Write a Novel in 30 Days
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My proven, 10-step cheat sheet will help you finish a novel in 30 days. It will take you from a simple idea through the end of your first draft. Get started!
You are not the only one with a story idea and a desire to see it published. Others have struggled with various parts of the writing process and my cheat sheet helped get them unstuck. Here's what they had to say:
For me, the most challenging part was always taking the seed of an idea and bubble that seed into a complete story. I used the cheat sheet to create my outline, and the rest is, as they say, history. I've completed two manuscripts since then.
Brendon Cordova - Student
My biggest struggle was discipline and finding time to write. I've never had an issue planning the story, but putting words on paper was where I'd get stuck. The cheat sheet allowed me to create a writing schedule and then stick to it.
Clara Fry - High School Teacher
I've always been unsure of my writing quality, so I've always done the writing and editing. Many times, I've agonized over a chapter for days before moving on. Using the linear method that Iulian proposed, I got into a real flow, and I could get through to the end.
Aime Choi - Web Designer
At its core, it shows you how to make a schedule and stick to it. But the way this document was structured resonated with me and helped me create that structure in a way that worked. In the end, it was still me who had to do the work, but the help was there.
Terry Lee - Marketing Manager
How is it possible to learn how to write a novel from a mere cheat sheet? There are domes and domes out there talking about the same thing. That's true, and the question is valid. The cheat sheet condenses all the ideas from all the books into a straightforward process.
Here's what it will show you.
Every story, no matter how complex, can be boiled down to one central idea. Before you write the story, you have that idea. The trick is to expand that concept little by little until the story finally comes out.
The story must take the reader on a journey. It must have ups and downs, heartbreaks, and happy moments. To do so, the writer must create the proper structure that will act as a conduit for that journey, with each step leaving the reader wanting more.
Creating the story structure and developing characters is only one part of writing. The second part is putting those words on paper, which takes time—time that you usually don't have. By employing a robust time management system you will be able to juggle all priorities and complete your novel.
Another issue with the writing process is the balance of quality versus quantity. Of course, the end manuscript must be in pristine condition and filled with the best writing you can produce. But that's not the case for your first draft. Your first draft can and will be bad—the quantity matters.
Once all the words are on paper, you will begin polishing or self-editing. That usually results in cutting out large quantities of words that are either non-necessary or don't add any value to the story. Learning how to manage that process is, in itself, a different skill.
One good thing about writing a manuscript from beginning to end is that you can work on your next novel when you're done. But knowing when to stop and call it finished is where many writers struggle. A work of art is never finished; it only stops at an exciting moment.
Still reluctant? Let's look at a few common problems that all beginning writers have and how my cheat sheet will help you navigate and work around those issues.
If you need a little more, see what other people say about how this cheat sheet has helped them with their struggle to produce a manuscript in 30 days.
Also, you might ask, do you HAVE to write a novel in 30 days? No, definitely not. But the beauty of this system is that it can apply if you want to write a novel in 30 days, 90 days, or 300 days. It's a full-proof method that will get you to a completed manuscript on your own time.
"I've always been a bird's eye view kind of person. So, I'd get this idea of a story, and it would be quite broad but compelling. The problem was, I didn't know what to do with it—how to move it forward. Where to take it? With Iulian's cheat sheet, I got a glimpse of how to create an outline from my idea. Later, I used his Excel outline tool, which was a game-changer, too."
Jose Huerta - Game Developer
"For me, characters drive the story. I've always loved to create strong characters and picture that character arc across their lives. Plot always comes second for me. I need to have the character, and then the story comes. I've struggled to put them all together, though. When I started to use this simple cheat sheet, it all came together quickly. It didn’t come easily; there was still a lot of work, but this method allowed me to get through it."
Gloria Young - Social Media Marketing
"I write crime mysteries, and my stories are quite convoluted. I also hate outlining; I'm a pantser. I write and let the story drive me. Then I come back and see where it goes next. That was fine, but I've always got stuck at some point where the plot seemed to go nowhere. I used Iulian's sheet to create a high-level structure. I could still write freely and with little constraints like I'm used to, but I had a direction. That was huge."
Aminah Holt - HR Manager
"My problem is that I'm an overthinker. I don't move with anything until the smallest detail is planned to death, and there's absolutely no room for error. So, I'd wind up outlining and planning for months and never putting a single word on paper. Eventually, with this cheat sheet, I could minimize my outlining and organizing time and get to writing."
Wesley Flores - Real Estate Agent
I started writing when I was three-years-old. Believe it or not, at that age, I created a makeshift notebook from a few stray pages stapled together and a cover made out of cardboard. Then, I filled those pages with a story about a monster coming down from a mountain to destroy a city.
Well, it was half writing and half drawing, but you get the idea.
I continued to write throughout my childhood and stopped it altogether when I finished high school. At that time, my life began to shift to other priorities.
When I was 26, I got the opportunity to move to the United States, which I did. About three years into my US stay, I started to get the itch again. I wanted to write. I felt like many stories were lingering inside of me, and I wanted to let them out.
I started buying every book on writing I could find, and for the next eight years, I kept reading. Stupidly enough, I wrote nothing. In hindsight, a huge mistake.
In 2010, I joined a writer's group, and I finally started writing.
I haven't stopped since then. For the most part, I wrote several short stories, some of which you can read for free on my blog. In 2012, I joined NaNoWriMo—a writing marathon where you must write a 50,000-word story in 30 days.
Surprisingly enough, I was able to complete that task. That's the first time I realized that the idea of writing a novel that seemed so grand and almost impossible to tackle wasn't that difficult at its core.
I wrote 50,000 in 30 days, you guys.
They weren't great words, but still, they were on the page. It was possible.
Since 2012, I've participated in every NaNoWriMo and wrote other manuscripts in between. I've kept working on my process and refining it.
The cheat sheet I created is a boiled-down version of my process's essential ideas, developed over the past ten years. It’s not only a list of best practices and a guided process, but it also prevents many of the mistakes I’ve made time and time again.
Will it be the only thing you need to publish your novel? No, definitely not. But it will be one of the most critical pieces to get you started on that journey and finish the most demanding task of all: getting a completed manuscript done.
If you want to start your journey, I urge you to download my cheat sheet and start today.
I believe in you. I know there's a story or more inside of you just screaming to burst onto the page.
Let it out!