90 Days to Your Novel
by Sarah Domet
“Inspiration resides in your heart; habit resides in your fingers. Inspiration propels; habit completes.” One of the premises in this book is to develop the “necessary writing habits that will help you see this project through.” That is, write daily or as near to as possible.
Sarah Domet’s 90-day plan requires commitment, determination and energy. She suggests a schedule that demands two to three hours per day. In some instances it will be longer, especially for writers who need a little more think time. However, even if the actual schedule is not possible due to work and family commitments, the process she outlines will result in a quality first draft.
The high quality is a result of the first four weeks. After a primer on tools, Domet supplies a rich soil in the section ‘Brainstorm, Chart, and Outline’. These assignments develop the details behind the scenes with an unusual depth, which will keep your draft from skimming the surface, that later would require hours and hours of revision.
One of the basic character/plot questions is always what does the character want and what will get in the way? But Domet takes the concept deeper, by not looking at a surface goal or problem but at a character’s yearning. This application combines the internal emotional resonance with the external failure. We see, feel, and know the depth of the frustration because we know how deep the yearning is.
Another excellent example is an assignment to assess conflicts. “Are the stakes deep enough? Will these conflicts compel your characters to action?” It’s not a quick answer but a time committed evaluation that cannot help but bring tension to your story.
Week four assignments assess scene worth, scene variety, narrative arc and fictional world. All before the actual writing begins on Day 29. All adding extra layers of complexity to your novel.
Domet continues giving quality assignments throughout the 90-Day process, but I’ve highlighted this section because I have rarely seen such a thorough pre-draft writing development in craft books.
In addition many of these can also be walk-around assignments, as in processing them through the day while you commute or exercise or do chores. Then when computer time comes you will be ready to write, consistently.
Submitted by a Christian Editor Network member.
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