FIRST DRAFT IN 30 DAYS
FIRST DRAFT IN 30 DAYS
by Karen S. Wiesner

In FIRST DRAFT IN 30 DAYS, I've used a wide variety of examples to demonstrate each step in the process for you. These examples are from novels or novellas, and span the range of almost all fiction genres you can imagine. My point in doing this is to show you how versatile the method is. You can use it for every single genre of fiction, whether short or long.

However, it's equally important that you see the method used on a single book, the way you'll start out using it yourself. From this page, you'll be able to click to find examples of each step in the process using a single book--my paranormal romance novel SWEET DREAMS. All the examples here (used in FIRST DRAFT IN 30 DAYS from a variety of popular novels for each step in the process) are performed using examples from SWEET DREAMS. All the worksheets in Appendix C of FIRST DRAFT IN 30 DAYS are filled out here using SWEET DREAMS. You'll also find the full outline of SWEET DREAMS, including an excerpt from the novel to show you how the bones of the outline took on flesh.

Seeing a cohesive picture of how the method works through every stage of one novel will help you visualize how it works as you use it for your novel.
Wherever you see a hot link in the table of contents below, you'll find examples by clicking on that link.

Please note that everything on this page is meant to be a supplemental to what's contained in my book FIRST DRAFT IN 30 DAYS.
Unless you've read that, much of what you'll read on these example pages won't make much sense.
I highly recommend reading FIRST DRAFT IN 30 DAYS first.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
BONUS WEBSITE EXAMPLES
FAQS ABOUT THE FIRST DRAFT IN 30 DAYS METHOD
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
FIRST DRAFT IN 30 DAYS HOME
FIRST DRAFT IN 30 DAYS WEBSITE MAP


MY THANKS

While I’d love to claim this book was borne entirely out of my own wisdom, alas, I’ll concede to having quite a few generous hands that helped sand off all the rough edges:

Kelly Nickell, my fantastic editor at Writer’s Digest Books, who helped me develop this method in a way that makes sense to more than just myself!

Marshall Cook, writers’ reference author extraordinaire, as well as my mentor on one of the earliest forms of this project. Thanks for helping me put together the proposal the first time around, then agreeing to critique, review it, and review it again.

Christine DeSmet, a fellow author and friend who graciously agreed to give the book an advance review. I can’t thank you enough for all your invaluable suggestions, Chris.

Christine Spindler, who believed in this book from the very first time I ever mentioned it online (back in the days when it was simply an ambitious idea so many others show down as too lofty). May our writing partnership flourish for many long years.

The WisRWA authors who allowed me to give a “mini workshop” of this method at their retreat before I’d ever written the book.

And, finally, to my sister, Linda Derkez, with whom my desire to be a writer grew to the point that nothing else would ever do.

"Credit belongs to...the man who actually strives to do the deeds,
who knows the great enthusiasm and knows the great devotion,
who spends himself on a worthy cause,
who, at best, knows in the end the triumph of great achievement.
And who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly...."
Teddy Roosevelt

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Please note that the excerpt of the Introduction below is a printable PDF document that will open in a separate window using Adobe Acrobat.
In order to open the excerpt, you must have Adobe Acrobat (preferably Version 6.0) installed on your computer.
The program is available as a free download here: http://www.adobe.com.
If you have trouble opening the file, it may be that your browser is timing out or that the Adobe Browser plug-in isn't installed on your computer.
Try right-clicking on the link (for Windows users) and choose "save target as" to save the file to your hard drive.
Then open Adobe Acrobat on your computer and locate the file. It should open from there.

***This excerpt is copyrighted. It is illegal to distribute or put it on a website for any reason. The excerpt may only be printed or viewed on your personal computer for individual use.***

Introduction: Making the 30-Day Method Work for You

The Goal of the 30-Day Method
Your Commitment to the 30-Day Method
How to Use This Book
Understanding the 30-Day Method Schedule
What You'll Need
Creativity and Outlines
Improving Your Productivity
See the 30-Day Method in Action
Getting Started

Chapter One: Brainstorming Before You Outline

The Creative Coffeepot

  • Brewing (and Performing an Exorcism)

Brainstorming Productively

  • Verbal Brainstorming


Chapter Two: Days 1-6: Your Preliminary Outline

Day 1: Character Sketches
Day 2: Setting Sketches and Research Strategies

Day 3: Plot Sketches

  • Understanding Story Threads

  • Weaving Threads Into Your Plot Sketch

Days 4 and 5: The Summary Outline

Day 6: Miscellaneous Scene Notes and Closing Scene Notes

Chapter Three: Days 7-13: Researching Your Idea

When to Research
Why Research in the Outline Stage
Additional Outline Aids

  • Dialogue Worksheets

  • Fact Sheets

  • Timeline Sheets

Motives and Alibis for Mystery and Suspense Novels

Chapter Four: Days 14 and 15: The Evolution of Your Story

The Beginning

  • Conflict

The Middle
The End

Chapter Five: Days 16-24: Your Formatted Outline

Consolidating Your Information
Day 16: Starting and Organizing Your Formatted Outline

