Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Writing a Book in Less than a Month - No Magic Required

Recently I've been getting some feedback that makes me feel like I write a lot. Guys, I have a confession - I had no idea.

I thought that everyone wrote the way I did. This may seem incredibly naive, and in fact, it is. I knew intellectually that some people are incredibly meticulous with their storylines and choose to write outlines and decide specific events well before they get to the chapter where they would occur. To those kinds of writers, I am probably very scary.

I've talked about it before,  but I think it needs repeating - stories reveal themselves to me. Like (work with me here) Michaelangelo with his marble, the page (or the ODT file in my case) is carved away to reveal the words, the events, and the characters of my story. I am not the creator of the story, the story was always there. It just chose me to tell it, and I was there, waiting, with a keyboard in front of me.

It is true that I have ideas about things. I have problems that I want to solve as far as a plot arc, a type of main character, or a general movement of the story etc and these guide my writing. I find when I free my mind this way, I write the fastest and the best I can.

First I get the story down, this is the fastest part. It can take as little as a week if I'm really on form. How do I write so fast? The ideas take shape every waking moment. When I dream, I dream of my story. When I wake, I mull over the next event. What is going to happen next? That is the question that is always on my mind, and as a writer, it should always be on yours.

Then comes rewriting - my favorite. Here I can flesh out ideas, remake character reactions to fit events better etc. Finally, I have a few people read the thing. This usually takes the longest, because let's face it. These people don't just read for a living - they have lives. Assuming they love your book and can't put it down, maybe they finish it in a weekend, corrections and all. So there you are, and all you need is to either go query and agent, or publish the masterpiece yourself.

Maybe this sounds a little overly simplified, but I'm not kidding. That is my exact process. It works every time, assuming you don't have a major swath of writer's block.

I'm getting ready to work on a Sci-Fi project, which I'm really excited about which is going to require me to work a little differently. It will be an adventure, but I know it will be fun. That, along with the third book in the Khloe Alwell trilogy will be the major writing projects I plan on finishing this year. Throw in a collection of short stories, and we have ourselves a big writing year. The short stories are definitely going to get submitted to a few publications.

And you ask yourself, how can she do all that? Well, I'll tell you, I love to write and I write fast. With a little discipline and an open mind, you can do it too.

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