Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Book in a Month: The Fool-Proof System for Writing a Novel in 30 Days” as Want to Read:
Book in a Month: The Fool-Proof System for Writing a Novel in 30 Days
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Book in a Month: The Fool-Proof System for Writing a Novel in 30 Days

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  493 ratings  ·  57 reviews
What Can You Accomplish in 30 Days?

If you make time to write and put away all of your excuses, could you stay on track and finish your novel in only a month? With a structured plan and a focused goal, yes, you can!

Using a combination of flexible weekly schedules, focused instruction, and detailed worksheets, author Victoria Schmidt leads you through a proven 30-day novel

Spiral-bound, 288 pages
Published December 26th 2007 by Writer's Digest Books
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Book in a Month, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Book in a Month

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.76  · 
Rating details
 ·  493 ratings  ·  57 reviews

Sort order
Aug 21, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommended to Rose by: Amazon
To be honest, I'm not sure how helpful "Book in a Month" would be if a writer follows it down to the teeth. Speaking from experience, I didn't follow it strictly on the day to day activities it prompted me to do. I would often do two to three days worth of plotting/planning from the book in one single day, just in 20 minute bites of time. And noting that Schmidt relies on three act structure (which some of my stories do not follow) that might be something worth noting for people who may or may n ...more
If Chris Baty's No Plot? No Problem! is for budding "pantsers," I'd say this book is decent for budding outliners looking to speed through a first draft. Schmidt offers a crash course in three-act structure as part of her plan, and the print version of the book is actually a spiral workbook for you to fill out as you develop your story. (She encourages you to buy a new copy of the book for every book you write. Heh heh... of course.)

I think I might have found this book very appealing during my e
Oct 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: writers
Recommended to Lee by: saw it on a display
I personally believe that to write a book in 30 days borders on insanity, I enjoy reading the different methodologies for accomplishing this Herculean feat. Of all the books I've perused, this one remains my favorite.

Schmidt's approach requires a systematic way of approaching one's writing. As you move through her book, you fill out various forms (which you can download off of the Writer's Digest website) to create a template for your novel. She explains there reason behind each template and ho
Glenn Guillory
Dec 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a workbook. It has explanation of a system of structuring and then writing a novel in 30 days that really works.

Of the five publications (books) I've had published, I wrote all five on this system of novel building, writing, and revising.

In every case, with no exception, the novels I've written using this book (workbook) ALL WERE PUBLISHED FROM THIS FIRST DRAFT I GENERATED USING BIAM.

BIAM, Book In A Month: Day 1, 2, 3, ...30, are begun with a brief two or three pages of instruction, us
Nov 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Totally loved this book.

I'm normally very wary about books on writing. I've picked up a few out of curiosity and have ended up with an overwhelming desire to tear their pages out and flush them down the toilet, or set them on fire,
all while screaming "Don't tell me what to do!"

I'm definitely one of the ones who feels like very "structured" classes on writing take away from the creative process. I don't like being told HOW to do things. This is probably a character flaw of mine. I'm working on
J.P. Barnaby
Jul 30, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: research, writing
It wasn't a bad book - it gave a few good pointers on finishing a novel within 30 days. The worksheets are interesting, but it drives the potential author into a formulaic approach to writing. Also, it may be a good resource for new authors, but I didn't gain much value from the daily exercises.
Oct 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Wow. This book has actually been a quite useful time management tool for writing fiction, and I'm only 2/3 of the way through it. Great for those prone to procrastination and in need of encouragement. I managed to complete a 54 page rough draft in a month and a half.
Chad Schimke
Jul 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
BOOK IN A MONTH - Book in a Month by Victoria Lynn Schmidt is an excellent tool for writers. Out of the several dozen books I have on writing craft and promotion; it’s got to be one of the best. Why? All of the ideas aren’t necessarily new (examples – hero vs. villain; plot/ subplot; three act structure; short story arc; draft, edit and revise). What’s great about it: take your novel idea off the procrastination shelf, open this toolkit and sit down. Complete your first draft. No excuses! What’s ...more
Rebecca Jordan
May 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I love this book. I've written about three novels. Though some people might find it formulaic, I've got a good deal out of the structure. You can also pick and choose which exercises you'd like to do, but the great part about the book is that you WILL write that novel you've been putting off!
Kat Faitour
Mar 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: author-stuff
This is one of the first books on craft I read and it still helps form the spine of my structural style. I know, it's not a book about structure. Except it is, in many ways. It also gives great advice for fast writing--but I caution anyone to take what works and discard the rest--don't try to shoehorn yourself into something that just doesn't work for you or makes you miserable (I recommend "Dear Writer, You Need to Quit" by Becca Syme for finding your own rhythm).
Sep 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: All writers
Recommended to Nik by: Amazon
This is a great book. I own a copy and use it as a reference. It's great at helping you set goals and find plot holes. I learned some great writing techniques to help me get the story flowing.

