The 6-Month Method

fotolio-6-monthsThe Agile Writer Method can help you get started with your first-draft novel.

  • The Agile Writer Method is based on storytelling methods that are centuries old.
  • We borrow from the best: mythology, documentaries, screenwriting, project management and psychology
  • We’ve used this method at the Agile Writer Workshop since 2011 and we’ve produced dozens of first-draft novels


Misconceptions About Novel Writing

  • I don’t have anything to say.
  • I don’t have enough education.
  • I am lousy at spelling and grammar.
  • I will never get published, so why start?
  • I’m a lousy storyteller.
  • I’ve never completed anything.

The Agile Writer Method addresses all of these issues.

What is a novel? What is it about a novel that makes it not a short story or novella or a memoir or autobiography or essay? A lot of people come to Agile Writers wanting to get published without knowing what it is they want to publish. So, let’s go over the things that make a written work a novel – and what, specifically, is an Agile Novel.

The first step in writing your Agile Novel is to write a Story Abstract. This is a one-page description of your novel. It defines your audience and asks you to think about the point of your story before you start writing. This will help you to define what your story is about. It is also dynamic – you’ll come back to this and change it as your story develops.

The Agile Novel is a Hero’s Journey inspired by the works of Joseph Campbell. The story is hero-centered. When we say “hero” we simply mean the central character of the story. This is sometimes called the protagonist. This is not to be confused with the common use of the word “hero” which means someone who acts in a heroic, selfless fashion (like first responders or our military men or women). The “hero” may be male or female, we still call them the “hero.”

Now that you know what we consider the hero of the story, take a look at the second document you’ll create to describe your Agile Novel. The Hero Abstract is a one- or two-page description of your hero. Remember that regardless of whether your hero is male or female, we still call them the hero. You want your reader to “become” the hero. The reader will experience your world through the hero. The hero should have universal qualities, emotions, and motivations so that your readers will identify those qualities in themselves.

The Agile Storyboard is a structured outline of your story. It draws upon Aristotle, Campbell, Vogler, Field, and Hauge to create a framework for your novel. By using this approach you “chunk up” your story into manageable portions. The Agile Storyboard requires you to think about your story before you start writing manuscript pages. You’ll find it easier to change your Storyboard than to change your manuscript.