To be clear, writing quickly is not the only point. I wrap up the two week mark in my quest to write my first draft in 4 weeks, and I'm ahead of schedule. I should have it done by the end of the weekend. But fast is not the point.
Efficiency is the point.
Once you know the basics of story structure and plotting, the key to effective and producing more than one novel every two years is efficiency. You want to write consistently well, and frequently. If you write quickly and, even after revising your work sucks, that's bad. If you write slowly but your prose sings, well, that's good if your aim is to produce a novel once in a while, but no good if you're trying to make a living writing and selling books.
This is the no crap advice I offer you, and yes, it's free :)
If you want to become a good writer and sell books writing, then you need to work on your efficiency (4 or 5 novels per year?) and your effectiveness (solid prose and storytelling skills). The good news? Anyone can learn to do this. The bad news? There are no short cuts. It takes time and effort. Aim for 10,000 hours of writing and revising, then see what happens.
Yesterday's writing sessions went reasonably well (I write in 14 minute sprints), but I've had to take some additional time to tweak my plotting roadmap moving forward. I'm over half way through, and I know how the story will end and the main plot points, but the details in between were a bit fuzzy for me.
So a lot of time yesterday was spent just thinking about Sissy Jupiter's story, along with a bunch of writing sprints. The next week will prove interesting as I have some other business and projects to attend to and my writing time may be a bit squeezed. But we shall see!
But how about you? Writing in sprints and focusing on getting the first draft done warts and all isn't for everyone. But if you've tried it and have some thoughts on it, I'd love to hear from you!
It's Monday and a brand new work week, although my writing week actually runs from Friday to Thursday. It's a math, time travel thing!
So I wrote about 2500 words on Saturday and, as is my custom, took Sunday off to do other things. I'm just over half way through the first draft of Book 1 in my new Sissy Jupiter space opera series, and I'm enjoying the process so far.
Some ask me about the quality of the writing and my answer is honest. Because I'm writing to get the story out, I don't stop to check spelling or whether I've used the same word over and over, like I used to do. That just slows me down. But it does mean that the first revision - the heavy revision where I check for inconsistencies and grammar and pronoun use and all those other wonderful things - will take longer.
That's okay because my logic, such as it is, suggests that I'd rather spend the time fixing things once I feel I have found the story. I'd hate to go through the effort of revising as I write, because if I have to cut out whole sections or rewrite them entirely, then that's wasted effort. So I want to get the story out first, warts and all. Then, make sure it's the story I want to tell. And then, when I pretty much have the story down, I'll do the heavy revision.
I'm a few days ahead of schedule in my writing goal of 4 weeks, which is great because I have other work that needs to get done! But then I hope to spend another 4 weeks with my revisions and edits and adding in some colour and nuance to the story. Then, once I have the beta version done, I'll send it to select readers for feedback.
If all goes according to plan - and that's a big "IF" - I should be able to write, polish and publish a book in the Sissy Jupiter series in 3-4 months. That's the goal: 3 - 4 books in the series in a year.
This week in the writing workshops, we discussed the importance of the back cover blurb, what it's supposed to do, and how we can write them effectively. Let's have a look.
Make no mistake, the blurb is the second most important marketing tool you have (your cover is the first). When someone picks up your book, or these days, clicks on your cover link, they are introduced to the back cover blurb. This is part of the negotiation between you the storyteller, and the reader. The blurb will introduce the major thrust of the story while enticing the reader to purchase to find out more. If the reader puts your book back on the shelf, it usually means they're not the right audience for your book (which is fine, by the way), or, your blurb sucks and failed to entice the reader enough to make the purchase.
So what is blurb?
I can tell you what it's not: the blurb is not a synopsis or summary of your story. Too often, this is what I see. No, the blurb is a well-written 100-200 word outline of who the main character is, what they're after, who's stopping them, and what are the consequences if they fail. This is often followed by a Call To Action, like "pick up your copy of XXX today".
That's the template. Check out any book that sells a lot, and you will see a blurb that accomplishes those four items above.
You can see the blurb I put together for The Quantum Awakening right here. Don't just read it: study it. Notice how I'm enticing the reader to step into my world without giving the plot away.
Take it, change my words with your own. Write an awesome blurb.
Meanwhile, the challenge to write the first draft of my Sissy Jupiter series in 4 weeks is progressing well. Another day yesterday with over 6,000 words, and that despite my regular coaching and writing business activities. Don't think I'll be able to keep up that pace, but let's see!
One of the more interesting aspects of novel writing is discovering what works for you. My first novel, The Crying of Ross 128, took about 2.5 months to write the first draft. The next two books in the trilogy took much longer, probably because i was trying too hard and shackling the muse in the process. The Quantum Awakening, coming out in April, took less time for the first draft as I learned to write more efficiently in sprints.
Each of us is different. Some write slowly; others quickly. Some writer better prose in the first draft; others focus on getting the story out and fixing it up later.
The key to efficient writing is finding what works best for you. By efficient I mean getting words down while maintaining the bones of a good story so that you can minimize the heavy revisions later.
Efficient, and effective. That's the goal. For me, I'm now able to write 5,000 good words per day. Yes, there is still revising and editing to perform, but the quality of the initial writing is improving. That didn't happen quickly. That's come about after writing over half a million words in novels. No short cuts.
Perhaps, then, rather than comparing our writing with someone else's, we focus on what we can do where we are, knowing that with more experience and persistence, we'll develop into efficient writers too.
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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