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Guest Blogger: Mandy Harbin
Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

How I Wrote a 100k Word Novel in a Month

First I want to thank Delilah for having me here today. I’m in the middle of my blog tour promoting the latest book in my Woods Family Series, Surrounded by Secrets, so I want to take this opportunity to focus on something a little different from paranormal erotic romance. Not that I don’t enjoy talking about hot sex—I mean c’mon, who doesn’t? What I want to talk about now is my writing style. If you want info on how to get a free paranormal erotic romance, skip to the bottom. If you are interested in becoming a writer (or a better one) but don’t think you have the time to write a novel, keep reading.

If the truth be told, I wrote three, 100k word novels in three consecutive months while working fulltime as an IT analyst and maintaining my motherly duties. How? The concept is simple, really. Time management…but more on that later. It’s the execution that isn’t as easily identified. I studied writing in college and got my hands on as many books on the craft of writing as I could. I devised my own way of story development by pulling from various sources. Two of the most influential to my style today include Syd Field’s screenwriting books—yes, as in how to write screenplays for movies—and the Snowflake Method.

Why did I study screenplays if I wanted to write fiction? Easy. I love watching movies. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve figured out the end of a movie before others, and if my theories weren’t successful, then half the time I felt my mental conclusion was better than the actual one. I am a visual person, and Field’s method plays on that by utilizing a three act structure. I apply this during my brainstorming phase. I draw a line on a piece of paper and mark the three acts, the plot point that throws the story into the second act, the plot point that throws the story into the third act, what happens mid way through the story and the major conflicts that occur in Act II. When I am finished with my brainstorming, I not only know how the story is going to start and end, but also most of the major points. The set-up, confrontation, and resolution are all plotted. Here’s the link to Field’s paradigm.

A very high level explanation to the Snowflake Method is you start with a one sentence summary of your book, expand it to a paragraph, expand that to a one page synopsis, and then expand that to a four page synopsis. It also advises you when to write character bios and how to take the four page synopsis and outline every scene in your book. Yes, every scene. I’ve played around with this, and not every step is for me. However, I do outline every scene in my book before I start writing. There’s a constant debate on whether authors should outline or not. Rather than it stifling my creativity, I feel it allows my muse the freedom to shine when I’m actually drafting my novel. Do I always stick to my outline? No. But when I outline, I see if a scene isn’t going to work before I start writing it or move it around so the story will flow better. If my characters demand I go a different way when I’m actually drafting, I listen to them. The outline is more of a guide, not written in stone. But when I know what comes next, I can keep on writing and not face as many (if any) blocks. Here’s a link that explains this process more.

What worked for another author doesn’t work for me, and what works for me might not work for you. The point is you should take what works best for you and apply it to your writing style. It doesn’t take more than a couple of days for me to outline my books when applying these techniques—and less than one day if said book is a novella. When I wrote those three books mentioned, I had daily goals during the workweek of 3,000 words and weekend daily goals of 5,000 words, which I not only met but exceeded since I’d taken the time to do the legwork before I began drafting. Nowadays, I have less stringent goals since my time is shared between writing, editing, and promoting, but the key here is to plan and set goals. You’d be surprised just how creative you can be even when you’re organized.

And now for the freebie! My publisher is offering book one in my Woods Family Series, Surrounded by Woods, for free on all major retailers. Get your free copy while you can!

And during my tour, I have a contest going where one winner will receive a $100 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card. Visit my Facebook Fan Page for deets!

5 comments to “Guest Blogger: Mandy Harbin”

  1. Amy S.
    Comment
    1
      · February 27th, 2013 at 10:51 am · Link

    Great post.



  2. Amy S.
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      · February 27th, 2013 at 10:55 am · Link

    Who is your all-time favorite paranormal hero? Moon from New Species series by Laurann Dohner.



  3. ronnie cornett
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    3
      · February 27th, 2013 at 1:06 pm · Link

    My Favorite hero is Lucan from the Midnight Breed series!!! But I’m going to check your books out now on amazon!!! :!: :wink:



  4. sharon chalk
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    4
      · February 27th, 2013 at 11:40 pm · Link

    I put my favorite breeds on your blog page lol



  5. Teresa Hughes
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      · February 28th, 2013 at 10:00 am · Link

    Thank you for giving these tips. I have actually been writing recently (an erotica romance) and have been looking forb different tools to help me. I can’t wait to give these a try.