Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Speed Writing

I received an e-mail yesterday asking:
"Do you have any tips on writing fast?"

I've been thinking about this ever since. I wrote an entire novel in 20 days (wrote, not edited). My most recent novel is at 51,000 words in under 30 days. (I'm 6 days away from being at the 30 day mark). Some of my friends think I'm crazy or call me a writing maniac. Then this question was posed from another writer. Thus, I answer it to the best of my ability:

*Know your characters
For Igniting a Firestarter, I had already developed the characters in my head. I knew that Allison was a Firestarter, and the narrator was a Mirror. I knew what these things meant, what they were capable of. I knew they were friends. 
For Character Defects I knew the narrator was a lot like me, had a similar background...was basically a train wreck. I fictionalized a lot of my stories and changed the endings to produce this girl, and her interactions. 

*Know your direction
Do you have your plot line laid out? Usually by the time I'm midway through I have the ending already written. From there it's like a puzzle piece working backward and forward to fit the pieces together so they adequately flow together. Most people say that the ending is the hardest to write...but something will happen where I'm all "I KNOW THIS!!" and so I write a really rough draft. When I get to that spot, I start from the end and edit backward.

*Don't be afraid to write crappily 
Sometimes it's easy for me to write an entire section and realize....this sucks. But then there will be something that ties into the plot line and I'll keep the idea but delete the section. It helps give me a direction and an idea for what I'm doing. 

*Take breaks
I think one of the things that helps me the most is that I'm not afraid to play on twitter or Facebook. It gets tiring just writing, just getting lost in the story. Step back from it, go out to dinner, come back refreshed. Plus, when you're out living your life, you're kind of doing more research. I have things to write about because I've allowed myself to experience a lot of different things. 

*Think, constantly
Those "Walk a day in someone else's shoes". You know your character better than anyone else ever will. You know what he or she is thinking, what they want, what they like...Sometimes I get too involved with what I'm writing and think like my character...all day. Once, I wrote a story about a girl who just lied constantly...and I found myself doing the same. (I'm not kidding. Every time someone asked me a question, I'd lie and think to myself Wow, that wasn't true at all, where is this coming from? And I realized I had momentarily become the living version of my character. Oops.) Still, it gave me a lot to come back with because I understand her thought processes a little more. 

*Play with fonts
Sometimes when I get blocked, I play with the fonts (sizes, italisize) and see how it makes me feel, how it would make my character feel to talk like that. And then go back to writing.

When I start off writing for the day I re-read the last few pages to get a feel for where I left off. When I'm really blocked, I'll re-read 10-20 pages and see if I can fill things in anywhere along the way. It also helps with the consistency of the story. Once I start filling things in I'm able to start expanding on the ideas and getting back to the plot.

This is a device I use to further get inside my character's heads. When I'm really blocked and can't think of anything else they want to say, I consider what types of music the listen to and make a playlist. Or, I'll go through and re-read some of the novel and find songs that match the tone of that segment. It's a way for me to step away from the project while still being involved. 

In the end, you can think, you can take breaks, you can do whatever you want, but it doesn't mean anything if you aren't writing something. Even if it helps you to just be all, "This is what I'm thinking right now" some of my best projects have come from my random thoughts. 

Good luck! Hope this helps!


  1. Thanks for the topic to blog about :)

  2. Hi there,
    Sometimes (a lot of times) I get writer's block, so I really enjoyed this post :) It's nice to have it written out like this, w/the specific points and everything.
    New follower here,
    Ninja Girl

  3. @Ninja Girl
    Thanks for the follow! I'm glad you enjoyed the post!


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