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The 90-Day Novel: Unlock the Story Within

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  233 ratings  ·  40 reviews
Alan Watt wrote the first draft of his novel Diamond Dogs in just under 90 days, and later sold the North American rights for $500,000 to Little, Brown in a bidding war. The book became a national bestseller, won a slew of awards and is soon to be a major motion picture.

Get the first draft down quickly! The 90-Day Novel is a day-by-day guide through the process of getting
Paperback, 310 pages
Published May 23rd 2011 by 90-Day Novel Press (first published October 10th 2010)
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Jerry Brown
I needed a workshop to overcome a serious block, so I googled everything that was available, from online miracle cures to neighborhood reading clubs.

The only one that stood out was called "The 90-Day Novel Workshop." Unlike the others, most of which were built around structural techniques, this one said forget about structure, we need to probe our unconscious to find the truth about the story we want to tell. And let the structure reveal itself as part of the process. Two meetings a week, two h
This is a fantastic resource for anyone who wants to write a novel. I spent years laboring under what I thought my story was, and using this method, I wrote a first draft in only 90 days!

There is so much freedom in this method, but the book also teaches much about story structure. Most books on writing I've seen focus on either structure or freewriting - this book combines both, and beautifully.

I am told that he is working on a book called The 90-Day Rewrite also, so we will have additional t
I've read over fifty books on the craft of fiction. The 90-Day Novel stands in the top five. Using the exercises in this book changed the way I write fiction. At the risk of melodrama, the book was life-changing in that it opened the door to help me understand why I write the kinds of stories I do, and gave me incredibly deeper access to my Voice. I highly recommend it.
As a new writer I did not want to learn the writing craft in a University setting but I quickly realized that I needed instruction and guidance in the vast world of creating fiction. For several years I struggled to teach myself at home with how-to books on writing. I've read a lot of them. And there are a lot out there.

But Al's book is the most practical how-to book on writing I've read to date. Many of the how to books are inspirational and theoretical as well as biographical.

This book is abou
"Couldn't Have Done it without Alan Watt and the 90 Day Novel!"

The 90 Day Novel is a savior!! Having never written a full piece before, I signed up for one of Alan Watt's 90 Day Novel Workshops and now am forever grateful!

I truly believe I never would have finished my first novel without the brilliance of the 90 Day Novels guidance. The structure it gives along with a 90 day time commitment creates an environment for creativity to freely flourish within the natural journey towards a transformat
A friend wrote the words, 'Al Watt. The 90 Day Novel' on the back of her business card and handed it to me with an emphatic, "Check it out." The next thing I knew I was writing the book I'd put off for over a year.

In my experience, The 90 Day Novel provides an ideal balance between specific guidance and no hard and fast rules, and Al keeps the process moving at a pace that discourages resistance and promotes progress. There is an alchemy to it whereby decisions are made, protagonists come to lif
John Gilbert
Alan Watt has hit on an excellent (if not unique) method for leading novice - and experienced - writers towards the goal of writing a good first draft novel. Using stream of consciousness techniques he begins 90 days of writing exercises by exploring the fears of the writer, arguing that even they can be used to form the nucleus of any novel.

He then gets the reader/writer to mine and explore theme, character, and images that could be used to create a novel plot. I say, could, because Watt stres
Steve Sasaki
The 90-Day Novel is a book and a process I believe in, and in my view may be larger than the author himself. Alan Watt’s methods coax, guide, and encourage, so virtually all can finding a story within, worth telling. He was able to take a novice, me, and provide an on-going writing process. I’m thrilled I continue to work with a sense of purpose and urgency.

In the past I had taken many writing courses and seminars. Most emphasized the elements which comprised a great story, but none provided a
Gwen Huff
Jan 03, 2012 Gwen Huff rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: aspiring and discouraged writers
Recommended to Gwen by: Several authors
Shelves: writing-books
I pull this book out everytime I need to get going writing. It's not that I have writers' block but have writers' doubt. We have to pay our "dues"; have thick skin; and be open to critiques from anyone--and still get started on the next story. I'd write even if I never published. I'm a word smith and at heart the old fashioned story teller. So Mr. Watt is my comfort and acceleration tool until I'm pounding the keys on my own. I've read his book and the second time around actually did all the exe ...more
Some really helpful ideas, questions, and concepts, but I was turned off by the constant repetitive advertisements for his own novels. Examples and deeper discussion of points all revolved around Diamond Dogs, as if you had to read both to get the full impact of this "workshop". I skipped all that and just focused on the weekly "assignments".
Because of this book, I actually *did* write a memoir in 90 Days. So, if you want to cheat writer's block and have your story in your head--or heart--go for it. For those of us stuck in edits, it looks like there's a sequel int he works...
To anyone used to reading this sort of book, Watt has a very unique and, for me, a very useful approach. If this book does not get you writing, well, maybe take up knitting? Archery? Crosswords?
Judy Croome
Feb 02, 2012 Judy Croome rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Novice writers

