As fantasy author DK Drake, my mission is to bring you entertaining, engaging, wholesome adventures too packed with action to leave room for eye-rolling sappiness or mind-numbing fluff.
As a creative writing coach, my mission is to help authors find their voice, craft captivating stories, and finish book after book.
Short on time but want to write a novella?
If you start today, you can have a book writing win by this summer following this 18-week novella writing plan.
LISTEN TO THE PODCAST HERE.
Besides, writing a novella is great training for novel writing.
When I first decided to be a writer, I started by tackling a novel. But it took me nine years of writing and revising and revising and writing to finish that sucker. I did the same thing with running. I started with the mighty marathon, but it wasn’t until I ran shorter races like 5k’s, 10k’s, and half-marathons that I became a stronger runner and more prepared to run marathons.
The same strategy holds true with writing. When you start with the short stories and novellas (and the way I define it, a novella is 25k-35k words and is the equivalent of a half-marathon), you gain experience, confidence and the thrill of being able to finish a quality story in less than a calendar year. Novels simply take longer when you don’t have a huge chunk of time every day to write.
I don’t know about you, but writing time is not something I have much of at this point in my life.
And that’s why I’ll be setting aside a three hour-block of writing practice on Tuesday nights and another 90 minute block on Thursday nights. That’s it. That’s going to be my writing time.
I may be able to squeeze in another 30-60 minutes of extra practice here and there, but for the most part, I’ll be writing for roughly four and a half hours a week.
That is step zero: block off time to write your novella.
Protect those blocks. Show up just like you would show up for school or a job or for a sport-related practice.
Once you have your writing practices blocked off and protected, then you can start with the 7-step novella writing plan.
In other words, this is when you outline. I outline in three phases, and each phase is a more detailed version of the phase before it.
Now hear me on this. This is the process I have found works for me. You don’t have to do this. You can simplify this framework step by writing a basic outline and then moving on to step 4. Or skip the outline altogether. I outline because it works for my process. I need it to write a good story. You do you!
Yup. I said really bad. Let yourself be lousy here.
The point is to get the story written. You’ll clean it up in step 5.
And when you have that readable draft, you hand it off to an editor.
Here’s where you’ll need to have a thick skin and a humble heart. Be coachable. Learn from your editor and make changes that will improve your story. Do you have to incorporate every editorial suggestion? No! But if you choose your editor wisely, your editor will give you wise advice that will make your story better.
Ask them for help spotting typos or grammar issues or elements of the story that confused them. Once you revise as necessary, you have a FINISHED NOVELLA. Woohoo!
As far as how long each step takes, I recommend completing steps 1-3 in the first six weeks, step 3 in the second six weeks, and steps 5-7 in the final six weeks.
I’m in week one of the novella writing process right now and will be blogging my way through the story and filling in the details of each step in the journey along the way.
For instance, here are more specific instructions for week 1: