Write Fast: How to Finish Your Novel

Last weekend, I attended a one day writer’s conference where the keynoter was someone I knew before she ever published a word. That was 20 years ago. Today, Melody Carlson has published well over 200 books and is considered the queen of YA Christian fiction.  It was great to see a friend and catch up, and even greater to hear her best writing advice: write fast.
Writing Tip for Today: What does it mean to WRITE FAST? Here are some suggestions:

  • Only Reread a Few Pages. Have you ever sat down to write and then were caught up in your last drafted chapter? Before you know it, you’re busily editing that baby, perhaps even until the bell rings and you must end your writing session. Melody advises only re-reading the last page or two from your last session. I might expand just a tad and say read the last scene you wrote. This can and should launch you back into your fictional world and get your next scene going. But NO EDITING on the same session as creating.
  • End Sessions in Mid-Scene. A trick I use is to stop my writing for the day in the middle or before the scene ends. This way, I know exactly what to do before I go on, and it works better than to start with that blinking cursor, wondering what happens next in the story.
  • What if Your Finished Draft Stinks? Well, you’ll be revising. But you’ll be revising a finished story, not letting another novel sit half-dressed in the drawer. The feeling of accomplishment is a huge boost. Most writers never finish that novel. By typing THE END, you’ll have a much better idea of how the story should go–even if it’s kind of a mess right now. Revising is part of writing, not merely a way to fix “bad writing” or correct mistakes. Remember: Words are like Doritos: we can always make more. Now go write fast!

Want to know more about Melody Carlson? You can find her at her website here.

About Linda S. Clare

I'm an author, speaker, writing coach and mentor. I teach both fiction and nonfiction writing at Lane Community College and in the doctoral program as expert writing advisor for George Fox University. I love helping writers improve their craft and I'm both an avid reader and writer of stories about those with wounded hearts.

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