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 loves coffee, castles, crumpets, and the cat next door almost as much as she loves writing. She is the award-winning 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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