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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

How to Write a Novella in 30 Days

Hello Fellow Writers!

Right now, I have two books under contract (Hollywood Spank with Ellora's Cave and Taste of Candy with The Wild Rose Press) that still need edits done. I also have two completed manuscripts (Protecting Emily and New Developments) that I need to do more revisions on when I get notes back from my beta readers.

2014 UPDATE: I've gotten the rights back to both Hollywood Spank and Taste of Candy, and re-issued them myself. Taste of Candy is available for free! Protecting Emily was retitled The Pulse and sold to Simon & Schuster Pocket Star as part of a 6 book deal, and New Developments was retitled Snowed in with the Tycoon, and I self-published it. And the novella I wrote in a month by writing 1k words a day? That was Bedhead, and I sold it to Ellora's Cave. Now, back to the blog post...

But, I can't spend all my time working on books I've already written. I need to write new material. That's why I've made a goal for myself that in the month of February I will write a complete novella, 25K words.

I've already written the blurb and one-page synopsis, something I don't normally do *before* writing a book, but I had to in this case since the novella (tentatively titled Bedhead) is going to (hopefully) be part of a proposed series some other Ellora's Cave authors and I cooked up. (Update: It's a three-book anthology in paperback from EC, called Skin Deep!)

In order to write a 25k novella in 30 days, I will write 1K a day. Yup, it's The Writer's Challenge. In this case, if I write 1K a day I should have a couple days left over at the end of the month to reread and edit a bit before I send it to my beta-reader. I'll be using a different beta-reader than usual for this one since I need to have someone who knows the series bible well.

By finishing my novella in a tight time frame, I'll have time to revise it completely if needed. It seems everything I write needs to be completely revised. I'm not complaining, I know it's part of the process, but I'm looking forward to the day when I can write the words The End and just ship it right off to my editor and have it go straight to copy edits! Ha, in my dreams. :)

So there ya have it. To write a novella in 30 days, first figure out what you're going to write. What's the hook? Who are the main characters? What's their conflict? Then write the "back cover copy" blurb. Then write a one page outline of the main plot points you intend to hit to keep your story on track. 

Then write 1k a day to and from those plot points and Bam! Novella in a month.

Anyone else feel like doing this with me? We can cheer each other on!

Update: BEDHEAD did indeed get written and sold to Ellora's Cave! It's available now wherever ebooks are sold. :)


  1. I'd actually already planned on writing another novella this month, so this was right in time.

  2. Great! Keep me updated on your progress, either through Twitter or on this blog! Good luck!

  3. Good luck. I'm sure you can meet that goal. Can't wait to hear more about the series.

    I can't wait for the day I can finish, write the end and send it off to my editor without any revisions. For me, I'm not sure that will ever happen. :)

  4. One of my favorite authors wrote about that on her blog recently, that she finished writing the book, didn't even re-read it, just sent it to her editor, who loved it and sent it straight to copy edits. I'm so jealous, LOL

  5. For me revisions is the fun part of writing. This is because I write in drafts. I have friends who must polish each scene before moving on. Tried that and it didn't work. I usually do 1 to 2000 words a day though not all of them ever make it past the getting the story down. Good luck with finishing this in timely fashion.

  6. It's true, there is something fun about seeing a manuscript take shape and change into something better through revisions.

  7. wow... i have been *dreaming* of writing a novel or novella for, well, as long as i can remember... but never had the gumption to do anything about this dream. i am a bit of a procrastinator, see... and i am good at/bad about finding excuses to not do things, even when i have longed to do them forever. reading this post today... well, it may be a slow process for me... but i'm going to do it! bit by bit, even if it's only as simple as getting my ideas out as they bounce around in my head until i can see where they will lead. at least now i have that much of a plan :) thank you for the inspiration!

  8. Good luck with your novella!

    And for anyone who's interested, BEDHEAD did indeed get written and sold to Ellora's Cave. It's available now wherever ebooks are sold. :)


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