Written in a friendly approachable style, THE 90-DAY NOVEL takes an unusual approach in that it makes a good effort at explaining the unconscious aspects of writing. Combining tips and secrets, quotes and writing exercise, Watt encourages the reader through the dynamic process of completing a first draft of a novel within a 90-day period.

His explanation of showing versus telling to add life to a story was very good, as were many of the writing secrets he revealed. At last I feel comfortable bei
A very hands on writing book. Watt takes you from the beginning and holds your hand all the way through to the end. He lists engaging questions to think about for your characters, helps you to see your way through the world and gets you started with every day.

The only complaint I had was that some of the days there towards the beginning seemed rather sparse in what was done for that day and it felt like some of the exercises and prompts could have been combined to move things along a little fast
I read this book AGES ago. Followed some of the advice, but in the end you end up with nonsense. It would be cool if your subconscious could produce a great novel, but it really can't. It takes quite a bit of research and motivations and things that are well thought out.

On the one hand though, I found out my subconscious makes really questionable choices.
I used this book to write a rough draft of my first novel. I found it extremely helpful. The book gives you assignments each day. The first four weeks are used to explore the characters in your book and produce an outline of the novel. The outline that the author recommends is in three acts. The rest of the book asks you to work on the actual novel.

The structure of the book was very helpful, giving me ideas about the kinds of things my characters might bring to the story, reminding me about the
Christian Faith
I had been struggling with writing my novel, not because I'm not a good writer (that can be learned), but because my story was so personal it was physically hard to get it on paper. At the beginning of this book it lists reasons why you might be struggling. One of the reasons is that you feel like you might "die" if you write your book. I suddenly felt understood. My sister on the other hand didn't get it. How could you "die" from writing a book she asked. This book may not be for everyone. It i ...more
Al Watt has an accessible approach to writing with "The 90-Day Novel" and his method is deeply satisfying. Watt puts you in touch with your deepest source of imagination and give you the tools and exercises to tap into that source to write your original story. Watt has reverence for the creative process and that humble approach and concise exercises related to structure allows students to write novels in 90 days!
Guinevere Thomas
Definitely good tips. A lot of times the author is being a bit repetitive, but I believe it is in good faith. He is constantly trying to make writers understand you must make a habit of doing certain things to achieve your first drafts quickly.

It's up to the reader to take the advice for face value or not.
Ally Bishop
This is a must read for any writer. It will change the way you look at your muse and blast through writer's block. Can't recommend it highly enough... And I'm not a fan of how-to books.
Marcella Burnard
Not that I'm DOING what the book says - which is writing my novel in 90 days, this book is more than worth the price of admission.
Prity Malhotra
Write a Conflicting Book with Hero & the Antagonist having Backstories,strength,weakness,hidden agendas,lies etc etc. This is the only Advice the Author gives throughout this Book apart from self-publicizing his own Book Diamond Dogs. Now that you read this above Tips,you don't hv to read this 300 pages of GIbberish.
I read this book straight through instead of doing it day by day because I found that things go better if I absorb the information before trying to apply it.

I really liked what Alan Watt had to say about creating fiction and I think I can tie it into how I already write my novels (the process evolves with each new book I try). I think I might even have the patience one day to try this whole thing out.

