Of all the rules Stephen King has laid down for writers, none gets my attention like this one:
"You have three months."
That’s not three months to create an outline or write a prologue but rather three months to complete an entire first draft. Whether the book is 30,000 words or 300,000 makes no difference.
Last week, I began month three in my quest to write book seven. I am now more than 72,000 words and fifty chapters into a novel that I hope will be my best.
Along the way, I’ve learned a few things. I’ve learned a lot about 1938, 1939, and Princeton, New Jersey, the setting of the novel, and even more about a central truth of fiction.
You don’t control the story or the characters. They control you.
When I outlined the second novel of the American Journey series in March, I had a time-travel romance in mind. What has emerged is a more sophisticated work, a book that takes a few risks and views two critical years from a fresh perspective.
I probably won't beat King’s ninety-day deadline. There are lawns to mow, fish to catch, vacations to take, and a summer to enjoy. But I probably will come close.
I hope to have that all-important first draft out by the third week of July. I expect to publish by Thanksgiving.