How to write a novel in three weeks, or what I learned writing a novel in three weeks:
Step Zero: Be improvished student on summer break with only three weeks between finishing finals and start of summer session.
It may help you focus. Plus, this becomes your day job.
Step One: Come up with basic plot
Girl meets boy, girl marries boy for political reasons, stuff happens of the shit-hits-fan variety, they maybe fall in love.
Step Two: Figure out the character flaw of the main characters and their basic emotional arcs
Girl: insecure about her lower-class origin - must prove self worthy of current role.
Boy: inadequacy issues with comparisons to dead brother - must prove just as good as dead brother would have been.
Bad Guy: Territorialism/resentment of lower-class giving themselves airs - fight to preserve status quo.
Step Three: Come up with general linguistic air and color scheme of people, technology of society
anglo-saxon v. hindu v. african v. latin v. ?
middle Ages, today, or future?
magic, science, or neither?
Step Four: Throw Caution to the Wind and Write
- Don’t edit, write new material
- Stick to daily page count
- Don't get bogged down with linguistic crap - stick in a placeholder ("[bard]","[Z's husband]") and then move on.
- Take a day off if need be to walk around living room asking yourself, “and then what happens”.
- Re-read favorite portions of beloved book by beloved author for guidance and inspiration. Actual portions, book, and author may vary by day.
- Show, don’t tell.
- Describe little things, they make the moment real.
- Remember: Real People Make Mistakes. This includes your characters.
- Don’t be afraid to have characters answer different questions than the ones they were asked, or to interrupt one another.
- Draw a vague map.
- Outline bits if the mood strikes you - but outlining doesn't count in the daily page count
Your Mileage May Vary, God Knows, Mine Will.