Yesterday the topic of writing speed came up. This is something I focused on last year–well, not writing speed so much as streamlining my process to increase output and finish what I start. After twelve years of doing NaNoWriMo, I could knock out a first draft in a few weeks, but then I was at a loss when it came to revising it. I had a feeling that learning more about pre- and post-production techniques would help me, but I wanted methods that would specifically help me write even faster, and with less stress and drama.
These are three of the books I read on the topic:
2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love by Rachel Aaron $0.99
Takeaway: Her revision process has saved me. No joke. I would not be preparing to query right now if I hadn’t read her book in November. (And it’s only 99 cents!)
Write Better, Faster: How To Triple Your Writing Speed and Write More Every Day by Monica Leonelle $2.99
Takeaway: This prompted me to buy DragonDictate, but more importantly, her description of writing “beats” for each scene has made writing the first draft go more quickly and smoothly. I also started using a detailed spreadsheet and writing journal based on her suggestions.
Writing Faster FTW by L.A. Witt, Lauren Gallagher $2.99
Takeaway: A good review of points made in the other two with lots of easily applied tips.
I follow Leonelle and Aaron on Twitter, and they both tweet about writing and reply to questions.
I also read a number of books about outlining last year, and smushed the methods together into something that works for me. The idea being that having a plan would help me write faster, waste less time, and allow me to see story problems before I ran into them during the writing. These two were the most helpful to me:
Take Off Your Pants!: Outline Your Books for Faster, Better Writing: Revised Edition by Libbie Hawker $3.82
Takeaway: This gave me completely different perspective on my approach to planning a novel. The idea of the “flaw” alone (and how it relates to other plot points) made reading the book worthwhile.
Rock Your Plot: A Simple System for Plotting Your Novel by Cathy Yardley $2.99
Takeaway: A clear, concise approach to outlining. Very quick read.
Everyone has their own approach and there is no one way to write, plan, or edit. I was actively looking to change my process, because whatever I was doing before was NOT WORKING. So I read a bunch of quick, cheap ebooks to help me develop a method that works for me. I’m still refining it as I learn, but so far, the changes are working and I’m seeing results. Hopefully these will be of use to others, too.