One of my long-time friends has published more than 300 books in a twenty year span. She’s amazing, no doubt. But since the pre-published and the some-published (like me!) must complete a manuscript before agents or editors will seriously consider contracting it, the question becomes, “How fast can you write it?”
Writing Tip for Today: Some writers are gifted with an innate sense of story–no denying this. My friend certainly has no time to meticulously revise and polish her work. Maybe since she’s a bestselling writer, the editors do it for her. What can the rest of us mere mortals do to hasten completion of a novel before the end of the world?
- Make sure you’re passionate about the novel. You’ll have a much tougher time slogging through a story you’re only writing to fit the market. And by the time it’s ready to go, the market will almost certainly have changed.
- Set a weekly goal. If you have set your sights on a summer conference or if an editor is interested but wants the entire novel, set a schedule for yourself. I divide the number of words or chapters into the time frame and make it a priority to write at least a chapter or two per week.
- Time to Outline? If you are under some sort of time crunch, make a scene outline for your story makes sense. I’m more of a “pantster,” that is I write by the seat of my pants without an outline, but if I’m trying to finish in a certain length of time, I don’t have the luxury of daydreaming and doing a lot of exploratory writing.
- Don’t Neglect Reading. You may feel as if you don’t have time to read, but reading in your genre is more important than ever. You can be looking for the rhythm and flow, the tone of a published novel or the ratio between scene and narrative.
- Workshop One-on-One. For those in a critique group, workshopping in the traditional sense is going to take a long time. Instead, try partnering with another writer and swap material to look for problem areas as well as areas that are terrific. Cheer each other on but don’t be a mutual admiration society. Good luck on finishing that first novel!
Third call: Katherine Hyde, recipient of Meg Moseley’s When Sparrows Fall. I need your postal address! Message me at Lindas352 at comcast dot net.