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Monday, July 18, 2011

The 90 Day Novel

Most novels are between 80,000 and 100,000 words. The book I'm reading this week is called The 90 Day Novel by Alan Watt.  If you follow the formula laid out in the book, you will have completed a first draft of a novel of that length in 90 days.The first 30 days are spent getting to know the protagonist and antagonist on whom your novel will be based. Out of this exploration, a story will be suggested. Story or plot is driven by the characters you conjure up.

There are a series of short writing exercises in the book for you to follow that allows you to flesh out the characters you have imagined. You may have an idea for a plot at the outset, but The 90 Day Novel tries to discourage attempts at pinning anything down prematurely.

This may sound like voodoo. Why not just sit down and start writing? Most new writers do that. I did on my urban fantasy series, and I'm suffering editing pains and weak story lines that end up in left field from that approach. I've been using the exercises to build a more robust protagonist in my current manuscript, and darned if it isn't helping with the story itself. The mental exercises  led me to new avenues that I hadn't thought of previously.

The book is downloadable on your Kindle, or you can actually attend one of Alan's workshops. He is located right here in LA.


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