The Overarching Framework for a Year of Writing | How To Write A Book

I’ve decided to break up the year in a particular way. Planning, then Writing, then Editing.

I remember first settling on the idea of this “how to write a book” project and explaining it to my wife. I said something along the lines of:

Exactly one year of writing, broken down into planning, writing and editing. Maybe one month of planning and research into how to structure my novel, then ummm… probably about nine months of writing, on and off in a cyclical fashion. Four days writing, two days off, that sort of thing. Then you are let with two months for editing. The idea being that you aren’t caught in that perpetual cycle of re-editing the same page for years on end.

Okay or it was something like that – but that general structure has stuck up until now:

  • (February) One month planning
  • (March – November) Nine months writing
  • (December – January) Two months editing

And that’s a whole year. Am I underestimating editing time? Is nine months too much or too little? Is everyone laughing at me that I can research and plan a novel in a month?


Now I’ve wondered if this is the right balance for this kind of project, but have ultimately come down to the idea of fuck it, just do it.

So this is the pattern I’ll follow. Bearing in mind this is for my own style of writing and that skews the planning/writing/editing spectrum, so if you’re reading this in search of your own framework, it could well be different. You’re writing a historical epic in egypt? Maybe more research. But then again, maybe not. Do you care what kind of fish were in the Nile in the year 200BC? You might not, but your some of your readers might.

I’m planning on taking the nuggets from two or three of my short stories and smashing them together – I’ll be writing all about this is the coming days and weeks. Actually, I’ll be posting up the short stories themselves soon enough so you can see what I’m aiming for. I’d like to work through all these decisions out in the open, to be as transparent as possible with the process. I think that will help keep me accountable to not only my chosen ten, but to everyone who takes the time to read this (thank you).

So what does this “how to write a book” planning phase consist of?

Good question to ask myself – I’m already 3 days into it and still finding my feet. The next blog will be a comprehensive plan of what I’ll be covering in the planning stage, confronting such horrors as:

  • Decide on an story idea – as mentioned, I’m pulling from an existing short story. Or at least, that’s the plan.
  • Figure out what, where and who the story is about.
  • Create a concrete breakdown of the story so I know what I’m writing and when in the year.
  • What research do I need to do for this novel?

And that’s just the beginning. I’ve a lot to get on with. And it’s only Day 3 of 365.

Thanks for reading

– Tom