How I write so darned fast – Part 2

So yesterday people seemed interested in how I write quickly. I only touched on the topic (yes, 1000 words was just touching on the topic) so I decided to include a part 2. I mean, why not? Sounds like fun. It was, after all, one of my better hit posts and hopefully shed a little light on my process and mentality when I actually sit and write.

Maybe I’ll even be a little more organized today, but I doubt it. 😛

So there comes a time in every writer’s life when they want to get the ideas out of their head and onto paper. I think that’s an awesome feeling. The desire to create is what drives a person to think they can actually sit and write a book. I mean, it’s only 50,000-100,000 words, right? That’s not that many and in a couple months it’s easy to knock those words out and have a book.

Well, it does take practice. It really does. As was proven by Chuck Wendig, you can type fart 100,000 times and have a book.

But if you want to write something that people want to buy and read, that’s a different matter entirely.  But the process of getting the words down don’t have to be difficult. Like I said, it takes practice. It’s more than just sitting and typing whatever comes to your mind. These blog posts, for me, are an info dump of what’s going on inside my head. When I’m writing a book, that’s different and took me time to learn.

First thing I need to know when I’m writing something is where is it going to end. What’s the point of the main character’s story? What is motivating my character to get to the end? How is the character going to change.

Let’s look at my giant robot story that I’m currently working on. I started this one last year and I was plugging away when I realized my character had little motivation and everything was being handed to him. A ‘Mary Sue’ story. Nothing bad was happening.

Oh, sure I had ideas on how to mess with him, but overall, his life was really good.

So I deleted nearly 20,000 words and started over. Yes, CTRL+A, DEL!

I still had an idea how I wanted the book to end, it just took me 20,000 words to figure out I was starting the book incorrectly. I went down a rabbit hole and it dead ended on me. Once I understood that, everything fell into place. I had an idea for the beginning, a comfortable feeling how the middle would go, and I thought I knew the ending.

So I typed knowing the general direction of the story. Each time I’d sit and type, I knew the next scene I wanted to write and I would do that scene. If the next popped into my head, I’d write that scene. I’m a linear write. I write from beginning to end. Sometimes I will add additional chapters as needed (or delete extraneous chapters) but that’s when I’m done with the book.

Knowing what I’m going to write really helps as I’ll have already through out some of the dialogue, some of the action, but I’ll let things happen and sometimes I’ll type something that will surprise me. As I said yesterday, those are great moments.

Another big thing that I need when write is time to focus on what I’m doing. This allows my brain to wander around the universe I’ve created and I can get deeper into my characters’ heads. I can see what they see, feel what they feel, and experience, to some degree, what they experience.  In order to do this, distractions must be removed from the equation.

How do you do that? First of all, DISCONNECT FROM THE INTERNET! I cannot say that loudly enough. Get off! Shut it down! Have a dedicated computer with no internet connection! Just don’t! Not for research, not for names, not to hop onto twitter and complain that you’re having trouble writing. NADA! Why? This is writing time. Not research time. Not social hour. It’s not time to catch up on what people are doing on facebook. It’s time to sit and write.

Yes, like I said, it takes practice. It also takes discipline.

You want to be freer of distraction? Tell your family when you’re going to sit and write. Turn some music on that’s conducive to a writing atmosphere, and write. If you’ve only got 15, 20, 45 minutes a day to write, you cannot waste that time doing other things. You don’t know what science to use for a scene? Insert [RESEARCH HOW STEAM ENGINES WORK] and move on! Don’t know what to name the farmer down the road? Don’t get hung up on a name Insert [FARMER’S NAME] and move on! Write forward past those things because they’re not important at the moment.  Don’t get hung up on something you can go back later and fix.

Again, when it’s time to write, write. Don’t research, don’t look things up, just write. Don’t let that writing time slip past you.

This also is a time you should schedule. You want to write a lot of words? You need to treat it like anything else you want to get done. You want to rake the leaves, you plan on what you’ll do it. You want to go on a date with the Mrs? You need to plan when you’re going to do that. You want to write a book, you need to plan and schedule the time (I usually write from 8-10 if I can swing the time. Sometimes I’ll write right after work for 30 minutes in case I can’t get the time later in the evening. Planning this time helps as the wife and my favorite daughter know that’s my time I’ll be spending writing.

Wow, another 1000 words? I don’t think I’m done yet. Whew. Well, I guess there may end up being a part 3 to this.

Until Next Time!


Posted on February 20, 2014, in Blog Post and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. One of the things that a good friend of mine, Zack Ricks says he does when trying to get things down. He has three letter combination ZNK or something like that. It never shows up in English. He puts a note like you suggest but right before or right after the note he puts ZNK. Why? Because he wants to be able to find it later. When you are finished with draft one go back and search the book / story for ZNK, Then do the research or name the characters, whatever, but that ZNK helps you find the notes that you skipped over. I adopted this last year and it really helps me put my mind at rest that I will forget to edit out that note later or that I will forget to look out that thing I think I need to look up.

    • This method also works. For me, I never use [WORD] so I just look for [ and see what it is I need to fix. Usually I’ll be descriptive enough. For me ZNK (Zonk I’m guessing is what he meant by that :P) would make me have to think about what I needed to put in there. [GIANT ROBOT PILOT NAME] helps me a little more. Again, anything that helps a person write faster, I’m all for it.

  1. Pingback: How I write so darned fast – Part 3 | J.R. Murdock

  2. Pingback: How I write so darned fast part 4 | J.R. Murdock

  3. Pingback: How I write do darned fast – Part 5 | J.R. Murdock

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