*whistles innocently* I may have created a list of percentages in order to help myself keep trac
I recommend this book to every single writer I come across...and anyone that wants to write!! Alan Watt's book gave me daily inspiration which motivated me through two novels...and now his book is motivating and pushing me through my third. Thank God for this book!!
Susannah Gautier
I love this book. It spoke to me in a way no other writing book has before. I use it all the time- though not necessarily the way the author intended. I generally use the questions in the back to ask your characters. By the time I've answered those in their POV, I know my characters and their motivations very well- in fact, I often find plot twists and ideas that arise from answering those questions. The author, Mr Watt has a very positive, inspiring attitude that comes through the pages. It's a ...more
I like this book very much. Alan Watt was very lucky tob write it. He devised a method to write a first draft following a kind of engineering. I did not find bad when he used his own book as an example. In fact I see people using their own work as examples. I believe it's easy, and human. To write a book is an exausting task, and it's interesting to have a routine to make the writer a productive guy.
I like it, and I recommend it to anyone who wants to write a novel.
I have problems finishing novels I begin writing. A small part of me feels, after reading this book that I fall victim to fears that prevent me from going on. I have learned after reading this, that I need to give myself permission to write poorly. I can fix things later in the end. The first draft is about telling my story, not about getting it perfect the first time!

This book is practical, it breaks things down into easily digestible parts which makes the idea of writing a book seem a lot easi
Jennifer Fischetto
I haven't completed this book in full, but I've used it several times for different wips. Each time I used it through the first couple of months. The exercises are great for getting to know your characters and story more. I've found, however, that I didn't feel the connection to my story after working on them then I did before. And I'm a plotter, so I don't have problems with thinking things through before the writing process.

Regardless, I still think it's a great book and helpful to some. I'll
John Brooke
As a beginning writer who has read many How-to -Books on writing a Novel, I found that the 90 Day Novel actually was of real practical assistance. It combines an inspirational preface for each days writing effort, practical guidelines, and examples. Yes, within the 90 days with this invaluable tutoring assistance, this neophyte novelist actually wrote his first draft of his 400 page book. I am currently completing the revised drafts in preparation for the complete frightening rewrite. A good boo ...more
Michael Shreeve
These days I only read "how to write novels in 5 days or less and make 1 million dollars" for pleasure. It can be an interesting exercise to look into the mind of another writer. Just realize it is another writer. It isn't you.

I desperately wish I could have the same success as Alan (writes a novel in 90 days. A few weeks after that sells it for $500,000. Not a bad way to make a living.). But this guy is writing a book with some serious survivor bias going on.

Good tips, but there is a long lis
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"Couldn't Have Done it without Alan Watt and the 90 Day Novel!" 2 15 Feb 19, 2012 09:54AM  
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  • Hooked: Write Fiction That Grabs Readers at Page One & Never Lets Them Go
  • Dialogue: Techniques and exercises for crafting effective dialogue
  • Revision & Self-Editing: Techniques for Transforming Your First Draft Into a Finished Novel
  • How to Be a Writer: Building Your Creative Skills Through Practice and Play
  • The Productive Writer: Tips & Tools to Help You Write More, Stress Less & Create Success
  • Description & Setting
  • Characters, Emotion & Viewpoint: Techniques and Exercises for Crafting Dynamic Characters and Effective Viewpoints
  • On Writing Romance: How to Craft a Novel That Sells
  • 500 Ways to Be a Better Writer
  • Your First Novel: A Published Author and a Top Agent Share the Keys to Achieving Your Dream
  • Writing the Paranormal Novel: Techniques and Exercises for Weaving Supernatural Elements Into Your Story.
  • The Complete Handbook Of Novel Writing: Everything You Need To Know About Creating & Selling Your Work (Writers Digest)
  • The Key: How to Write Damn Good Fiction Using the Power of Myth
  • 90 Days to Your Novel: A Day-By-Day Plan for Outlining & Writing Your Book
  • The 38 Most Common Fiction Writing Mistakes
  • The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master
Alan Watt is a novelist, screenwriter and playwright. His bestselling novel Diamond Dogs (Little, Brown), won numerous awards including France’s 2004 Prix Printemps (best foreign novel). He recently adapted the book for French film company, Quad, and it is soon to be a feature film. His book, The 90-Day Novel, is one of the top-selling books on writing. He's also the author of The 90-Day Rewrite a ...more
More about Alan Watt...
Diamond Dogs The 90-Day Rewrite My First Novel The 90-Day Screenplay: From concept to polish

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“Our willingness to write truthfully brings the story to life.” 8 likes
“There is a ruthlessness to the creative act. It often involves a betrayal of the status quo.” 6 likes
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