Still, I feel compelled to mention, not all books can be written in a month. The BIAM process was written and is used by a career fiction writer who writes formulaic books. With that being said, if you are writing a romance novel there are certain rules you must follow.

When you follow all those rules, you
Carolyn James
Jul 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing
Before I start my review, I'll be straight up: I did not end up writing a book successfully in 30 days, BUT! That's no fault of the BIAM system. Knowing how big demands at my work were, I wasn't expecting to finish a full out novel. I have done it in the past with Nanowrimo and it takes a lot of time, which I sadly don't have. Why use this book then? Well, I was hoping it would help me draft a novel idea I had and help me get some words on the paper. With that I'd say I was successful. My bigges ...more
The book is decent, but not entirely for me. Parts of it are ones I will snag for my plotting methods, but probably not the book as a whole. I don't like how the author suggests readers buy a new copy of the book for every project. I get where she's coming from, as this will make it a mobile writing system, but it's rather greedy and entirely unnecessary. You can make your own copies of the worksheets with pens, paper, and a notebook/binder (about $5, rather than $15 and up for physical book) an ...more
Jul 16, 2013 rated it liked it
Not sure if I like this book. I definitely learned some things, so it wasn't a complete waste of time but it didn't help me write a book in 30 days. The worksheets are more of a distraction from writing than a tool for getting a draft done.
Kimberly [Come Hither Books]
Jun 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing
This gave me everything I needed to tackle (and WIN!) my first Nanowrimo, with a story that has since been developed into a full novel. Worked for me!
Feb 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Myria Fry
I'm going to rate this a 4 with the caveat that if I really write a book from 01Mar-30Mar, then I come back and give it a 5, but if I don't... it will lose a star to 3. :P

I was surprised by how much of this book dwelt on self-esteem, and the resistance that writers give themselves in self-sabotage. So... I was impressed. This isn't a tick off the box, you have to write exactly this much daily, it was a take care of yourself, but also realize that you need to take some baby steps before you chang
Aug 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Has a very good set up to help you develop your novel in just one month. It has lots of exercises for you to do while you are writing your draft to help you get through the process. It will involve a lot of writing that will never end up in the actual book though, so this method may not be for everyone. It would actually probably work very well if you already had a rough draft of your novel and then used the exercises to make sure you're on the right track.
Elizabeth Howe
Nov 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library
I feel that this book will help me with editing or making the outline of a book that I've written to help fix it then it would to actually write it in 30 days. I'm a seat of the pants writer.
Jul 15, 2017 rated it it was ok
Interesting and perhaps helpful to some, but it didn't do anything for me.
Nov 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
There are some really helpful nuggets of information in this book. I enjoyed reading it and made lots of notes, which to me is always a good sign that its content is useful.

I then tried to put its advice into practice during NaNoWriMo, and realised that there were a few sections where the author listed actions that you should do on a particular day (or gave headings to fill in on a worksheet) but then didn't actually explain what those activities meant, or suggest any examples. So sometimes it
LS Schulz
Feb 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing
A friend of mine picked this book up and handed it to me to look at after I told her I had read a similar 30 day novel writing book so that I could compare them. There is no direct comparison, though. While they both deal with outlining in some fashion, I think the approach in this book is much more usable, especially to a writer who is new to outlining or who prefers to be a "pantser". And, of course, you really only need to use whichever items make sense for you, even though the daily exercise ...more
Oct 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
As an aspiring writer, I have been looking for resources that will help me organize my time and my ideas in order to produce a finished manuscript. I think I have finally found it in this book. While not every single exercise fits my book idea, the overall structure of how to get from the first page to the last page will be very useful.

