There is a novel-writing contest, from a native publishing house in my country. I would love to participate. Submissions are due in four month's time. I have an outline of my story.

Can anyone help me to find out how to effectively use that time for writing - editing-rewriting, which results in a better manuscript? I have a full time job and only a get maximum of 3 hrs per day for writing.

2 Answers 2


Per National Novel Writing Month, a novel will have a 50,000+ word count and, if you make adequate daily contributions, you should be writing something like 1,676 word per day to complete the novel in 30 days. Having done this twice and writing more words then minimum required, I was able to finish with a few days to spare.

A trick I used was to further chunk the writing into about 500 word chunks and would write to the scene, not to a word count goal. I would typically write a segment before leaving for work, one during my lunch break, and one during the evening while working a five day work week and would try to see if I could work in more chunks on the weekend. Since the goal was "to the scene" not "to the 500", it allowed flexibility. Some days I might have long scenes and over produce my 1500 quota, and other days I might have shorter scenes and under produce. I wrote in intended reading order as well, so what I was writing would follow my narrative progression my reader would read.

In MS Word default settings, 500 words is a single page. The small chunks also allowed me to work in breaks so I could let the next steps stew in my head... when I went to write them, they were largely formed in my mind, I was just transcribing (I also think while moving, so if for no other reason then too take a walk, this worked for me).

As the deadline approached, the pace I was writing at picked up (in part because it was a holiday week right at the point I was hitting climax actions).

Can't help with editing and rewrite, as I took a month off where the only thing I did was print rough drafts for beta readers and only reread for editing a month after finishing my first draft. I will say that I found that you should read your book backwards (starting on the last sentence on the last page and read to first sentence of the first page) as it decontexts the sentence and allows for better grammar checking, though you do need to do a front to back for story continuity. Do this with a printed version of your text and a pen and mark where you need to add, remove, or correct in you novel. if you have someone to beta read, have them do a read and offer feedback... If you can talk with them frequently, ask them about their progress and thoughts up to that point. This helps with getting a good idea of what the audience thinks is going to happen vs what you know. If they ask you about elements of the plot, give them an answer that won't spoil the twist. It also helps to identify which twists were foreshadowed well and which were not.

Rewrite should be the period where you add these corrections from editing to your script. Grammar and cut content should be quick to remove, though added content may need some time to write up.


I hate to be the bearer of bad news but if submission are required in the English Language, you've got your work cut out. Let's examine your question:

There is a context for novels? - Did you mean: there is a novel-writing contest?

I loved to participate in it? - Did you mean: I would love to participate?

I have a four month time period before the submission date. - This is a mess. Maybe: Submissions are due in four month's time.

I had an outline of my story? - Did you mean: I have an outline of my story?

I know. It's difficult. You're going to need help - a lot of help, probably too much help.

Maybe next year?

  • 1
    No.. it's in my mother tongue.
    – Sangeetha
    Dec 12, 2019 at 15:06
  • 2
    "...if submission are required in the English Language..." Don't you mean "submissions are required"?
    – Snowshard
    Dec 12, 2019 at 16:51
  • 1
    Posting an "answer" just to denigrate the OP's command of English, really? Dec 13, 2019 at 13:51
  • @motosubatsu - If that's what your comprehensions skills showed you . . . sad. It was not unreasonable to assume that as the question was posted on an English speaking site it pertained to the English Language. As the first four sentences were written in very questionable English, it is honest and fair judgement to doubt the writer's ability to get up speed in the time allowed.
    – Surtsey
    Dec 13, 2019 at 14:03
  • 4
    @Surtsey sigh Again, nothing wrong with telling someone they aren't ready for something, it's how you chose to convey your message I take issue with as opposed to the message itself. Dec 13, 2019 at 15:54

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