Ready, Set, Novel!

04/01/2016 Writing 14

Ready, Set, Novel!One thing I said I wanted to do in my New Year’s Resolution post was start working on a larger fiction project, a novel in fact, seen as I’ve never successfully completed a work of fiction longer than about 5,000 words (I did NaNoWriMo in 2014 but have yet to finish or edit the 42,000 words I wrote!).

Therefore whilst I was in Waterstones the other day, armed with a gift voucher courtesy of my lovely boyfriend (who may have later regretted that decision seen as he had to be in the shop with me for ages whilst I dithered between various different possibilities – I’m not known for my speedy decision making, especially not where books are concerned!), I picked up Ready, Set, Novel: a workbook for planning a novel created by the people behind NaNoWriMo.

The workbook starts from the idea process, offering various prompts to get those creative juices flowing, and guides you through various stages of plotting, character creation and world building (including drawing a map of the novel’s setting which looks fun!). Basically it looks super useful and I can’t wait to get started working in it!

Ready, Set, Novel!

Ready, Set, Novel!The only problem is deciding which of the many ideas I have floating around in my head to use it to plan (or should I just use the ideas section and come up with something completely new?). One of the reasons I’ve never completed anything longer than a short story is because I tend to start working on one idea I love and then come up with ‘a better one’, and then start working on that instead, and so on and so forth. Sticking to one idea long enough to fill out the workbook will probably be enough of a challenge, let alone writing the novel!

The main two ideas I am playing with are completely re-plotting and rewriting my NaNoWriMo 2014 sci-fi/dystopian novel (you can read a synopsis and excerpt here) seen as I did absolutely no planning before spewing out the first 42,000 words of the book, or attempting to start afresh and write some kind of fantasy book (seen as that’s my absolute favourite genre to read). The only problem I foresee with that is that it is so hard to write something original in the fantasy genre (plus the world-building is so much work!) – I don’t want to accidentally write some kind of LOTR/ASOIAF rehash.

Anyway, has anyone else used this workbook? Would you consider using it to plot your novel? And if anyone has any suggestions about what to do with it, feel free to offer them in the comments!

14 Responses to “Ready, Set, Novel!”

  1. Katie

    This looks like a super useful book! I may need to go and pick one up for myself. You’re not alone in taking a long time to choose books, I can easily spend hours in bookshops, trying to decided which one I want to buy!

    Maybe you could play around with a few ideas and see where it leads you? I once got told in a creative writing class that if you have multiple ideas swimming around, see if you can incorporate them into one story and it might take you somewhere unexpected!

    Good luck with your novel 🙂

    Katie from

    • Laura

      It’s so hard work choosing! I’m even like that in the library, and it’s not like I’m even spending money there!
      Playing around with a few ideas sounds like a really good plan, so I’ll definitely try that. I don’t want to end up writing something boring, so probably by using a few possible ideas it will turn into something really original. Thanks for your suggestion! 🙂

  2. Darina

    I didn’t knew this book but I think it can be helpful! Maybe I will bought one myself. Writing can be difficult, so a little bit of help is all what we need! 🙂

  3. Cait @ Paper Fury

    I’ve heard of it? Vaguley? But definitely never used anything like this!! I think it could be a great way to keep you focused on how building a novel works!! And fantasy is hard, omg, IT DEFINITELY IS!! But there are sooo many things you can do *nods* So if it’s your passion, go for it, and don’t worry about LOTR/ASOIAF. ;D But the world building is hard, hehehhh. I’m still working on my sucky fantasy worlds. BUT IT’S FUN so I don’t mind. 😀
    Thanks for stopping by @ Paper Fury!

    • Laura

      Yeah, I’m really hoping it helps, especially with the world building which I think will be the hardest part.
      And I’m sure your fantasy worlds aren’t sucky! I’m definitely going to read what you have up on Wattpad anyway, and I’m sure it’s awesome 🙂

  4. Caroline

    Best of luck with this. I think it was Mary Poppins who said “well begun is half done” and I’m a big believer in a bit of forward planning to get any project off the ground.

    Can’t wait to hear how you get on. 🙂

    • Laura

      Generally I just start writing and hope for the best, but seen as I’ve never yet finished anything by working like that I thought I’d give this whole planning thing a try! Hopefully it will really get my novel (whatever it may be) off the ground! 🙂

  5. Jay

    Don’t worry Laura. I’ve already said I don’t mind spending time in Waterstones! 🙂

  6. nordie

    In terms of world setting, it might not be as big an issue as you think.

    Not exactly the same genre, I grant you, but I’ve recently read a Paranormal romance almost exclusively dealing with Fae people. (

    The world building was definitely a light touch, with the story set primarily in Las Vegas, which allows for the focus to be on the unusual, and even then not heavy.

    Dont know if this allows you to think on stuff

    • Laura

      It’s an interesting thought to set a fantasy story in a real life setting and then just do some light world-building around it…I’ll definitely check this out! Thanks 🙂

  7. Jackie

    I have thought about buying Ready, Set, Novel! a few times, but I never have. I think I would almost feel overwhelmed by the giant workbook. I’ve had several ideas for novels stashed away in my mind, so I wouldn’t know which one to start. Then, I would be too afraid that I would pick one idea and then half way through, I would want to start fleshing out another idea. But of course, I wouldn’t want to start that half way through the workbook, so then I would feel inclined to go buy a new one and start over. It’s a vicious cycle.

    But, I have to say, I’m really intrigued by your sci-fi story you shared. The concept is pretty chilling, and the excerpt you shared was gritty, which I really appreciated.

    • Laura

      It was super hard trying to pick which idea to use, and to be honest I’ve made pretty slow progress with the workbook so far, but I definitely think it will help me write my novel in the long run. I did worry about changing my idea halfway through the book though, but thankfully I’ve stuck with this one so far!
      I’m glad you like the sci-fi idea! 🙂

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