I was most impressed by the first third of the book that aims to eliminate the resistance that I know I, as a first time novel writer, deal with every day. After
Natacha Pavlov
Oct 02, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: language-writing
This was an easy-to-follow, step by step guide to writing fast, which brings to mind NaNoWriMo and could be used for that purpose. Although it’s designed to be followed as you’re writing, I think it’s just as helpful to read it before the month you decide to write your novel. I did notice that she mentions ‘foreshadowing’ events in your work quite a bit, which I feel can be double-edged sword depending on the kind of writing you want to do. In some ways you may want to drop hints, but I’ve also ...more
Nov 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: how-to, nonfiction
Schmidt lays out how to write a book in just one month. The bad news is that you likely can't start the book on day one of your bookwriting month. Instead, you'll want to spend the month outlining and fleshing out the story before you begin your book-writing month.

That said, Schmidt does have a day-by-day worksheet layout (you can find the worksheets online for free) so that you just might be able to write the book--or at least parts of it--within a month.

Lots of help, and Schmidt has an online
Feb 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2010
Currently, I am using this book to write my first draft. I'm sure my first draft will be awful but I will spend months, maybe years, editing in hiding. I love the format of this book since I thrive on list and structure to get anything done. If you like to have a project organized to completion try this book. However, if you just want to write like a mad person, and that may work too, then stay way from this book.
Jan 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you are a Polly Planner, BIAM has a plethora of worksheets to satisfy your obsession. The first portion of the book was full of "you can do it!" platitudes (I bought the book, already. I obviously think I can do it.) The remainder is an exercise extravaganza to brainstorm outlines. Great reminders/advice of what makes a story great from an experienced writer.
PDF's of the worksheets are available online, but thorough explanations are in the book.
M. Ray Holloway Jr.
Oct 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent book to help you get your notes and thoughts organized to write a book. Even if you don't get through writing the book on 30 days, you will be so much better organized and ready to produce your masterpiece. I am going through my first attempt write a rough draft of a novel in one month. I am in week one, but things are going well, and I'm almost one-fourth done.
Ms. Nikki
2.5 Stars
I liked No Plot, No Problem better. This one is not as motivational and the pages you are supposed to write your progress and ideals on are very small. I may or may not use it in the future. This book is for when you're ready to write. You have all three ACTS written out to give you a guideline and you know which genre you are writing in and in which voice you are going to write.
Mercedes Yardley
Oct 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
I think this is a fabulous book with valuable information and worksheets. However, I wouldn't use it to complete a book in a month. So much time is spent reading and completing the worksheets that it really isn't feasible to write unless you have completely ditched all of your other responsibilities for the month. But the information alone was exceptionally useful.
Oct 09, 2018 rated it it was ok
Perhaps a better title would be "Book Outline In a Month". I think this is a useful tool for those who prefer a methodical approach to planning their novels but otherwise a less-than-useful resource for those who have already planned out their book and simply struggle to actually sit down and write the thing.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • 90 Days to Your Novel: A Day-By-Day Plan for Outlining & Writing Your Book
  • What Would Your Character Do?
  • First Draft in 30 Days: A Novel Writer's System for Building a Complete and Cohesive Manuscript
  • The Productive Writer: Tips & Tools to Help You Write More, Stress Less & Create Success
  • Getting the Words Right
  • Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook: Hands-On Help for Making Your Novel Stand Out and Succeed
  • The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master
  • Write That Book Already!: The Tough Love You Need to Get Published Now
  • The Marshall Plan® for Novel Writing
  • The Weekend Novelist
  • Bullies, Bastards and Bitches: How to Write the Bad Guys of Fiction
  • The Writer's Compass: From Story Map to Finished Draft in 7 Stages
  • How to Be a Writer: Building Your Creative Skills Through Practice and Play
  • The Power of Point of View: Make Your Story Come to Life
  • Fiction Writer's Workshop
  • Writing Dialogue
  • The Writer's Idea Book
  • Breathing Life Into Your Characters: How to Give Your Characters Emotional & Psychological Depth
“Self-esteem means you can say to yourself, “I matter, and so do my goals.” 1 likes
“If you are working on a short story for a small online press, don't try to write a serious, world-changing, add-this-to-the-literary-canon masterpiece. Do your best work, but keep it all in perspective. Save the stress for when it is really called for, like facing a two-week deadline to rewrite a novel for a major house.” 0 likes
More quotes…