Teach Myself Novel Writing in 73 Days

I recently finished the first draft of Sams Teach Yourself Java in 24 Hours, the 22nd book on computer programming and web publishing that I've written in the past 13 years. The book comes out in September -- buy early and often.

I decided while working on the book that my next writing project would be a novel.

I've never written a novel before, so I sit down to work each morning with absolutely no idea what the hell I'm doing. I recommend the experience highly -- when I was in my 20s, attempting things I didn't know how to do was second nature. That's how I got my first girlfriend, my first job, my first wife, my first house, and back on topic, my first computer book writing assignment. I was doing copy editing for Sams Publishing in 1995 as a freelancer, and a manuscript I was reviewing required so many edits I decided it would be faster to write books myself (I did not want for ego). So I pitched myself as an author to Mark Taber at Sams, got a couple chapter assignments, and moved up to books. I didn't know back then how much I didn't know, so I could tout my mad authoring skills to Taber without reservation.

Now that I'm in my 40s, I find myself sticking to the road more traveled. I do not as a rule enjoy growth experiences.

The novel I'm writing is a thriller about nuclear terrorism. I can't reveal more about the plot, because I'm afraid that if I do, it will completely remove my motivation to actually write the book. I began by outlining the story in full and have written a prologue and the first two chapters at a speed of around 1,300 words a day. At that rate, I will have completed a 100,000-word novel in around 73 days.

Please don't take my advice that a novel should be 100,000 words long. I don't know what I'm doing.


Sounds like you're on the right track. Whenever anyone's asked me about the novel I'm working on, I just tell them, "It's about sex, violence and labor relations." Can't let the genie out of the bottle all at once. Good luck!

Good Luck with the book. I am 5 chapters into mine which will have 16.

Somedays the words flow out, other day I am stuck. When I hit a wall I make notes for future chapters or reread and check the earlier writing.

BTW, you better not use my title.

Now that I'm in my 40s, I find myself sticking to the road more traveled. I do not as a rule enjoy growth experiences.

I'd love nothing better than to say I told you so but chances are in your daft dotage you don't remember.

You can't go far wrong by giving one of your characters weird sexual habits. People enjoy reading about such things almost as much as they enjoy revenge fantasies.

In following with the theme, I request an autographed copy upon completion. I promise to compliment your glasses again as well.


I promise to complement your glasses as well.

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