I’ve written two or three books a year for the last ten years, without a lot of stress, hassle, or burnout.
Focus on putting new words on the page, and don’t worry about whether they’re perfect. Go back to it later and edit with fresh eyes.
Many writers get stuck in the weeds when they write. A sentence might sound off, so you pause and rewrite it. Changing that sentence messes with the flow of the paragraph – your thoughts, Write as much as you can with your ‘first draft’. There is plenty of time for editing. Implementing a few simple habits can help you learn how to write faster and hurtle past bouts of writer’s block.
“The faster I write, the better my output. If I’m going slow, I’m in trouble. It means I’m pushing the words instead of being pulled by them.” – Raymond Chandler
There’s no substitute for time spent writing, including research, plot, and prewriting. There are ways to shorten that process.
1. Your Message
You have the premise of a hook, maybe a couple of characters. Figure out your message. Know what your book is about; what instances or issues you are trying to explore? What are you trying to say? The truth you want to explore or highlight. Knowing those things makes plotting so much easier.
- every situation is complicated
- there can be hope in suffering
- doing the right thing is costly
Write a four to five page synopsis. It doesn’t have to break down the story, scene by scene, but it must cover at least six major turning points in the story .
Begin by knowing your characters—where they come from, what events or experiences shape them, and most of all, what they want. Emotional conflict is absolutely crucial: know what your character wants and what keeps them from obtaining it.
Backgrounds and personalities are a large part of this. Knowing your characters can help with the overall flow—emotional journeys, plotting, and message.
4. Breaking It Down
You’re ready to write.
Estimate 30 chapters of 2,000 – 3,000 words each— which is an average novel and pretty standard in the industry. With that word count, you can explore a scene in depth but keep the reader turning the pages.
A chapter-by-chapter outline covers what happens physically and emotionally for your characters. The how and why of that emotional journey is the fun part of writing.
Major turning points occur usually every 15,000 words. Giving five chapters to build and recover from each plot point.
5. Write It
This is the fun part.
After writing a chapter, go back and rewrite it – more tweaking than complete rewriting. Then on to the next chapter. On the fifth day of the week, reread all four chapters, tweak/revise as necessary. By Saturday you will have four chapters, 12,000 words, that are pretty polished and ready to go.
Do this all the way to the end of the book. By the time you’ve finished, you will have reread and revised week by week.
This method might not be for everybody. The glory of writing is labouring over your manuscript with blood, sweat, and tears.
It is important to remember that there is always room to maneuver, play, explore, and discover. My characters surprise me all the time. There were times when the plot point I was saving for the 60,000-word mark was more powerful at the 15,000-word point. This method offers plenty of creative freedom, and a framework that allows me to explore.
Unleash the novel inside you
with compelling characters,
and fine-tuned prose.
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“Linda has published sixteen books. She blogs about the publishing world, posts useful tips on the challenges a writer faces, including marketing and promoting your work, how to build your online platform, how to get reviews and how to self-publish. She has mentored many authors and edited their work.”
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