Five Steps to Writing a Romance Novella in Two Weeks
Can you write a romance novella (20,000 words) in two weeks? You bet! Here are my five steps to writing a romance novella in only two weeks:
1- Create a writing plan
Before becoming a published author, I was very disorganized. Being the creative-type, I just went with the flow and wrote when I felt like writing. This doesn't work when you have a goal of writing 20,000 words in ten days. So, I enlisted the help of my husband (totally organized) and together we created a writing schedule. Since I don't write on the weekends, I only had ten days to work with. Each day, I had to write a minimum of 2,000 words.
Confession: There were some days when I only got 1,500 words done. The next day, I made up the missing words by writing 2,500 words. I didn't stress when I came up short on a day. Stress breeds writer's block and no one wants that.
2- Block out time and turn off all distractions
I know this is hard to do nowadays but it helped me immensely. I wrote from 1:00 - 5:00 pm every day. I made sure the phone was turned off and that I had all of my other to-do's done before lunchtime. I shut down social media and email so I wasn't distracted. I made sure I had my water bottle nearby and had music on to get me in the mood. I even put on a hat that I called my "writing" hat to get me ready to write. When I had on my hat, I was in writer-mode.
3- Keep a notebook of notes you can jot down character names, story-arcs and ideas
I found this crucial when I was writing. I was able to flip through my notes and keep writing. My notes allowed the ideas to flow out of me quicker onto the page while staying focused on the plot.
4- Have a few accountability partners
This is one of the most important steps. Time is limited and you have a goal to reach. You need your own cheering section. Halfway-through, I started to lose momentum. My brain was tired and I started to doubt my ability to reach my goal of 20,000 words. I reached out to my three accountability partners and they boosted my spirits. My husband is amazing and so supportive. Every night, he asked me about what I wrote and how I did. He listened as I brainstormed and offered feedback.
5- Celebrate when you achieve your goal
Before I started writing my romance novella, I told myself when I finished I was going to celebrate. If I was going to work my fingers (and muse) to the bone, the least I could do is get something in return. My husband decided to cook me a gourmet meal with my favorites (lobster, steak, garlic mashed potatoes and creamed corn) when I finished. The image of that meal kept me going, even through the rough patches.
It took me two weeks (intense writing boot camp) but I did it! I wrote a romance novella in that stretch of time and it's one I'm extremely proud of. In fact, that same novella is featured below.
Title: Planting the Seeds of Love: A Novella
Author: N. N. Light
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Torn between two men, Sally must follow her heart and decide if love will lead her to the city or the countryside.
Twenty-Two-year-old Sally Rayton returns to the family farm she deserted four years ago to bury her grandfather. Her plan: to settle her grandfather's estate and return to her life in the city with her boyfriend, Trevor Mattson.
Her childhood friend, Jack Smith, has other ideas.
Jack convinces Sally to transform the farm into a brewery and fulfill her grandfather's dream while keeping the Rayton Farm in the family. Sally works side-by-side with Jack while Trevor is hundreds of miles away in the city. The more time she spends with Jack, the stronger her feelings are for him.
When Trevor shows up to propose to Sally right before Christmas and finds her in Jack's embrace, she must make the biggest choice of her life: true love.
"Jack, thank you so much for the lift into town," a woman replied behind Sally. "Let's grab some lunch before we shop."
Sally froze. She stared at Linda who shook her head. What was Jack doing with a woman in town?
"Here, let me take your coat, Emma," Jack said.
Emma? mouthed Sally to Linda.
"She's the daughter of Lonnie and Mary Beth." Linda gave Emma the look-over and scoffed, "She can't be a day over sixteen."
"What do I do?" Sally panicked. Normally she didn't care what Jack did or who he went off with. Curiosity got the better of her and she turned around.
Emma stood five foot three with curly blonde hair and innocent green eyes. Her figure was slim with curves in all the right places. Sally narrowed her eyes as Emma stood on tiptoe to kiss Jack on the cheek.
Fuming, Sally turned around. Linda chuckled.
"You better tone down your jealousy, darlin'. You're shooting darts everywhere."
Sally gritted her teeth.
"I'm not jealous. If Jack wants school girls kissing him, what do I care?" She took a deep drink of her coffee, draining the cup. She slammed it down.
"Simmer down, here they come," whispered Linda. She waved to Jack while Sally swore under her breath.
"Well, fancy meeting you two here," Jack drawled.
Without looking up Sally retorted, "I told you I was coming into town today."
Linda kicked Sally's leg under the table. Sally plastered a smile across her face, greeting Jack and Emma.
"Yes, what a coincidence." Sally noticed Emma looping her arm in Jack's and snuggling closer.
"I was on my way into town to pick up those parts we ordered for the tractor when I ran into Emma walking by herself in the snow." Jack smiled. Emma squeezed his arm.
"He pulled over and offered me a lift into town. Isn't he a gentleman?" cooed Emma. Jack patted her hand.
Sally's chest constricted at the sight of the two of them acting all couple-y. She stared into his twinkling eyes. Oh God, is he laughing at me? Emma can't have him. He's mine. Wait what?
"So," Linda broke the strained silence. "I have to go powder my nose. Emma, would you care to join me?"
"What's that?" Emma looked confused.
Linda laughed. "It's the bathroom, dear sweet child." She stood up, untangled Emma from Jack and guided Emma away from the table.
Jack sat down.
"What's with you today?" he asked.
"Nothing." Sally cleared her throat.
He raised an eyebrow.
"Really!" A few diners turned to stare. Sally flushed with embarrassment. She didn't mean to talk so loud. She looked everywhere except in Jack's direction.
Jack observed Sally as she fidgeted, first with her coffee cup then with the silverware. His gaze unnerved her and she practically jumped out of her chair when he placed a hand over hers. Electricity flew up her arm while warmth filled her core. Butterflies raced around her stomach, only she didn't feel sick; she pulsed with life, like never before.
"Sally...look at me."
Sally shook her head.
"You'll only laugh at me."
Jack's thumb caressed her hand gently, causing her breath to hitch.
"You know I'd never laugh at you. Laugh with you, definitely, but never at you."
Sally lifted her gaze to meet Jack's loving eyes. He slid his fingers between hers, never breaking eye contact. Sparks flew between them. He moistened his lips with a flick of his tongue. Her gaze dropped to his lips.
"Please tell me. I'm begging you," he whispered.
Unable to think clearly through the fog of desire, Sally tilted her head to one side. Her skin vibrated with heat while her nerve-endings jumped at the slightest caress.
"Tell you what?" she whispered. Her throat dry, her breathing shallow, she wet her lips with her tongue. She was under a spell and everything fell away except for Jack's passionate eyes.
"Tell me what my wasted heart needs to hear." His eyes flashed. "Tell me Emma made you jealous."
Sally started to nod but Emma interrupted.
"What are you guys talking about in hushed tones? Crops and stuff?"
Jack groaned. He dropped Sally's hand as if it burned him, causing the water glasses to jostle.
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