Worksheets for Writing a Novel in 30 Days

If you think writing a book in a month is an irrational pursuit, you’re kind of right. Sometimes we have to do crazy things to get headed down the right path.

A 30-day challenge can motivate you to do what you’ve put off for far too long: dedicating yourself to writing (no more excuses!).

In a special newsstand-only issue that I developed, Write Your Novel in 30 Days, I selected the best content that Writer’s Digest has to offer on novel writing.

This guide is helpful for any beginning-to-intermediate fiction writer. Even if you don’t want to write a book in 30 days, the guide offers milestones and worksheets that can help you no matter what your time frame is like. Here are 3 possible ways to use the guide:

1. Start a new project and finish in 30 days
You don’t have to prep if you don’t want to—especially if you’ve been contemplating a specific story idea for a while, and just need motivation to start. The 30-day calendar inside this guide helps you begin outlining on Day 1, and integrates a few key steps into your first week that builds a framework for a successful story line.2. Prepare (a little) before you embark on the program
Before you mark Day 1 of your writing, you can use this guide to create realistic goals and identify the kind of story you want to write. Several outlining methods are also reviewed if you like to go into the writing process with an excellent road map.

3. Revise an existing manuscript
You can still use the 30-day method, and complete all the worksheets in the guide to help uncover potential problems in your story. James Scott Bell’s Ultimate Revision Checklist helps you create a comprehensive revision plan.

You can buy Write Your Novel in 30 Days at your nearest bookstore, off the newsstand (available through April 10, 2011). Eventually, it will be available for sale through Writer’s Digest Shop.

Worksheets included in the guide:

  • Story Tracker (Act I, II, III)
  • Story Idea Map
  • Scene Card
  • At-a-Glance Outline
  • Character Sketch
  • Character-Revealing Scenes
  • Climax
  • Closing & Denouement
  • Reversal Brainstorm

If you’d like to preview or download the worksheets included in the guide, click here.

CLICK HERE to learn more about how to end up with a completed novel in three months or fewer

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9 thoughts on “Worksheets for Writing a Novel in 30 Days

  1. Jane Friedman

    @Steven – By "straitjacket," do you mean an outlining process? To address that issue, there’s a wonderful article I included by J.S. Bell on Outlining vs. Not Outlining. I love how he offers a variety of methods depending on your writing personality. Even people who like to dive in without a plan can usually benefit from some kind of questioning process as they go, which he describes in his article.

  2. Steven M Moore

    Hi Jane!
    Now I know how Baldacci, Patterson, and the like are able to write so much. It’s just an algorithm!
    Kidding aside, are you really recommending that people work this way? I can’t imagine morphing my writing technique into such a straight-jacket. Still, I guess it’s interesting if some people can. Different strokes for different folks….
    Take care.


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