lot of debate once writers hit the big time that they stop caring as much about the quality and just producing the final product. If you ask me, and all I have put is my own personal opinions on the matter, quality SHOULD be the most important thing when it comes to writing. If you write quality stuff, you will make less work for yourself come time to editing. I would much rather spend 6 months producing a high standard, than 4 weeks producing utter garbage. If you have a deadline to get your first draft done, then go for it, but remember, YOU have to edit it after. No point giving it to someone to read when it's full of errors left right and center. Quality is of the utmost importance if you are wanting to be a professional writer. There is no argument when it comes to that. If you aren't planning on getting published and just doing it for fun, then don't bother with quality, go for quantity. But if you are aiming for publication and want to become a professional writer, aim for quality. Quality is what is going to get you to the top. Concentrate on the quality first, quantity always comes second.

    Well said! You should always work with a realistic deadline for your capabilities.
     

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