Write a Blockbuster Novel in Just 5 Minutes!

Sound too good to be true?  It is.

It’s also National Novel Writing Month (a.k.a. NaNoWriMo), and many courageous writers around the world will attempt to craft a complete novel in just 30 days.

“What’s your process for writing a novel?”

I get asked this question a lot, and my answer tends to be vague and disorganized (much like my brain before 9 am).  I figure it’s better to hem and haw for a minute (or less) than to yammer on for a good half hour (which I could).

In honor of NaNoWriMo, I’ve decided to answer that question more thoroughly in a series of brief, digestible blog-bites throughout November.  After all, we all start somewhere, and I began my journey as an author by reading about the writing processes of others.  (Dorothea Brand, Terry Brooks, Annie Dillard, Stephen King, Anne Lamott – to name a few.)

Although I don’t plan to complete a 50,000-word novel by November 30, I happen to be starting my next writing project – The Glorious Governess – as NaNoWriMo kicks off.  What better time to appreciate the process than when so many authors are plunging into the literary pool?  Grab your floaties & let’s go for a dip!

Planning Phase One: Broad Plotting

Some authors like to dive right in with their novels – no outline, no game plan, no road map.  They’re called “Pantsers.”  I’m not one of them.

I’m also not a hardcore “Plotter” who crafts detailed outlines and chapter treatments before typing a single word.

In the beginning, I create a broad plot-plan like the one pictured here, which I created last week for The Glorious Governess.  (Warning! There are SPOILERS if you look too closely.)  The experience is like finger-painting with ideas, and the result has a chaotic Jackson-Pollack feel.

All the ideas that have built up over weeks of thinking overflow onto one piece of paper.  I hang it in my writing room and refer to it throughout the project.  The finished novel may not match it exactly, but this is the foundation on which I start building…

About F. E. Greene

F. E. Greene has been telling stories with words for more than twenty years. She is the author of multiple bestselling series including contemporary romance (Richer in Love), time-travel romance (Love Across Londons), and fantasy adventure (By Eyes Unseen). Her nonfiction series All Things Brighter focuses on writing fiction and poetry. A novelist, songwriter, poet, and photographer, she has taught young journalists and coached creative writers in both scholastic and volunteer settings. Greene's novels blend feel-good romance, mild suspense, a touch of whimsy, and her steadfast affection for all things British.
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