This month, I’m going to write a novel.
50,000 words. 30 days. Let’s do this.
Why? Because I’m a masochist. A really bored masochist.
Other reasons include:
- I’m perpetually dissatisfied.
- Gretchen Rubin did it in The Happiness Project.
- I have no experience writing fiction whatsoever, and I figure this is a good place to start.
- I like a challenge.
- I get to brag about it and feel superior to other people.
- Because it’s really original and no one has ever done it before.
- Because my goal of reading 52 books in one year doesn’t keep me in my house alone enough already. (I want to make really, extra sure I die alone.)
I recognize that National Novel Writing Month (or “NaNoWriMo” as the cool kids call it) is still 6 months away, but as I always say, rules were made to be broken!
…..Actually, I never say this. I really just want all the spotlight without having to share it with any of you b*tches.
Did I mention I’m also really bored?
I would tell you what my novel is going to be about, but it’s totally progressive and original and I don’t want anyone to steal my idea. Just kidding, I actually have no idea what it’s going to be about, except that it will be loosely based on my own life. And there might be a Russian spy element involved.
At the suggestion of my hetero-life model Gretchen Rubin, I picked up the book “No Plot, No Problem” by Chris Baty: an ultimate “low-stress, high -velocity guide to writing a novel in 30 days”.
The book starts by providing a number of tips and tricks to help you prepare for the launch of your novel; from time-saving techniques, to research and outlines, to how to set up the perfect workspace.
Since I believe goals are best achieved when they involve no structure or planning whatsoever, I chose to do none of these things. Well, except for the part where I’m supposed to tell everyone I’m writing a novel so they will hold me accountable.
Hey everyone! I’m writing a novel! Hold me accountable, k? No, really. I expect all of you to shame me and ask me “how’s that novel coming along ?” on a regular basis.
Kind of like this:
Actually, exactly like that. And then I will rate you on your Stewie impression.
The other piece of advice I took from the book was to develop my Two “Magna Cartas”.
The first Magna Carta is a list of all the things that, to you, make a good novel. This can be anything from overall themes, to character traits, to magical unicorns. The aim of this list is to show what you “know” and appreciate as a reader, and to act as a guide for what to include in your own novel.
Here is the list I came up with:
- Serendipitous encounters
- Short, digestible chapters
- Quote-worthy prose
- Plot twists (doesn’t need to be M. Night Shyamalan or anything, but I like being surprised)
- Vulnerable characters
- Urban settings
- Music and/or other pop culture references
- Animals (I’ve never read a book about pandas, but I think that might be pretty cool)
Magna Carta II is just the opposite- a list of things that bore or depress you in a novel. These should be avoided in your story at all costs.
- Vampires/Unicorns/other forms of magical creatures
- Stream of consciousness writing
- Misanthropic characters
- Overuse of a thesaurus
- Unhappy endings
- Long chapters
So basically, I should write an uplifting romantic comedy about pandas with multiple plot twists, easy words and short chapters.
Sounds like a bestseller to me!
Wish me luck!