Can you write 52 Scenes in 52 Weeks? Our sister website, Deadlines for Writers, has the perfect writing challenge for you.
Can You Write 52 Scenes In 52 Weeks?
We have written 12 Short Stories in 12 months. We have written 12 Poems in 12 Months.
Can you write your novel in a year?
The Folder That Lurks
There is a folder hidden in the depths of my computer. It sits there, complacent and certain of its place in the world. So certain because it has been transferred from computer to computer and survived upgrade after upgrade. It’s so old you can even hear the dial-up connection when you open some of the files.
Blue and rectangular it sits there in its judgement of me. It is the place my unfinished stories go to die. A collection of incomplete manuscripts that once were the vehicles of my hopes and dreams.
It is a sad little folder called ‘Work in Progress’. I open it every once in a while, dabble with a few paragraphs, change a font here and there, but rarely do I actually work on the story. Instead, I close the folder and tell myself I’ll be inspired later, tomorrow, over the weekend. And yet, here I still am with folder that lurks and no story. Dramatic? Yes, a tad, but I am so over it.
So what am I am going to do to change this sad, little habit?
The New Challenge
In 2017, we started 12 Short Stories. We have written one short story per month for the last four years. That is 48 short stories. Those short stories came with deadlines. Deadlines that made the stories appear. Sometimes a week before, sometimes a day before, sometimes with less than an hour left to post, but there was always a story. For me, deadlines seem to do the trick.
But after four years of short stories, it is time to level up. I know I can meet the deadlines for the short stories, but what I really want to write again is a novel. With Nano you can do it in 30 days, and Stephen King says you should do it in three months. Both great ideas, but those didn’t work for me. I need more of a manageable pace. That is the thinking behind 52 Scenes in 52 weeks.
For the sake of this exercise we will write one scene per week. A scene should be between 1200 and 1500 words. We will write 52 scenes. (You can read more about scenes here, but don’t worry too much about the theory. When you sign-up will receive a big workbook that explains it in detail.) If you submit a minimum of 1200 words per week for 52 consecutive weeks you will have written 64 000 words of your novel. Is it going to be easy? Nope, but you will have the support and enthusiasm of a group of like-minded writers with the same goal. You will also give and receive feedback while you write and learn from your fellow writers.
The challenge starts on 30 December 2020. That is when the first prompt will be published. You will have seven days to write your scene. You must post it on 6 January 2021. The new prompt will be published on the same day. You will have seven days to write the next scene and read and comment on four other scenes. You will do this 52 times. Sign up here.
I believe in plotting, but you do not have to plot for this challenge. You can pants through it, wing it, make it up as you go along or you can plan your story. The workbook will be a great help with that. But you can plot all you want and it will help you, but every week you will receive a new prompt. The deadlines make the stories appear, but the prompts add the magic. It is a little of bit of the unknown to keep you on your toes.
When you sign up, you will receive an 80-page workbook to download that will explain plotting and scene structure in detail. It also contains lots of writing advice and tips on what to do when you get stuck. You will get stuck. It’s normal. It’s a guide to help you through the year.
You need to submit a scene once a week, but that means you need to set time aside to write. Note: you will never have time to write. You have to make the time. I plan on setting aside two hours on a Sunday afternoon. Another option would be to write a little bit every day. On Writers Write you can sign up for a daily writing email, which includes a prompt or you can download the monthly writing prompts, which are published on the last day of every month.
There are four reprieves throughout the year. These should be saved for unforeseen circumstances, illness, planned vacations, and other serious reasons. Writer’s block, absentee muses and “I’m stuck” are not serious or unforeseen reasons. That’s why you are here. Please contact me (Mia) before the deadline if you need a reprieve. You will still have to write the scene but you will be able to post on a different date.
When you sign up you will receive:
- A profile on Deadlines for Writers.
- Access to the 52 Scenes in 52 Weeks Community. (2021)
- 52 Prompts, published weekly, which will help you to brainstorm your next scene.
- A weekly deadline to hold you accountable.
- The awesome workbook.
And at the end, if you post one scene per week for 52 weeks, you will have a book. It won’t be final and it won’t be perfect, but it will be a story that you can rewrite and polish.
Is It For You?
This is a new challenge, but we know our deadlines work. Writing a novel is a big undertaking. You do not have to do it alone.
Who Is Mia?
Mia is a creative writing teacher, coach and manuscript appraiser. She helps writers to find their voices and unravel their stories by empowering them with knowledge, providing accountability and helping them write the books they’ve always dreamed of writing.
What Is Deadlines For Writers?
Deadlines for Writers is the home of several writing challenges. We help writers beat procrastination by providing prompts, deadlines, and a safe place to post their work. We give and receive kind, but constructive feedback.
by Mia Botha
Buy Mia’s book on how to write short stories: Write the crap out of it and other short story writing advice
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