I challenged myself to write the first draft of my new novel series in four weeks. But I didn't start the challenge until I'd already started writing. Fortunately, I hadn't gone very far, and with some extra time to write these days, I thought I'd best get to it.
Yesterday, Day 5, was a productive day. I wrote just under 7,000 words and I'm half way through the Beginning sections.
The novel plan is divided into 60 sections: 15 in the Beginning, 30 in the Middle, and 15 in the End. You'll sometimes see me refer to sections by number, e.g., B9 is the 9th section in the Beginning group.
How I write
I plot the story out before I ever start writing, so I know where my major plot points are, and I build in what happens in each of those sections. Yes, the plot morphs as I write and the characters take on lives of their own, but this plan frees me up to "just write".
I write in 15 minute sprints. Before setting the timer, I review the section and play out in my mind where my characters need to go and do, then I go. When I'm writing under the clock, I don't stop to revise or edit along the way, so the first draft looks sketchy with missing punctuation, spelling mistakes, and so on. I don't care. My goal is to get the first draft done. It'll get revised several times before it's finished anyway, so I just write.
When the 15 minutes is up. I end the sentence I'm working on and then go do something else for a few minutes before returning to the story.
This way, I average 580 words in each 15 minute sprint. Two sprints gives me between 1100 and 1200 words. That results in a novel of about 65,000 - 75,000 words after revisions - a good length for my readers.
Now, I didn't begin writing like this. For the Ross 128 Trilogy, I'd write about 1250 words in 1:15 hours. Yes, I revised along the way and fixed up the punctuation and such, so it was a much slower process. But I wrote The Quantum Awakening (coming out in April) with sprints, and the first draft flew by. So I'm trying this with my new Sissy Jupiter series. It may not work. And that's okay.
Today's goal: Write another 3 sections, about 3500 words.
Hi, I'm David. I write science fiction from a Christian worldview that promotes hope. Want to know the darker details? Click here.
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