How To Write A Novel in a Month

by | Jan 7, 2019 | Aggie Life, Fall/Winter 2018-19

In November, thousands of people, including 19 Aggies in Professor Ian Korf’s first-year seminar, embarked on a 50,000-word journey for National Novel Writing Month, also known as NaNoWriMo. When participants complete 50,000 words, they are said to have “won” NaNoWriMo. These tips can help you start and finish your own novel in a month any time of year.

1. Lower your expectations.

Korf, as an assistant professor of molecular and cellular biology, knows that balancing novel-writing with a packed schedule can be difficult. He encouraged writers to expect less. “If you think you’ll write the novel that means something, you go into editing mode,” he said. “Then you stop writing.”

2. Work in a distraction-free environment to hit your goals.

Winning NaNoWriMo means hitting the 50,000-word mark, so Korf recommended typing 2,000 words, one hour a day.

3. Streamline your typing style to physically type faster.

Korf cautioned against using capitals, having character names longer than three letters and hitting backspace to avoid wasting time with unnecessary typing.

4. Outline.

The one time Korf didn’t win NaNoWriMo, “I just took an idea and ran with it,” he said. Have an outline in order to focus on writing, rather than agonizing about what comes next.

5. Don’t make it about writing the novel.

“You’re aiming to write as many words as possible, not to write them perfectly,” Korf said. “This is practicing for the practice, so you can access your inner creative person.”