Uncategorized Writing & Blogging

How I Wrote A Novel in High School

Earlier this week, I shared 10 reasons why you should buy my book. Sometimes people are surprised that I, at 23, have written and published a book. Once they hear that I self-published it, they have a million questions, which led to my Self-Publishing Sunday series. But before I could get to that point, I had to write the book in the first place. So, how did I write a novel my senior year of high school while taking 4 AP classes and participating in 4 after-school activities?

How I Wrote a Book in 7 Easy Steps

1. I outlined the heck out of it. Seriously – it was crazy detailed. But that meant that I knew where I was going with every scene and chapter.

Your Novel Blueprint | How To Write A Novel with The Snowflake Method

2. I made goals for myself for every day. And if I didn’t reach my word count, I had to catch up with it. I started out writing within National Novel Writing Month (aka NaNoWriMo), which meant that I was trying to write 50,000 words within 30 days. My goal was 1,666 words a day, and even when I was writing outside of NaNoWriMo, I stuck to that goal. Didn’t make it one day? I added whatever was left over to the next day or week.

Word Counter

3. I wrote whenever I had spare time. And I mean whenever. During band rehearsal and the conductor was working with a different section? I wrote on the back of old sheet music we didn’t have to turn back in. Have some downtime during class? Took out my notebook and wrote. This also really helped with meeting my word count while I was busy.

4. When I hit writer’s block, I took a break. NaNoWriMo is November of every year, and around the week of Thanksgiving I hit writer’s block. Not I-don’t-feel-perfectly-inspired writer’s block – we’re talking I-have-no-idea-what-to-write writer’s block. I had been writing hard core for 3 weeks and was at over 30,000 words, so I took a break.

5. But that break didn’t last forever. A few months later, I pulled my material out again, read through it all, and started writing again. Taking the time to refresh my brain really made a difference, but the bigger difference was made by going back a few months later, and not years later. I think the ideal break would be 3-6 weeks.

6. I changed the outline as I wrote. Yes, everything was super outlined, but if things changed in my mind, didn’t make sense, or needed to be restructured, I went with it. I stuck by the outline while letting my creative juices flow and adjusted as needed.

7. I had others read it and give me their feedback. Once I finished the first draft, I started printing it out 50 pages at a time for a friend of mine to read. I really valued her opinion on the plot, and I wanted to hear from someone I trusted. And I started doing this as soon as I finished the first draft. Yes, I wanted to take a break, but I didn’t write Aureole for the sake of writing it – I wanted to publish, which meant that I needed to get honest feedback.

Do you have any questions about writing a book? I would be happy to answer them!

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  • Reply Cece

    I will definitely be looking into the snowflake method next time around. I'm pretty sure I wrote mine the hardest way ever because I didn't outline.

    April 9, 2015 at 7:32 pm
  • Reply Anne Campbell

    Wonderful tips! Good for you!–that's quite an accomplishment.

    April 9, 2015 at 11:34 pm
  • Reply Em

    That's wonderful! I've been wanting to write a novel recently, but I have had no idea where to start. These are great tips that make me want to jump right into it!

    April 10, 2015 at 10:49 pm
  • Reply Ana Valentin

    Definitely admire your ambition and drive in fulfilling what many writers try and try and often fail at (myself included). Great series!

    April 12, 2015 at 2:32 pm
  • Reply amyyoungmiller

    Goal-setting, and sticking with those goals–so brilliant yet so many folks don’t get it, including myself, some days. Well done and congratulations!

    July 8, 2016 at 8:11 am
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