I joined ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers), through the OCCWF this year and committed myself (literally) to writing a book in a month. Novel Track is ACFW's version of Book in a Month. In any case, toward the end of the April I kind of, sort of, almost finished a whole book. Well I wound up with half a one, a little over 22,000 words. But, in this month of May, we're going through the editing phase which is already adding extra words, even pages, to my manuscript.
A very helpful piece of advice was set to goals. Genre, how many words, carve out time etc. My goals; off-world fantasy, 20,000 words, and write early in the morning or really late at night. I thought that if I wrote at least 1000 words a day, excluding the weekends, I would meet the twenty-thousand-word goal. I did.
There was also an ACFW Novel Track email loop where goals were shared, daily posts of how many words per day you wrote and receive or give encouragements to stay the course. It really does work.
One thing I've heard a lot, even if you're not planning to write a book in a month, is to just start writing. A thousand words per day is not that much. Of course that's really easy for me to say since I've recently entered the empty nest era. No more PTA, no more basketball games, baseball games, no more dress rehearsals for school plays etc. It's lonely sometimes, especially if you live in a six-bedroom-two-story-triple garage home; no hubby, no dog. Ach, I got to get a life. But it is a great environment do get some writing done. And my office has a nice view of Idyllwild.
Anyway, back to the simple point: Write, don't edit, just get the story down on paper (or into the computer). It does make for a funny first draft but editing will come. Skip the subplots, but do create a Story Tracker so that you can remember to insert the secondary story lines into the correct spots later. I also used my Story Tracker to change names. One of my Ocean's had a pretty lame name. When I finally found the right "fantastical" one I didn't want to go back and change it all in the previous chapters. My Story Tracker has a spot to remind me to change the names after I'm done with the book. You'll find your own special needs for a Story Tracker or how to use it.
I'm thinking that my book might turn out to be a novella, sort of an intro book to Book Two which is already completed. Go figure. I'd like to write another 20,000, maybe 30,000, words to finish this one off and with the subplots weaved into the story, I might have a chance. Committing to a project like writing a book in a month is easier when you do it with a bunch of people. Kind of helps with that accountability thing. ACFW will begin Novel Track again in a couple of months. It will give me some time to edit the first part of the book and then write the second part in July.
Now all I need is an illustrator. Oh, speaking of illustrations . . . ACFW recommended we cast our characters. That was fun. Only thing is everybody in my book is really hot . . . um . . . I mean, good looking. Even the bad, bad, evil, ultra wicked guys. I guess recasting is in order. Keep writing and have some fun.
Here's a great book by Victoria Lynn Schmidt called Book in a Month: The Fool-Proof System for Writing a Novel in 30 Days
ACFW ACFW Novel Track Book in a Month