Last month, I set myself a goal of writing the first draft of The Hands Of Moaning Bones - my new Sissy Jupiter science fiction series in 4 weeks. I approached this challenge by making sure I'd done my plotting well in advance, so I knew the story and didn't have to pants it along the way. That made a huge difference.
The result was, I actually completed the first draft in 19 days.. just over 70,000 words under 3 weeks. So I'm thrilled with that because for me, the hardest part of writing is getting the first draft out. I love thinking about the story, characters and plotting, and I really enjoy revising--adding colour to the story and all those little nuances that keep it interesting. So being able to put the first draft down quickly is a lot of fun for me.
With the first draft done, my next step is to perform what I call a heavy revision. I go through the story and fix all those things I need to fix (I keep a to-do list with me as I write the first draft). Things like names, inconsistencies in characters, settings, speech patterns, and so on. This can take some time, so that will be my focus for the next few weeks once I complete another project I'm working on with one of my writing clients.
And then? I'll begin plotting book 2 in the series. The question is: which series? Sissy would be fun, of course, but I've also received some good feedback from the beta readers for The Quantum Awakening, and may need to bump up the schedule for the next one there. To be determined!
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.
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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