best writing app

The best app for NaNoWriMo – 30 Day Novel

best NaNoWriMo app - 30 Day NovelWrite your novel in 30 days with the new app 30 Day Novel. Exercises, inspiration, and valuable advice to help you write a first draft of your novel from start to finish.

Why the 30 Day Novel app is the best NaNoWriMo app out there:

There are plenty of great word-counter apps, as well as apps that allow you to type text in a clean interface on your phone.  30 Day Novel app is different.  It’s a content-rich app that is as educational as it is inspirational. This is an app built by a writer, for writers.
Featuring a day-by-day guide to getting your novel on the page, plus helpful mini-lessons on plot, structure, characterization, dialogue, setting, voice, and more. In addition to the daily guide, a series of 500-word writing prompts will help you get past procrastination to get the bones of your story on the page. The Notes on Craft section includes in-depth articles on the finer points of narrative craft, as well as fascinating stories and advice from successful authors. In the Resources section, you’ll find workbooks, writing classes, and opportunities to submit your work for publication.

Want to write a novel? 30 Day Novel will help you reach the finish line. I developed this app for Fiction Attic Press–a small, independent press I run out of Northern California, which is dedicated to discovering and publishing new writers.

Get it now on the itunes app store.

Writer-friendly features:

  • Use the daily assignments to get your novel out of your head and onto the page.
  • Get a crash course in narrative craft with helpful mini-lessons on plot, structure, characterization, dialogue, setting, voice, and more.
  • A series of 500-word writing prompts will help you get past procrastination and get the bones of your story on the page.
  • The Notes on Craft section includes fascinating stories and advice from successful authors, as well as in-depth articles on the finer points of narrative craft.
  • In the Resources section, you’ll find innovative workbooks, exclusive discounts on writing classes, and opportunities to submit your work for publication, as well as an “ASK” button where you can get answers to your writing questions.
  • At the end of 30 days, you’ll have a first draft of your novel. Once you’re finished, learn the important next steps for revising and publishing your novel.
  • Even after you’ve completed the 30 days of assignments, you’ll find regularly updated content in the form of new 500-word writing prompts and additional notes on narrative craft.

If you’ve always wanted to write a novel but you don’t know where to begin, or if need inspiration and advice to draft your novel, the 30 Day Novel app is for you!

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How to Get Past Fear and Procrastination and Write Your Novel

Anyone who tells you that writing a novel is easy has probably never written one. Here are the five most common statements I hear from people who are struggling to write a novel:

I don’t know where to begin.

I’ve written a few chapters, but I can’t figure out where to go from here.

I have a great idea for a novel, but the idea of actually sitting down and writing it feels too daunting.

I’ve heard you’re supposed to write an outline for your novel, so I did. Now what?

I’ve actually written a novel before, but I put it away because it isn’t good enough to send out.

No magic formula.
If you find yourself nodding your head to any of these statements, I know what you’re going through. I’ve been there. The truth is, there’s no magic formula for writing a novel. Writing a novel comes with no guarantee of publication, of success, of sales, of an audience. But if you’re reading this email, you probably know all that already. And I believe that you’ve already made up your mind about one thing: writing a novel is worth the time and effort, the headaches, the inevitable state of not knowing what will happen to the book into which you’ve poured your heart and soul.

You don’t have to know where you’re going.

Too often, novels don’t get written because writers think they have to know exactly where the novel is going before they begin. I worked on my breakout novel, The Year of Fog, for more than a year before I knew what would happen to the child who was kidnapped in chapter one. A year! Most of the how-to books on novel writing will tell you to sit down and write an outline first, and start writing your novel later. My approach is the opposite. There actually will come a time to write an outline, but not until you’re deep into the book, with some key chapters and scenes already written.

Try this:

While I’ve never found a formula for writing, what I have found is a process. It works for me. It has worked for many of my students.

Here are the 4 basic principles.

1.Get some stuff on the page. Write a few key scenes, and fill them with significant detail. Don’t write what you know, necessarily, but write what you care about.

2.Figure out who your characters are and what makes them tick.

3.Put it all together using a process of arrangement that involves your primary story arc, at least one subplot, and thematic associations that add depth and interest to your story.

4.Revise the novel using a revision checklist. Make sure the first 50 pages will catch the attention of one (or all) of these three key people: agent, publisher, reader. Send it out.

I call this process The Paperclip Method.

