Friday, February 1, 2013

Every Other Friday -- Stephanie Queen

I've lost control of my blog. Once again, EOF is a guest blog rather than an interview. Please welcome Stephanie Queen lives in bucolic New Hampshire where writing happy, snappy romances takes most of her time. However you can also find her watching UConn football and basketball games whenever they’re on TV, and sometimes even in person. Right now, she’s busy writing her next book in the Scotland Yard Exchange Program Series. Visit her website to learn more at or connect with Stephanie Queen on --> Twitter or Facebook.

The Osmosis Method….I’ll let you know if it works…in about a month

Have you heard? The way to publishing success is to “forget about marketing and write that next book. Product sells!” It’s the same advice I’ve heard about six-thousand-two-hundred-and-eighty-three times. Usually tacked onto the end of a blog about marketing tips.
So, naturally I feel the pressure to Write Fast! Or at least be more productive. I’m all about efficiency. I’m a do-more-with-less believer from way back. Frank Gilbreth, Jr., the efficiency expert of Cheaper By the Dozen fame is a hero of mine (only slight exaggeration). The notion of writing a book fast—actually finishing a novel inside a month—is more seductive to me than a Jimmy Thomas novel cover.
But here’s the thing, so far all I’ve done is read about it.  The amount of research I’ve done probably qualifies me for a Ph.D. on speed writing. Here’s a few key things I’ve learned and plan to employ in my soon-to-start first fast draft attempt:
Plot Preparation is key.
As in any race against time, you can’t go in without a warm-up, toned and prepared for days, weeks, months (you get the picture). This is actually one of the common themes of numerous sources on writing fast. Candace Havens, who conducts Fast Draft workshops on-line, advocates for a period of plotting before the storm of writing. Rachel Aaron, author of 2,000 to 10,000 says in her book “the most important step of writing fast is knowing what you’re writing before you write it.”
This makes sense if you think about it. If before writing any novel you would normally have a period of pre-writing, to write a novel FAST, the pre-writing stage is more important.
Scheduling Time
I bought a timer. Not only will I schedule time, I will time my writing time. After studying my writing habits and much analysis of this self-reflection, I’ve come to the conclusion that I write faster and more effectively in short sprints. Aaron recommends such an analysis of your past writing habits to optimize your writing schedule. According to Candace Havens, you should plan on 2-3 hours a day of non-stop writing in whatever intervals or time of day that works best for you. If you don’t already track your word count, when and where you write, you might want to try it to see when you have the most output and under what circumstances. 
This is my way of saying “getting psyched.” For someone new to the rigor of writing with superhuman speed, it takes a change in mind-set. Or so that’s my theory. Thus all the immersion into the fast writing research, drinking the Kool-Aid of the experts and talking about it incessantly to writer friends, helps me wrap my mind around the concept to make it a real thing. I need to think of writing a novel in one month as a realistic goal, not some pie-in-the-sky dream. Reading all about other people who’ve done it—and exactly how they’ve done it—is important for me to take the task seriously and to make it a reality.
If you want it badly enough and you invest yourself in it, and there’s no law of physics between you and your goal, then you will achieve it.  That’s a quote from Stephanie Queen on writing fast.

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