Sunday, January 23, 2011

Cranking out the words

I have a goal, a lofty one at that. I intend to finish this draft of my WIP in 1 month. That's right. I have 1 month to write pretty much the last 1/2 to 2/3rds of this MS. Why am I doing this to myself, you ask? Simple. I think about the storyline non-stop. I come up with scenes and plot lines in the car. I have even taken to keeping a notepad and pen with me at all times so I am able to jot down lines that come to me. I LOVE this story so much that I have to finish it, and quickly.

Plus...shhhhh...two agents I've queried have requested to see it. YIKES!

I will need to revise, of course. And revise again. And again. I have learned through my last novel just how important revision is. I used to detest revisions, but now, I find it a vital part of the process. In fact, I've decided that writing is revising.

But I digress.

I have learned that a few things help me to crank out words at a fair speed. I can typically write around 1,000 words an hour if I try (sometimes more). Now, some of you are speed racers. You are probably reading this and thinking "1,000 words an hour! I can do 5K in an hour!" I have one thing to say to you. Leave my blog now. I wish to never see you again. :) J/K...sort of.

Now what was I saying? Oh yeah, cranking out the words. This is the process I have nailed down with my WIP, TWISTED ROOT. So far it has become very helpful. Here goes:

  1. Outline the opening scene at least briefly (either in your head or on paper) before you begin writing. I chose to outline the major elements of this novel, but left everything else open. I am a pantster for sure, but I need to stay on track.

  2. Once you begin your novel, ALWAYS write the first 1-2 paragraphs of the next scene and jot down a few bullet points of what you hope to accomplish in that scene before closing for the day.

  3. Reread the previous scene before beginning the new scene. This is perhaps the most important step for voice. I have to know the mood of all characters in the previous scene before I can dig into the next scene.

  4. End chapters where they naturally end -- don't force it! You can add later.

  5. (This one may just be my psycho-self) Keep moving forward. I may edit *a little* while I go if something pops into my head, but I refuse to allow myself to analyze previous scenes. Why? That scene may not make the cut during revisions so why am I killing myself during the 1st draft to make it perfect. I feel the writing process should work like this: 1st draft--bones, 2nd draft--muscles, 3rd and subsequent drafts -- blood and the yucky/good stuff, final draft/line editing -- concealer to cover up the dark circles you created from all those other drafts. :)

Now how do I personally work through hang-ups or writer's block. First, music. If I am writing an intense scene I must have music playing that is theme appropriate for my MS. Second, photos. I would say dialogue comes easiest to me, world building is the hardest. This sounds so silly, even for me to type it now, but it's true. I detest overly descriptive books. I am a true skimmer. I have put down many-a well written books because the prose was overly descriptive, which let's face it, produces a boring story. I try to avoid over-kill descriptions so much that I often have to add in description during later drafts. For this reason, I need photos to help me create my world.

How about you? What's your daily/weekly word count? How do you work through writer's block?

I am going to *try* to begin a writing schedule of 5 am - 7 am M,W,F,S, Sun. I can't abide by the schedule on T,Th due to the day job. I'll let you know how that works for me. :)



  1. Whoa, awesome plan, awesome advice--I can certainly learn from your process as I start my second WIP. I so hope it goes faster than the first! Thanks for sharing and good luck on your goals, your schedule, and your word count. I haven't set a word count yet--I'm still getting to know my characters through a character journal...

  2. Glad to help, Kenda, and good luck to you on your WIP. Starting a new one can be so daunting!

  3. p.s. just posted something for you over at my place :-)