What’s different about The Paperclip Method is that it doesn’t ask you to know what your story means or where it goes when you begin. It is, instead, a highly intuitive process that requires you to simply enjoy the writing first, and make the tough decisions about what goes where later. Sounds like procrastination, but it’s really about discovery. So often, when working with private clients, I’ll praise a particular section of the book for its naturalness, for the fluidity of the writing and the complexity of the characters. Often, the surprised writer will say, “But that was one of the easiest chapters to write!”

Letting go of the inner tension

I think what’s happened in these sections is that the writer has let go of the inner tension of trying to make the passage fit into a predefined idea, and has, instead, written about what mattered to them in the story.

Forget you’re writing a novel.

So, if you’ve been holding back on your novel because it scared you, or because you got stuck, or because you simply didn’t know where to go, my primary advice would be to forget for a moment that you’re writing a novel.

Instead, begin here:
“I want to write this story because…”

Follow that up with:
“I care about these characters because…”

Then, see where it takes you! You might be surprised.

Learn more about writing your novel with The Paperclip Method.

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Revision: first draft vs. final draft

No one writes a perfect story, essay, or novel the first time around. That’s where revision comes in. The first draft contains everything you wanted to say. The final draft contains everything you needed to say—those things that are essential to the story.

The first draft is likely to have more abstractions, while the final draft should be brimming with significant detail.

The final draft should not contain every detail you find interesting or clever, every detail that came to you during your many inspired and challenging hours of writing. It should, instead, contain relevant details that add meaning. Purple flowered couch may be less meaningful, for example, than the broken pot beneath the window. The purple couch is merely a matter of taste, whereas the broken pot indicates that something has happened—a break-in, maybe, or a more general state of disrepair in the lives of the characters.

The final draft may be longer or shorter than the first draft, depending on your inclinations, but it should be more focused.

I usually edit out many thousands of words over the course of my revisions, but some writers create a skeletal first draft and flesh it out later. I tend to write an overblown first draft and pare it down over time. Whether you pare down or expand upon your first draft, in the end, your final draft should be more focused. The associations among the various parts of your narrative will be clearer, and the themes will have been strengthened by the actions and observations of the characters.

The first draft is your baby, the thing you can’t let go of. The final draft is your concession that a book must be interesting, it must be cognizant of an audience, and it must make the reader want to keep turning pages.

By “concession” I do not mean that you have sold your literary soul, only that you have found a way to combine your best vision and your hard-won narrative skills, in order to make a thing of beauty that is both meaningful and entertaining.

Michelle Richmond is the author of four novels and two story collections. Get her weekly writing and publishing tips, or sign up for an online writing class.

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NaNoWriMo Day 7

This entry is part 2 of 4 in the series How to Write a Novel

It’s day 7 of National Novel Writing Month. If you’re following the plan of writing about 1,660 words per day, you’ll have just shy of 12,000 words by the end of the today. If all is going well, by now, here’s what you have established in the past seven days:

  • Your protagonist’s motivation
  • Your setting–where and when the story takes place
  • The point of view: who is telling the story, and from what distance?
  • The premise: what is the primary conflict driving the novel?

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NaNoWriMo Day One 2013

This entry is part 4 of 4 in the series How to Write a Novel

Are you ready to draft a 50,000 word novel in 30 days? If so, you’ll be pleased to note that Thursday is the first day of the annual brouhaha known as National Novel Writing Month, or Nanowrimo.

On November 30, I’d like to catch up with the 160,000 or so folks who have signed up for Nanowrimo this year, just to see how many have written a draft of a novel in 30 days. And then I would like to shake their hands.

I wrote my most recent novel in three four years, the one before that in a year (under duress), the one before that in four years, and the one before that in two. My story collection took, oh, eight years or so. I would not recommend taking this long to write a novel. One becomes depressed as the years drag on and the novel sits unfinished. One begins to look back and think, “What did I do with all those days?”

Of course, I imagine that most people embarking on Nanowrimo are younger than I am. It may be possible to draft a novel in a month if you have a job but no kids, or if you have kids but no job. Other things you should not have if you want to participate in Nanowrimo: emergencies, car trouble, a leaking roof, a spouse or live-in partner, a roommate, a dog, a drinking habit, scheduled work trips, scheduled vacations, a yoga habit, a habit, outbursts of mental laziness. Since writing is my day job and I clearly have no yoga habit, I have just talked myself into attempting a draft of a novel in 50 days, the spouse be damned. My outbursts of mental laziness will have to cease and desist. Okay, maybe not a whole draft of a novel, but half of a draft. I hereby commit. I’ll check in 30 days from now and tell you how far I got.

Meanwhile, if you’re up for the challenge, head over to for camraderie and encouragement. And today, day one, try this: (more…)

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