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My Experience Writing a 50k Story in One Month

The Success and Failures

By BlankmarksPublished about a year ago 5 min read
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My Experience Writing a 50k Story in One Month
Photo by Susan Q Yin on Unsplash

Last July, I entered a contest on MegaNovel called King of System. One of the requirements was to write at least 50k words in a month.

The longest story I’ve written was Last Gods and that was 40k over months. So I buckled down, put everything on the back burner, and wrote.

This is what I learned from the experience. Some advice, observations, and benefits/cons for anyone that wants to write 50k words in a month.

Please, Outline First

This is coming from a discovery writer, I wish I had more time to outline. I was 4 days behind and so I rushed to the writing part. I only gave myself a day to outline but that wasn’t enough.

Being a discovery helped in most cases. I had a general idea of the first arc so I wasn’t completely lost. It was the details that blindsided me.

What should spells the main character learn next?

How exactly does the magic work?

How do artifacts work?

How does the multiverse work? How do I explain that and pace it well?

These types of questions occasionally popped up and slowed my progress.

So sadly, I just left it vague or winged it until I reached 50k. I’m currently detailing the heck out of these concepts. I still need to at least write one chapter a week but it’s something.

It might be seen as a lot but I would suggest giving yourself 3-7 days before the month begins. If you’re a discovery writer like me, a basic plot outline is fine. But worldbuilding and important concepts need more detail.

These things need to be consistent to prevent awkward questions and plot holes. I tried my best but I’m sure there might be one or two head tilts somewhere.

It does depend on what story you’re writing though. Mystery, thriller and simpler stories might not need 3-7 days. But better safe than sorry.

When I started writing, I didn’t feel comfortable going back and outlining future concepts. I was in rush and that hurt me in more ways than one.

Pace Yourself Better Than Me

So yeah, you probably know to pace yourself by now. If you start from the beginning of the month then 1.6k words are all you need to make it.

Then there’s me.

I wrote 2-4k every day, most of the day. It was okay at first but eventually, I started to get bored and frustrated with writing. My hands also started to suffer from doing this.

Near the end of the month, I decided to pull back and only write 2k unless I’m excited. I also decided to take a full day’s break every time I hit 10k.

That’s easier to aim for instead of 50k so I would recommend doing that. It also motivated me to write more when close to a rest day.

Those days when I actually wanted to write 4k and was sad to stop are important. They help make up for rest days and make you excited for the rest of the story.

They are like the boost gauge in sonic games, they are when you enter the zone.

Aim for That Zone

The best and most memorable parts of July were when I was in the zone. When the scene plays in your head like an anime. When everything clicks and by the end of the day, you would’ve written 4k words.

To have the most fun and to speed through your daily quota, this is what you should aim for.

The zone is different for each writer and story. Mine came in with important character moments and fight scenes.

So I don’t know how to help you reach your zone. But here are some questions for you to consider:

• What do you like the most about your genre?

• What scene are you looking forward to the most?

• If this scene/story was adapted what would it look like?

You can also listen to some music that fits with the scene. Really get into that world.

Another important factor to consider is the environment.

Find the Proper Environment

I usually write in bed but that didn’t go well. It was going as normal at first but my hands started to hurt, my motivation lowered, and the neck cramps.

So instead I wrote while sitting on a chair with a desk holding my PC. All the problems before melted away. If I got the energy to sit up then I have the energy to work.

Change your environment if you suffer from any of the problems mentioned before.

But no matter how nice the environment is, it won’t make editing any less painful.

Editing Is Harder

Editing a short story is fine, fun even. But editing a 50k story on a time limit is not.

I was so scared of missing the deadline that I did the bare minimum. Hemingway and Grammarly. That’s it. It works but I could have done more like I usually do with short stories.

Mind you, I did this after each chapter. Don’t do it after the 50k is all done. Editing all that at once is not an option. I don’t know how professional book editors do it.

Unlike the previous sections, I have no solution.

Maybe if I wrote shorter chapters, extra editing would’ve bled time.

Maybe if I had a beta reader, extra editing would be more fun.

Maybe if I started at the beginning of the month.

It all depends on your current situation and tools. The best I can say is to write short chapters and pace yourself better. You’ll probably have time to edit more than me.

Conclusion

That’s my experience with writing a novel-length story arc. I hope the advice and personal tales help you when writing your 50k word story.

The benefits I found afterward include:

Relaxation. After writing 2-4k words on the desk all day, it feels extra nice to curl up in bed.

• Improved writing confidence. I got to 50k within a month after all. It’s a nice feeling, despite the thought that my story might still be terrible in the end.

• Slight Increase in writing speed. Results may vary.

• Better writing routine. It’s become a habit to write on the desk instead of the bed. My posture also improved.

The consequences I noticed afterward include:

• Slight writing burnout after finally stopping. I still write but I need to convince myself more often than usual.

I will also leave you with this amazing video by Brandon Sanderson. I watched this video at the beginning of July and it gave me a better idea on how to move forward.

I couldn’t follow everything due to rules and other factors but it’s a good video for first-time novel-length writers.

If you would like to support me or if you’re interested in the story I wrote, check it out here. It’s not done either, 50k is just the first arc and some change. I would love feedback

With that, I’m done.

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About the Creator

Blankmarks

I’m Blankmarks and I love magic and fiction. I’ll write about various magic types and concepts not only for fun but to help writers create new magical worlds. I'll also post short stories, writing tips, and more.

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