How does it work? 52 Scenes

Can you write a novel in a year? 

If you have always dreamed of writing a novel or if you have several incomplete manuscripts languishing in your drawer or if you need some extra help and accountability, well, this challenge is just for you.

Writing your novel does not have to be lonely. Writing your novel does not have to be a mad rush. Writing your novel does not have to suck.

Weekly deadlines, flexible prompts and a supportive community will make the challenge of writing a novel not only possible but fun.

Sounds good, right?

When you start a new novel it’s fun and exhilarating, but keeping the momentum going can be very hard. That’s where 52 Scenes will help to write and finish your novel over 52 consecutive weeks*.

How does it work?

You will receive a prompt every week. You have seven days to write a scene of 1300-1600 words that you will submit on the site. You will post one scene and comment on three scenes. This process is repeated for 52 weeks*.

You will also receive a workbook. The workbook explains what a scene is and what you will need to know to complete your story. You do not have to plot, but you can. You do not have to know what a scene is, but you’ll figure it out during the year and the prompts are very flexible.

There are also weekly writing sessions and monthly classes to attend. Recordings of the classes will available if you cannot attend live or if you would like to refer back to the theory.   

Why will a deadline help?

I started Deadlines for Writers because I needed accountability. I know how hard it can be to motivate yourself because I’m a recovering procrastinator. Now, it’s seven years later and I have learnt how effective and productive deadlines can be.



You will receive accountability, productivity, and access to a great community along with 52 prompts*, 52 deadlines* and a workbook to help you brainstorm your story. You will also give and receive feedback to and from your fellow writers on a weekly basis.


There are four reprieves throughout the year. These should be saved for unforeseen circumstances, illness, planned vacations and other serious reasons. Writer’s block, absentee muses and “I’m stuck” are not serious or unforeseen reasons. That’s why you are here.


Please contact Mia before the deadline if you need a reprieve. You will still have to write the scene but you will be able to post on a different date. (But only if you have discussed it with Mia.)


You will receive:


    • A profile on Deadlines for Writers.
    • Access to the 52 Scenes in 52 Weeks Community.
    • 52 Prompts*, published weekly, that will help you to brainstorm your next scene if you need an idea.
    • 52 deadlines* to hold you accountable.
    • An epic workbook.
    • Weekly online writing sessions.
    • Monthly online classes (recordings are available after the class if you can’t attend live). 
    • And at the end, if you post one scene per week for 52 weeks*, you will have a book. It won’t be final and it won’t be perfect, but it will be a story that you can rewrite and polish.  

Does 52 Scenes in 52 Weeks work?

Dates: 10 January 2024 - 18 December 2024

The challenge is to write 52 scenes in 52 consecutive weeks*. I have adjusted the weekly word count to ensure a two week break over Christmas and New Year. 

Why all the *'s Mia?

I have increased the word count by 100 words for every week.  That means we get to start a week later and end a week earlier. That would be the two weeks over Christmas and New Year. So wherever you see 52 Weeks it should be 50 weeks. I am not changing the name of the challenge it will still be 52 Scenes in 52 Weeks. I like it the way it is. I’ve just added a holiday. 


I will accept and approve posts for the specific prompt from, 8AM (Johannesburg time | GMT +2:00), on the day of the deadline until, 8AM (Johannesburg time | GMT +2:00) the following day on

Deadline day is always a Wednesday.

Please use a time zone converter to figure out what time that will be in your part of the world. 


For this challenge, we will write one scene per week. A scene should be between 1300 and 1600 words. We will write 52 scenes. (Don’t worry too much about the theory. When you sign-up you will receive a big workbook that explains it in detail.) If you submit a minimum of 1300 words per week for 52 consecutive weeks you will have written 64 000 words of your novel. Is it going to be easy? Nope, but you will have the support and enthusiasm of a group of like-minded writers with the same goal. You will also give and receive feedback while you write and learn from your fellow writers.

