90 Days To My Novel: The First 35 Days


When I started posting 90 Days to My Novel, I intended on writing something helpful. However, I haven’t really done that. Valuable content takes time to write. At least, it takes me time and my writing time has been spent developing my novel. I’ve finally arrived at the writing part of my ninety days so I thought I would share what I worked on in the past thirty-five (more than that but let’s pretend).

Character Bio Sheets on Excel (cause I think that way)

  • For each main character, I have filled out the following information: name; age; occupation; family members or significant others; personality traits; character history (where is s/he from); highest level of education; physical traits; biggest motivator; biggest fear; things s/he likes; things s/he dislikes; Where does s/he live?; What kind of music does s/he listen to?; What does s/he like about herself?; What does s/he dislike about herself?; What is her/his favorite childhood memory?; What is her/his most traumatic life event?; What is her/his most prized possession?; What kind of transportation does s/he use?; What is her/his favourite food?; What is the most interesting thing about this character?; What does this character’s voice sound like?; If limited to five words, which ones would most people who know this character use to describe her/him?
  • For each minor character, I have only name; age; occupation; brief physical description; brief history; relationship to main character(s); purpose in the scene; What does s/he reveal about the main character?

Character Exploration

I have answered the following questions about my four major players regarding

  • Motives: What does this character want most in the world? What obstacles, events, or people will stand in the way of getting what s/he wants?
  • Setting: Where does this character live? What is her/his favourite place?
  • Emotions: How each main character deals physically, verbally and internally with conflict by writing some tentative scenes.

Novel Development

  • Point of View: By writing some short scenes, I’ve tested various points of views. I’ve definitely settled on a third person narrator and will probably use the four main characters to tell the story (Three have a clear voice, the fourth I’m not so sure of yet).
  • Narrative Arc: All conflicts have been written down, culminating to plot points, and divided in to Acts.
  • Outline: Each scene (on Excel, of course!) has been numbered, the setting chosen, the characters identified, the summary written, the point of the scene described, its relation to the previous scene and the overall story noted, and the scene protagonist’s potential gain or loss and the conflict spelled out.
By forcing myself to follow the 90 Days to Your Novel plan, I’ve actually come up with ideas for my novel that I probably wouldn’t have had I simply been writing it off the cuff. By doing all this thinking before writing, I’ve also become more conscious of the characters, the story and what I want readers to get out of it. In other words, I consider these thirty-five days (I’m still pretending) well spent.
Leave a comment. I love hearing from you.
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  1. #1 by feekwrites on July 1, 2011 - 6:35 PM

    I’ve just bought the 90 Day book – digital download version. I will be reading it and following it along as well to see if it helps me organize my thoughts for my new story (first novel length story). feekwrites.wordpress.com

    • #2 by Patricia Caviglia on July 4, 2011 - 4:51 PM

      I’m so glad to hear that. I hope that you’re expanding your interests and haven’t given given up on the screenwriting.

  2. #3 by Geraldine Solon on June 29, 2011 - 4:40 PM

    Great advice! I also follow the same pattern of creating character sketches on a spreadsheet. It’s very helpful with keeping your characters consistent. I love the 90 day plan which is how long it usually takes me to finish my first draft. Thanks for sharing!

    • #4 by Patricia Caviglia on June 30, 2011 - 1:25 AM

      I really am enjoying the 90 day plan. It’s definitely going to take me longer than 90 days to finish my first draft! But I do feel that working within such a structured plan is helping me write a better story.

  3. #5 by patriciasands on June 29, 2011 - 10:57 AM

    You’ve been hard at it and with proven results. Write on!

  4. #6 by Patricia Caviglia on June 25, 2011 - 11:50 PM

    Thanks Jeff! I appreciate the support.

  5. #7 by Jeff Greene on June 24, 2011 - 11:38 AM

    Glad to see this is going well. Keep it up

  1. A Writing Plan | Patricia Caviglia

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