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

By | 2018-03-26T15:30:28+00:00 February 3rd, 2017|How To Write A Book, Month One, Year One|2 Comments

About the Author:

I'm thirty five this year and for work I run my own small website/digital design business. I have a best friend and luckily she is also my wife. This is all capped off with our three year old daughter, who is the greatest/messiest thing ever. I'm writing One Book One Year to kick my own ass into gear with a long term dream, otherwise I'll never do it.


  1. Will Hughes February 11, 2017 at 10:54 pm - Reply

    The lure of lots of research can be the biggest hurdle – my personal feeling is that immersing yourself in the environment helps you tuck away ideas. My fledgling idea is based around a local cemetery I have regularly walked through and I intend to take several photos for my “mood board” ( ex-teacher talking here!). I also attend a local history class and a recent visit to the town’s archives has given me an idea of how to develop a story based on historical fact.

    Your use of existing short stories obviously gives you a head-start but may not be available for any newcomers to this kind of guided activity?

    • Tom February 15, 2017 at 12:14 pm - Reply

      The idea of environmental immersion tucking away ideas is exactly right! One of the original short stories was derailed when I had to get my research up to speed on how to artificially move a planet from one system to the next. Not an easy subject to just dip into.

      And the existing stories is a huge boost and platform to launch from. I think I’d recommend getting some kind of writing under your belt before starting with a no-holds-barred writing challenge like this – the amount of awful writing I’ve got lurking on my computer is horrifying, but I’m much happier that it emerged and turned out to be a fairly crap idea, rather than holding onto that spark and nurturing it over time so that the moment it is committed to paper it is already losing potency. It’s a difficult one to fulfill, but you have to just get some ideas out and start sorting through them. As Faulkner said, Kill Your Darlings 🙂

Leave A Comment