Prompts and plots

I believe in plotting, but you do not have to plot for this challenge. You can pants through it, wing it, make it up as you go along or you can plan your story. The workbook will be a great help with that. You can plot all you want and ignore the prompts, but the prompts do help. The deadlines make the stories appear, but the prompts add the magic. It is a little bit of the unknown to keep you on your toes. I’m going to say it again, you do not have to use the prompt. It is only meant to start your idea but it works especially well if you are a little stuck. 


When you sign up you will receive an 80-page workbook to download that will explain plotting and scene structure in detail. It also contains lots of writing advice and tips on what to do when you get stuck. You will get stuck. It’s normal. It’s a guide to help you through the year.  


You need to submit a scene once a week, but that means you need to set time aside to write. Note: you will never have time to write. You have to make the time. I plan on setting aside two hours on a Sunday afternoon. Another option would be to write a little bit every day. The weekly writing sessions are a great solution. 

It's better together

When I first planned this challenge, I did not think we’d have weekly writing sessions or have monthly classes, but it turns out that was where the magic was. Initially, I offered a free plotting class to get everyone going, but it was so wonderful to meet everyone from all over the world and to share our wins and our worries that it became a weekly institution.

52 Scenes Waitlist Jan 2025

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Feedback and critique partners

A very big part of this challenge is the feedback you receive from your peers. Each writer submits one scene and reads three. That means you will have writers giving you feedback while you write. You will do the same for them. Your critique partners are your first readers, your shoulders to cry on, your brainstorm partners and ultimately your biggest fans. 

They are the ones who you see in your mind’s eye when you are worried that you don’t have a scene for that week. They are ones who reach out and send encouraging messages when you are feeling a bit wobbly. They cheer the loudest when you make a breakthrough and cry hardest when you kill their favourite character.

Kindness is the key to our success. If you cannot be kind please do not sign up for this challenge. This site has been running for seven years. Giving and receiving feedback is such an important part of learning and growing as a writer. Please be very aware when you comment on another writer’s work. We are all here to learn and grow. This post explains a bit more about our process.

Weekly Writing Sessions

We meet weekly for writing sessions. These take place on a Sunday. There are two time slots. You will receive a list of dates and times for the sessions. These are not compulsory and there are writers who prefer not to attend and they write in their own time. Each session starts with a 15 min check in and Q&A, followed by a 60 min writing session. The writers use this time to write their scene for the week or to do their reading. After the writing session you are welcome to ask more questions. 

Monthly Writing Classes

Once a month, we learn. This is usually a 60 min class followed by a discussion on the chosen topic.  We cover plotting, not plotting, dialogue, viewpoint, setting, conflict, characters, pacing, and all the theory you need to finish your book. 

There are also two time slots to accommodate the different time zones. and all the classes are recorded and are available under the Education tab for you to watch in your own time or to refer back to at any time. 

Are the classes and writing sessions worth it?

The Investment

The investment for the 52-week program is only $480.  This is a non-refundable fee. It is non-refundable because it adds to the accountability. Payment plans are available. Please read the Terms and Conditions

What is included in the program?

52 prompts, 52 deadlines and 52 opportunities to give and receive feedback valued at $480 

And …

  • The awesome 52 Scenes Workbook valued at $60 
  • 52  live online writing sessions valued at $1499
  • 52  live, online group coaching sessions valued at $1499
  • 12 Theory lessons presented live valued at $1499 
  • Recordings of those lessons to access whenever you need valued at $600

And after 52 weeks you will have completed the first draft of your novel, which is simply priceless. 

And as a BONUS you will also receive the 30 Days of Plotting Course valued at $147 for bite-sized plotting lessons. 

All of this is valued at $5700 and you will receive it all when you sign up for only $480. 

FAQs and Common Concerns

I don’t have time. How much should I set aside for the challenge?

Yup, time is an issue, but the truth is you will never have time. There will always be something that demands your attention. What’s the saying, ‘the urgent will always trump the important’? At some stage, you will have to decide what is important to you. You can make time. It’s possible. We spend between 2-3 hours a week on the challenge. Attending the weekly writing sessions really helps to make time.

Money is a little tight, right now. Do you have payment plans?