Day 17: Incorporating Story Evolution Elements

Day 18: Incorporating Character and Setting Sketches

Day 19: Incorporating Research

Days 20-23: Brainstorming

  • Roadblocks

  • Outlining and Writing in Tandem

Day 24: Creating a Day Sheet and Table of Contents

  • Turning Your Day Sheet Into a Table of Contents

Chapter Six: Days 25-28: Evaluating the Strength of Your Formatted Outline

Day 25 and 26: Tagging and Tracing

  • Tagging and Tracing Your Story Goal

  • Tagging and Tracing Subplot Threads

  • Tagging and Tracing Tension

Day 27: Isolating Plot Threads
Day 28: Shoring Up Weak Elements in Your Formatted Outline

Chapter Seven: Days 29 and 30: Revising Your Formatted Outline

Day 29: Filling In the Final Holes

  • Incorporating Last-Minute Research

  • Starting the Revision Process

  • Revising the Outline Instead of the Manuscript

Day 30: Putting It on a Shelf

Chapter Eight: Creating an Outline for a Project Already in Development or Re-Outlining a Stalled Project

Creating an Outline for a Project Already in Development

  • Days 1-3: Evaluate the Previous Draft

  • Days 4-10: Re-Outline

  • Days 11 and 12: Miscellaneous and Closing Scene Notes

  • Days 13 and 14: Character Sketches

  • Days 15 and 16: Setting Sketches

  • Days 17-20: Plot Sketch and Story Evolution Worksheets

  • Days 21 and 22: Research

  • Days 23 and 24: Outline Aid Worksheets

  • Day 25: Day Sheet and Table of Contents

  • Days 26 and 27: Evaluate the Formatted Outline

  • Days 28 and 29: Revision

  • Day 30: Finishing Touches

Revising an Outlined Novel Without Starting From Scratch
Re-Outlining After at Least One Outline and Manuscript Draft

Chapter Nine: Getting the Most From Your Formatted Outline

A Snapshot of Your Novel
Using Your Outline to Write the Book

  • Tweaking Your Outline as You Write

  • Purging

  • Final Editing Sheets

  • Avoiding Writer's Block

  • Revising Not Allowed!

  • Editing and Polishing: Absolutely the Final Step

  • Getting Critical Reads

  • Putting It Back on the Shelf

Chapter Ten: Outlining Your Career

Yearly Goals
Multiyear Goals
Promotional Goals
Project Goals

  • Writing Goals

  • Editing Goals

Getting Ahead and Staying There

Appendix A: Glossary

Appendix B: 30-Day Method Schedules

Appendix C: 30-Day Method Worksheets

Since FIRST DRAFT IN 30 DAYS contains a great deal of worksheets, only a few are available online. Those with a clickable link may be printed or used on your personal computer for your own use.

Please note that those in Microsoft Word format (.doc) will open in another window.
Those in printable PDF format will also open in a separate window using Adobe Acrobat.
In order to open PDF files, you must have Adobe Acrobat (preferably Version 6.0) installed on your computer.
The program is available as a free download here: http://www.adobe.com.
If you have trouble opening the PDF files, it may be that your browser is timing out or that the Adobe Browser plug-in isn't installed on your computer.
Try right-clicking on the link (for Windows users) and choose "save target as" to save the file to your hard drive.
Then open Adobe Acrobat on your computer and locate the file. It should open from there.

***These worksheets are copyrighted. It is illegal to distribute or put them on a website for any reason. The worksheets may only be printed for individual use, or viewed on your personal computer for your own use.***

Worksheet 1: Character Sketch
PDF Version
Microsoft Word Version
Worksheet 2A: General Setting Sketch
Worksheet 2B: Character Setting Sketch
Worksheet 3: Research List
Worksheet 4: Plot Sketch
Worksheet 5: Summary Outline
Worksheet 6: Miscellaneous Scene Notes
Worksheet 7: Closing Scene Notes
Worksheet 8: Interview Questions
Worksheet 9: Dialogue Sheet
Worksheet 10: Fact Sheet
Worksheet 11: Background Timeline
Worksheet 12: Miscellaneous Timeline
Worksheet 13: Crime Timeline
Worksheet 14: Motives and Alibis
Worksheet 15: Story Evolution
PDF Version
Microsoft Word Version
Worksheet 16: Formatted Outline Capsule
PDF Version
Microsoft Word Version
Worksheet 17: Day Sheet
Worksheet 18: Supplemental Outline
Worksheet 19: Final Editing

Appendix D: 30-Day Method Goal Sheets

Worksheet 20: Yearly Goals
Worksheet 21: MultiYear Goals
Worksheet 22: Promotional Goals
Worksheet 23: Writing Goals Worksheet 24: Editing Goals

View or download five outlining worksheets from FIRST DRAFT IN 30 DAYS

Index


EXCLUSIVE WEBSITE EXAMPLES

Sweet Dreams

Website BonusWork Log for SWEET DREAMS
Website Bonus Full Outline of SWEET DREAMS
Website Bonus Order SWEET DREAMS
Website Bonus Frequently Asked Questions About the FIRST DRAFT IN 30 DAYS Method


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