How to Write a Book in 30 Days

OK, that title may be a little misleading, it should actually read ‘How to write a really in-depth outline in 30 days’ but that didn’t seem quite as exciting.

I have found a resource that I’m currently completely obsessed with. If, like me, you have spent many of your preciously snatched writing hours devoted to the art of procrastination, you may well have hopped from website to website devouring information on how to get that nugget of an idea from your head and onto the page. I have spent entire mornings jumping around attention grabbing articles on Pinterest about scene setting, character sketches, internal and external conflicts – yada yada yada – and still come away with no solid modus operandi. What I usually come away with is a recipe for a really delicious looking chocolate cake and enlarged hips, because that’s what happens when you apply the ‘distracted by shiny things on the internet’ factor.

Well, not anymore. I have found what I’ve been looking for, an idiot’s guide to organising the tangle of people and places in my head into a structure that resembles an actual book. Hallelujah! I stumbled across it on The Guardian website who have published an edited extract of a book by Karen Wiesner called First Draft in 30 Days (Writer’s Digest Books).

It is just divine for someone like me who lives to make lists and tick things off with a satisfying swipe of the pen. It runs you step by step through the brainstorming process, and then sets you a schedule by which you build a detailed picture of the characters, conflicts and settings in your book – heavenly!

It then encourages your basic plot and summary outline to develop into the more structured outline that you will add to and grow into your first draft as you incorporate research and all of the necessary layers and subplots.

Contents of How to Write a Book in 30 days

The index and schedule for How to Write a Book in 30 Days

On top of this feat of organisation, it provides you with all the worksheets that you should need to record the information that is, by now, tumbling from your head. If I have one gripe with this whole resource it’s that these worksheets are in PDF format rather than something I can edit, but I found that I can easily copy and paste the worksheets into Scrivener so I am an oasis of calm again now.

Worksheets for How to Write a Book in 30days

If you are looking for a resource to help you with your structure and plotting, I urge you to try it. Even if you are a pantster and have just recoiled from this post in horror at the snuffing of spontaneity and creativity, you might appreciate some of the small pieces of wisdom presented, it could be worth a read couldn’t it?

I myself have drifted up and down the spectrum between plotting and pantsing and thought I had settled on a mix of the two but you should see the outline of my book now, I have got as far as writing the scene summaries, what will happen, what will be discovered, what will be foreshadowed and whose POV the scene will be in. In my naturally organised, obsessive, list writing manner, this is all colour coded and beautiful of course.

You can find the resource on The Guardian’s website HERE and I hope you find it as useful as I have.


About Nicola Auckland

Busy wife to one & mum to two. I've caught the creative writing bug, now need to practice, get awesome and write something worth reading. Simples.
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11 Responses to How to Write a Book in 30 Days

  1. Pingback: How I outlined my novel | Sometimes Stellar Storyteller

  2. Love this post. I am much like you. I read about authors just start writing let’s the main character guide them. I can’t do that. For me to write a novel, I need to write know the right endiong first. Only then Can I write the road map (outline) to guide me through the process. Enjoyed reading about your creative process. Having these guides we use should help us produce a novel more quickly. Thanks for sharing this.


    • You’re welcome, other writers’ processes fascinate me. I couldn’t just sit and write and see what happened but that might just be my inexperience. How do you outline you novels?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Exactly. I can’t write to see what happens. I would end up with 500 pages of boring nonsense. I spend a month formulating the main character and the basic plot. I search for the perfect ending and use that as a road map. I’ve never used index cards or written down the plot beforehand. As I am writing each chapter I write a chapter sysnopsis when I am done. Don’t know if that makes sense. Loved to read your process.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on Sometimes Stellar Storyteller and commented:

    I’m recycling an old post today, not because I’m lazy, but because it seems very relevant in this NaNoWriMo month.

    I’m reading many posts on Twitter and WordPress from people who are struggling to pull their stories together, either they have hit a complete block or their characters have done something completely unexpected and thrown a spanner into their concept.

    For regular reads of my blog, you’ll know that I am a plotter. I love to meticulously plan every twist and turn before I ever put pen to paper. This reblogged post outlines the method that I follow, some might feel it’s exessive but it’s working well for me. We are on day 12 of NaNo and so far I’ve opened my laptop every day and known exactly what I’m going to be writing. I appreciate that it’s not for everyone but if any of it helps, you’re welcome.


  4. ‘Plotting and pantsing’ LOL I nearly spat my coffee out. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  5. honestme363 says:

    Nicola this wonderful! You have made me laugh and smile and have taught me something. Your enthusiasm is infectious! I am so excited for you! I can’t wait to see how you progress. Will you be sharing bits here? Please know that I am rooting for you!

    Liked by 1 person

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