Authors and Writers

You Can Write a Book Fast – Here’s How to Write a Novella in Less than a Week

You can write your book and you can write it fast.

Many people are intimidated at the idea of writing a story but the following breakdown can help you wrap your head around getting it done – whether it’s a novel, creative non-fiction, or a fictionalized memoir of sorts (a current project of mine).

So how can you write a novel and do it fast? First you need an idea. My book Focus: How to Write a Four Week First Draft is a good resource. You need an idea that you can visualize to completion. This doesn’t mean you need to have it all worked on. Some people are planners and some are pantsers. I’m somewhere in the middle. I like to know where I’m going but how I like to be flexible with how I get there. Either way is okay but if you can’t see how your story will wrap up, even in the grander sense, it’s probably already dead. Flying completely by the seat of your pants can cause some painful rewriting at the end to get yourself out a dead end you could avoid by thinking your book through. This isn’t a post on how to write a book but how to get through writing your book. Yeah, there’s a difference. So, let’s get going.

Writing a Novella Fast

You can write a novella in a week. The initial draft of just over 25,000 words of the novella I mentioned above was written between Sunday night and Wednesday. Yes, it’s possible and I will break it down below.


First, a novella is a work of fiction that is at least 20,000 words but under 50,000 words. At 50,000 it is technically a novel, albeit a short one. Most publishers aren’t looking for short novels or novellas right now unless they are in the romance genre. There are some exceptions like Tor who sometimes takes novellas. However, readers are consuming more of the short form in this age of busy-ness and shorter attention spans. And if you plan to publish yourself, it’s a great way to get your story out there. You can even serialize it or share it on reading sites lime Wattpad or Tapas.

Write a Book in a Week

The guides are for a novella with a word count of 25,000.

Write 5000 words for 5 days in a week. This works out to between 2 and 3 hours of actual writing time. It might mean writing from 8:30 to 11 each week night.

However, I’m going to suggest you jumpstart your writing to get the flow and energy into it. Start your book on a day you have off and aim to get at least 5,000 words down. The more you write in this first session the better. The novella above had a jumpstart of about 10,000 words. You’ll know if the idea has wings if you have thought through the end and can get a solid jumpstart. Now once you get that done you have 20,000 left or only 15,000 for a minimum length novella or if you got a 10,000 word jumpstart. My novellas are between 22,000 and about 27,000 words.

Divide 20,000 by the number of days in your writing week you will commit to your book. For example, if it is 4 days, you write 5,000 a day.

How long does it take to actually write?

How many hours it takes you to write will vary based on how much you’ve thought about your book before beginning and how fast you type.

If you can type 50 words per minute you can write 3000 words in an hour nonstop. Not pausing at all would be a feat so cut yourself some slack. How about 2000 words in an hour? This would mean a commitment of just around 12 hours to complete the writing.

Need more than a week? Divide your goal by how long you want to give yourself. Try not to go longer than a month.

You CAN do this in a month by giving just 3 hours a week. I still suggest the jumpstart because it gets the flow moving and builds energy. By not allowing yourself to drag out the writing process you keep momentum, connection with your characters, your story, and the energy is less likely to wane.

So, do you believe you can write a solid and entertaining novella?

What’s Next?

It’s time to start thinking of ideas and brainstorming. Are you meeting possible characters in your head? Delving into their personalities and motivations? Who are they? In what world do they live?

Will you self-publish, hybrid publish, or seek a traditional publisher? Let me know what you think and if you’ll give it a try. Did you decide to do Camp Nano or nanowrimo?


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