Tuesday, December 7, 2010

5 Steps to Writing 30K Words per Week

I have developed a new approach to lightening fast writing. By my previous technique I spent nearly two months preparing a detailed scene by scene outline and characterization prior to writing. That effort proceeded at ~ 10K words per week and felt constricting. Below is a breakdown of my new approach that results in ~30K words per week and a whole lot of fun.
1) Idea conception.
2) Characterization. I generated detailed character sheets including 25-50 descriptors taken from my September 6, 2010 post, ‘Words to Write By’ on this Blog.
3) Manuscript backbone. Instead of a scene by scene outline I began with just 12 major plot points including the inciting incident, the crisis, and climax. In the next step I expanded this guide.
4) Brainstorming. My October 5, 2010 post, ‘Work Your Mind, Idea Creation’ from this Blog outlines methods of brainstorming, which are the key to this process. Briefly, brainstorming is traditionally composed of four parts, lots of ideas - the more the better, no editing until you are through brainstorming, acceptance of out of the box ideas, and combining ideas. I asked myself 'What's a lot of ideas?' and came up with the nice round number of 1,000. The ideas fell into two categories, the vast majority were Action - e.g., 'Jasmine choked on a bowl of rice' and the rest Theory - E.g. 'Write good.' Next I placed the Action ideas chronologically between the appropriate plot points. Here I edited, combined or removed some ideas finding that I had redundancies. When I repeat the process for my next ms I will make a habit of reading my idea list in progress to avoid duplications. The theory ideas I read and printed out for reference. The whole process of prep took about a month from inception. My new ‘outline’ was loose, and I generated some additional ideas where the plot point seemed scarce. On to the writing.
5) Writing 30K words per week. My November 23 post from this Blog, ‘8 Tips for Writing in the Flow’ details a writing method based on letting go the confines of your hesitant and doubting inner voice and unleashes a torrent of words. What allows this to occur is described in the post including writing with passion, and without distraction or ‘thought.’ Another key is the seed of this passion and that is where the 1,000 ideas comes into play. Pick your idea, think of your characters, your plot points, strike an attitude and explode. Run with the idea as long as you are flowing, as soon as you feel yourself ‘thinking’ excessively pick another idea or jump to an idea you came up with on the fly. Keep writing in the flow. I do this in two, three hour blocks per day at a rate of ~ 800 words per hour. I find very early in the morning and then late in the day works best for me. The result of this form of writing is extremely freeing and at first blush will need more editing than my old style of writing, but with the months saved writing at 30K it is well worth it for the creative freedom. The old way had me writing, the new way expresses me.

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