Investing money in yourself and your work can be very scary, but putting some skin in the game will create added accountability. We pay more attention when we pay. 😜 If you really want to grow and improve as a writer you must invest in yourself. We do offer payment plans. Please do not hesitate to ask about the payment plans. I used payment plans for all the courses I have ever bought.

I don’t think I can do this. How will I know?

If that is really what you believe I won’t change your mind with a clever quote, but the numbers have proven that this system works and our writers do finish their books. If you have ever considered writing a book this is one of the safest, most supported ways to do it.

I have health challenges/small kids/a demanding job. How can I balance it all?

These are real. It’s easy to say we use our health, our families, and our jobs as excuses, but it is also a reality, and they aren’t going anywhere. This challenge however was designed to write at a slower pace and to accommodate all the demands we have on our time. You do have four reprieves throughout the year for unforeseen circumstances and vacations. We get it done. One scene per week.

I am not good enough or experienced enough yet. How will I know if I am ready?

Well, that’s the thing about experience. There is only one way to get it. You don’t learn to ride a bike by reading a book. You learn by riding the bike and by falling off a few times and getting back on trying again. You need to do the thing to become experienced at the thing. You need to do it badly first so that you can get better at it. That’s how you learn to write a book. You’ll write good scenes. You will write appalling scenes, but together, if you keep going those good and appalling scenes will become a book. Your book that you can rewrite and fix and make better.

I need to do a course first. How much do I still need to learn?

Courses are great. I love a good course, but sometimes we use courses as a procrastination tool. It’s easy to sit there watching video after video and convince yourself that you are working on your writing when you are in fact, not writing. At some stage, we have to stop watching videos and start learning on the job. Write. There is a course element to 52 Scenes though. We have monthly theory classes and weekly coaching sessions, but these are learn-as-you-write classes.

I can’t plot

You don’t have to. 🤩 Plotting always seems like the ideal way to write, but I have coached writers for more than 13 years and of the hundreds of writers I have helped very few are real plotters. Most writers just write until they get stuck and then they don’t know what to do. You can do the same for this challenge, but when you get stuck I’ll be there to guide you along the way. We have specific classes at specific intervals to help you with the plotting.

I am scared of receiving feedback

This is a big step for a writer, but it is also how we learn. Without a doubt, this is the most valuable part of the challenge. The comments and feedback we receive help and encourage us. Knowing our readers are waiting for us not only adds to the accountability, but they become our biggest fans. If you are not ready yet, there is an option to opt out of the comments.

I am scared of giving feedback

Commenting on someone’s work can be intimidating, but it is an incredible opportunity to learn and improve your own writing. It is also a sacred and awesome privilege to be invited to read a writer’s developing work and kindness is the secret of our success. A bonus lesson “How to critique a story” is included when you sign up.

I procrastinate

Hehe. Yes, we do. That is why we use the PDF method. We use Prompts, Deadlines and Feedback to write our stories. The combination helps us to get out of our way and write the story. As the year progresses, you’ll learn more about procrastination and what specifically triggers you. It’s not a quick-fix process, but something we learn how to work with.

I prefer one-on-one coaching

Some people do. You are welcome to visit to learn more about one-on-one options, but the value of community and the group coaching experience cannot be overstated. I like to say, ‘misery loves company, but courage is contagious’. The community and shared coaching sessions are invaluable. They ask questions you haven’t thought to ask and the “I thought it was just me” feeling makes it all a little easier. It will change the way you write.

I have never written a book before

A lot of our writers haven’t either. It’s the perfect training ground for first-time novelists. The combination of deadlines, the classes and the community create a supportive environment for beginners. The more experienced writers are inspirational and super supportive. 

Can I bring an existing story?

Yes, many writers bring their messy manuscripts and whip them into shape during the year. Dust off that story that you haven’t taken out of the drawer for a while or bring your new NaNo story. 

Must I use the prompts?

Nope, but they are there to help you when you get stuck. The prompts help you and create the magic when you need it most.

52 Scenes Waitlist Jan 2025

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Does 52 Scenes in 52 Weeks work?

52 Scenes Waitlist Jan 2025

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