So I’m Writing a Novel.

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.

Not like this. Well, maybe like this.
Not like this. Well, maybe like this.

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.

chapter 1

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:

  • Humor
  • Romance
I'm a girl, what can I say
I’m a girl, what can I say
  • 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.

My list:

  • Death
  • Vampires/Unicorns/other forms of magical creatures
I blame this
I blame this
  • 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!

Question of the Day: What, to you, makes a good novel?


31 thoughts on “So I’m Writing a Novel.

Add yours

  1. Hmmmm, if I knew the answer to that I would have written it myself!

    50k words in 30 days is insane. I’d recommend just going at a pace that you feel comfortable with. And don’t worry about plans – I never bother with them!

    Good luck. The important thing is that you enjoy writing it.


      1. I started mine 3 1/2 years ago. I have written my first draft and have restarted my second draft like 5 times. On my Chapter 5 reboot first person edition right now. At this pace, I will get it done 20 years after I die, which will make it a best seller.


  2. I like a novel to take me somewhere, even if it’s just next door. Not so much the locale, but the world. I want to go into a world of someone else – so i need it to be believable, embraceable and interesting. Otherwise, I’m not too demanding of a reader. Also, I prefer my pandas to be mean and stink of cheap wine.


  3. There are three key things that make me enjoy a novel: characters who aren’t one-dimentional (Twilight, for example — horrid book; probably why it was a bestseller: it played to the masses — escapist, requiring little thought to read); good writing (Twilight — horrid book, really bad, simplistic writing. Made my head hurt). Believable plot (Twilight — horrid book, but, told in such a way that despite the many, many, many flaws, the story kept moving. Mostly.)

    Good luck with your novel! I know you can do it brilliantly!


    1. Thank you! I’m struggling with the one dimensional characters/ believable plot thing right now. It’s hard to find that line between exciting/ sort of fantastical and just plain unbelievable.. but I’m determined to do it!


  4. I’ve attempted NaNoWriMo two years in a row now, and since I’ve gotten a little closer each year, eventually I think I will make it to 50,000. When you’re already working 10 hour days, coming home and writing 1500 words is like UGH no. But good luck! It is pretty fun and rewarding even if you don’t finish in time 🙂 By the way, panda photo is ADORABLE.

    I have oddly never thought about what I like in a novel. I read a lot of different things, although I used to be super into just crime/thriller, I really like Stephen King horror, and have been trying to get through classic books you SHOULD read, as well as take recommendations from reviews I’ve read if they sound good to me. My TBR list is enormous. I’m currently reading The Book Thief, which is a very different type of storytelling, but I like it, and does have short digestible chapters, which makes it a little easier to put it down if you have to.


    1. Omg I KNOW I’m exhausted when I come home at night, I feel like a zombie when I’m writing. I’ve started writing early in the morning when my mind is still a bit fresher… but it never gets thatmuch easier.
      I’m in the same boat- reading the books you should read as well as all the shiny new releases. There are not enough hours in the day!


  5. 1. AWESOME.
    2. Camp NaNoWriMo just ended! The first session. April.
    3. Another Camp NaNoWriMo session is right around the corner! JULY.
    4. You could plan, plan, plan for two months, then write with the rest of us crazies in July.
    5. A good novel? One that transports the reader to another world. Makes them believe what they read, and root for someone.


    1. Don’t tempt me to quit and wait to do it in July because I just might! haha..
      What is Camp NanoWrimo? Is it just NanoWriMo? Or like getting ready for it


  6. Wow, I’m happy if I write a paragraph a month! Of course if I’d had the brilliant idea to write about pandas it may have gone faster; there’s just so much to say. Keep us updated!


  7. Ahh ahh ahh I already can’t wait to read it!

    (Also, I read The Happiness Project on your sorta-recommendation. Loved it. So much organisation. February almost made me sweat with excitement).


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