Dec 03, 2011, 9:58 pm
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Most of you will probably already have seen Rachel Aaron’s post “How I Went From Writing 2,000 Words a Day to 10,000 Words a Day”; if you haven’t, I recommend checking it out, because what she says is spot-on.

I’m a big believer in “as long as the job gets done”; fast writer, slow writer, pantser, outliner, scheduler, slacker. There is no right way to write.

That said, if you want to try writing faster to see if that works for you, I’d definitely give her method a try.

I do have a tiny addition of my own. See, for the most part, I subconsciously used Rachel’s exact approach during my first NaNoWriMo, leading to my famous (ahem) five-day win/ten-day novel/the book that got me my agent. I had lots of time available, I got super excited, and I planned like the wind.

The one thing I did differently was that I didn’t plan everything at the start of the day, necessarily. I never wrote for several hours straight. I’d write for one hour, using NaNo chatroom word wars (but Twitter or Gchat would work just as well), then spend the next hour doing chores around the house, tinkering with the scene I’d just written, and think about my next scene in-depth.

During the one-hour word wars, I’d write about 2000-3000 words. During the hours in-between, I’d write maybe 200 words, but mostly I was hashing out the details and fueling the enthusiasm for my next scene. And for me, it worked. In future revision rounds, I added major subplots, cut scenes, took out over thirty thousand words, changed the book to YA, but the overall structure of the book remained pretty much identical to that first draft.

I love writing fast. I’ve never been able to match my FAE PRINT speeds, sticking to 2000-6000 words a day, but there’s nothing like being so caught up in your story that you don’t even have the time to start doubting yourself. Writing begets writing. You get caught up in this whirl-wind of creation and by the time insecurities should be creeping in you’ve long passed The End and it’s time to take a step back and plot out edits. All of a sudden, in the time it might normally take to finish a video game (at a normal-ish pace) or work your way through a TV series, you’ve added another novel to your name and you get to show your CPs something shiny.

Yeah, I’m totally in the mood to write another novel now. Hah! Rachel’s post reminded me that I really need to try another two-week novel sometime.

There’s one particular trick in that post I look forward to using: spicing up even the less interesting scenes to make them exciting. Of course you try to avoid boring scenes at all costs, but I’ve rarely actually sat down to brainstorm ways to rack up the tension on a scene-by-scene basis.

And man, do I look forward to giving that a try now.

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3 Responses to “Writing Fast”

  1. Reply Rochelle Melander  () says:

    Great post! I just wrote a book on how to write books fast: Write-A-Thon: Write Your Book in 26 Days (And Live to Tell About It). I think your tip about breaking up the writing times with chores is a great one. From what I have read in brain science, time spent doing repetitive tasks helps our brain get an "aha" moment!

  2. Reply Jess  () says:

    I've never written a novel fast before, but I know I CAN write fast. whenever I'm NOT amped up for a scene, I wonder why. I've learned a lot about my novel from asking myself WHY I'm not excited to write: the scene's boring, it just ISN'T working, the pace is off, and more recently that the voice isn't unique enough. but these things always hold me up for a few days trying to figure out, so I find it impossible to keep up a fast pace :(

  3. Reply Katey  () says:

    She's pretty much describing exactly how I write. The enthusiasm, the little mini-scripts (though I do tend to script out dialogue almost completely and just fill in the other stuff with shorthand — that's just because otherwise my dialogue goes off the tracks and sounds stilted as hell), etc. It works!

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