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The 90-Day Novel: Unlock the story within

3.87  ·  Rating Details ·  411 Ratings  ·  49 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
Kindle Edition, 306 pages
Published (first published October 10th 2010)
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Nov 02, 2010 Jessica rated it it was ok
This book is a practical how-to book on writing fiction. Many of the how to books are inspirational and theoretical as well as biographical. This book is about the nuts and bolts of getting the story out and onto the page.

The main idea in it is to write the first draft fast, fast, fast. It is messy and ugly and terribly flawed- but it has potential. And it gets you in the habit of writing past your inner critic. The next step is to work with the material it generated to hone a finished work.

Jerry Brown
Oct 25, 2010 Jerry Brown rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mandatory-craft
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
Nov 02, 2010 Jenna rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 07, 2012 Cathryn rated it it was amazing
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.
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.
John Gilbert
Jun 23, 2012 John Gilbert rated it liked it
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
Dec 12, 2010 Carolynstotes rated it it was amazing
"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
Nov 03, 2010 Kathryn rated it it was amazing
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
Judy Croome
Feb 02, 2012 Judy Croome rated it liked it
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
Steve Sasaki
Nov 09, 2010 Steve Sasaki rated it it was amazing
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
Gwyn Huff
Jan 02, 2012 Gwyn Huff rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: aspiring and discouraged writers
Recommended to Gwyn 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
Jan 09, 2012 Elie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
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...
Sep 21, 2011 Leo rated it it was amazing
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?
May 14, 2011 Boingboing rated it really liked it
Shelves: keeper
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
Nov 04, 2010 Leah rated it it was amazing
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.
Prity Malhotra
Sep 16, 2014 Prity Malhotra rated it did not like it
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.
Marcella Burnard
Feb 25, 2011 Marcella Burnard rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
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.
Ally Bishop
Nov 14, 2011 Ally Bishop rated it it was amazing
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.
Catherine Oyster
Jan 17, 2017 Catherine Oyster rated it really liked it
Helpful and motivating. Four stars because my hero is a She so it really annoys me that He is the only sex used to refer to a hero. Was this book written before the 1980's?

I'd suggest instructional books written for men and women use he and she interchangeably throughout. Or pick "she" for the next two hundred years. It's rather alienating and dismissive of 50% of humans on earth and my main character on a subconscious level - which is the level these exercises are supposed to work on.

Janis Ian
May 21, 2015 Janis Ian rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Years ago, when I asked a (pretty successful, very well known) writer what advice she had for me - just beginning to write prose - she said "Sit butt in chair. Write." Great advice, but nerve wrackingly difficult, especially if you've never written long-form fiction before.
I bought this book with some trepidation. All silly concerns - my friends would laugh at me (in fact, several who saw it on my desk rolled their eyes). It would be too "generic", eg it wouldn't address the problems I personall
Christian Faith
Feb 26, 2014 Christian Faith rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 08, 2014 Wendy rated it really liked it
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
Jan 02, 2013 Tatra rated it really liked it
April 25-28, 2015
I've decided to actually go day by day for my latest novel, but I knew it would drive me crazy to have this one book on my list, so I skimmed it again. It really is full of good things.

August 18-22, 2013
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 novel
Jan 11, 2015 LKM rated it did not like it
It had interesting exercises, but I didn't really like any of them and didn't feel half of them helped me actually move forward with the story. I didn't find them helpful at all (well, maybe one or two), and it just seems like it'll lead you to a very formulaic novel (even if at its very core every novel is formulaic, as it follows a beginning, middle and end, after all).
Also the basic tips it gives behind all the exercises and rambling are pretty obvious tips.

This might work for some people, b
Aug 10, 2013 Traci rated it really liked it
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
Jun 25, 2011 Jennifer Fischetto rated it really liked it
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
Susannah Gautier
Apr 15, 2014 Susannah Gautier rated it it was amazing
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
Arial Burnz
Jul 18, 2015 Arial Burnz rated it it was amazing
Shelves: craft-of-writing
I cannot recommend this book enough! This is a great book to help find the heart of your characters and, therefore, your storyline. It is a MUST read for all authors - seasoned or aspiring.

Alan uses excellent methods to help tap into the subconscious, where all of our stories actually originate. Writer's block is frequently caused by our own conscious mind arguing with our subconscious mind. When that happens, the subconscious closes down and refuses to share ideas...since they're being resisted
Michael Shreeve
Aug 30, 2013 Michael Shreeve rated it liked it
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 19 Feb 19, 2012 09:54AM  
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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
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“Our willingness to write truthfully brings the story to life.” 12 likes
“Our job as writers is to be as curious as a child, to see things for the first time, and to never assume. We must always be willing to surrender our idea of the story to allow the larger story to emerge. We are seeking to understand the nature of things, the underlying forces at work.” 9 likes
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