Have you ever wondered about points of view and how they affect narrative order? What about the finer points of space opera and other genres? Listen and watch was Josh Hayes and I completely demystify these and other topics...or at least talk about writing and stuff.
Video blogging is new and mysterious to me. I can't speak for Josh or the audience we had during the live broadcast, but I had a lot of fun. Probably, there will more and better video blogs headed this way.
Thanks for stopping by!
Like many writers, I read Stephen King’s nonfiction book On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. When I first learned that he wrote 3,000 words a day, everyday it seemed like a lot. Now, many years after reading his advice, it the ideal seems either daunting or totally doable, depending on the day. I work full time, and according to contract, that means forty two and a half hours before I am eligible to put in for overtime. I also work two side jobs.
There are days when three thousands newly created words is more of a challenge.
And what about editing? How do writers who are attempting to get consistent word counts everyday deal with writing. I don’t know about anyone else, but when I am editing a large project, it isn’t uncommon to go into negative word production (which is another King axiom; cut ten percent during the edit).
We will get to some methods of addressing that particular issue in a moment. For now, there are a few other word count productivity questions I want to throw out, because admit it, this is exciting stuff. #writinggeek
Should I count blogging?
It might sound crazy to even worry about these details, but generating three thousand words a day is the same as writing 1,095,000 words a year.
The Words I Track
1) New words: these can include story summaries that will be expanded into regular narrative, outlines material, and story beats (for fans of the Self Publishing Podcast crew). Story building can be counted, but it isn’t wrong to forbid yourself from logging this category. I know a very good writer that will probably never finish a novel, but will have an entire universe created to the smallest detail — so writer beware.
2) Blogging: I say count it, but set limits. Even though I awoke this mrning with ideas for several different blog articles (a rare occurrence) I am limiting myself to five hundred words. (Because I have a novel to finish, Hello Moon!)
3) Email words: no, this is like an Olympic sprinter bragging about how she walked to the mail box every day — not something that will bring home a gold medal.
4) Social Media: if the raw number of words spent on social media make a great novelist, then I am in trouble. This should probably be subtracted from the daily goal. (Look at me mom, I wrote eight thousand words on Facebook! Ah, no. There are so many reasons not to do this.)
Summary: Today, I start adding the words I blog to my daily log. The reason is simple; I don’t blog consistently and it is something that can help aspiring novelists.
Bonus: The best way to meet word count goals is to join, or start, an accountability group. Josh Hayes, Scott McGlasson, and Roy Upton have allowed me to be part of their word count team. So far, 2016 is looking to be a good year.
Results: I have not made 3k a day, but I have done better than 1k so far.
Here are some good books on writing productivity:
2k to 10k (by Rachel Aaron)
5,000 Words Per Hour (by Chris Fox)
Writing in Overdrive: Write Faster, Write Freely, Write Brilliantly (by Jim Denney)
During the last several months I have been extremely inspired and entertained by the Self Publishing Podcast of Sean Platt, David Wright, and Johnny B. Truant. Writers who are not afraid to work hard might give it a try.
I have come to a point in my writing career at which I must admit my addiction. Oh, sure, there are worse vices, compulsions, and irrational behavioral problems than what I face. And to be honest, I really have no intention of changing.
However, it is time to get organized.
I have read a lot of books on the craft of writing. Today, I place them in a rough syllabus for further study. All of these titles contain valuable lessons and bits of inspiration. They are like family to me; often arguing and bickering to the point of ridiculousness. Sometimes, as I watch the debate, I see what many of the authors don’t seem to recognize--they agree more often than they think. In many cases it is a matter of semantics and syntax as much as true disagreement. There are complementary layers of greatness in these books on how to write fiction.
My goal has always been to learn what I need to write well from the combined tenets of all the best writing coaches I can find. So here is the list in the order I am currently studying them (with no attempt to reveal which is my favorite; it is merely where I am starting today):
Story Trumps Structure (by Steven James)
I had the chance to listen to this author speak at OWFI and later started reading The Bower Files. If you have a chance to hear him talk, do it.
Story Fix (by Larry Brooks)
I just picked this one up because I really learned a lot from Story Engineering and Story Physics--which are on my list for further study.
Story Engineering (by Larry Books)
Although I wasn’t an outliner at the time, and still struggle with pre-planning stories, the observations in this book blew me away. I remember watching World War Z afterward and exclaiming “Right there! That’s the First Plot Point! Exactly like in Story Engineering!
Story Physics (by Larry Brooks)
This one goes deeper and expands on the ideas in Story Engineering.
Blueprint Your Bestseller (by Stuart Horwitz)
This book explains, in detail, how to break your book down into scenes and then put it back together in narrative order. The concepts are novel and powerful; it takes work to grasp everything but it is worth it.
Book Architecture (by Stuart Horwitz)
I wrote a blog article on this one here.
Self-editing for Fiction Writers (by Rennie Browne and Dave King)
It has been awhile since I read this one, so I won’t butcher it by attempting a summary here. However, it is a must read. One of the take-aways deals with “small scale telling” and is something I use everyday.
Writing the Blockbuster Novel (by Albert Zuckerman)
Where can you find a step-by-step breakdown of how Ken Follet writes a bestseller? In this book, that’s where.
How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method (by Randy Ingermanson)
This is a step-by-step method that I have tried several times with mixed results. Some of the products of this method are awesome enough to convince me I need another look at it.
There are many other books on my to-read (and to-re-read) list, but this should do for now.
Please visit my Amazon Author Page here to check out some of my science fiction and urban fantasy.
(Note: I have NO affiliate links with any of these books)
Most writers have other jobs that pay the bills. Many have families. Some have serious physical disabilities that make every task, including self-motivation difficult. I was reading an article about Andy Rathbone (who writes books for the “Dummies” series and has 15 million in print) when something jumped out at me. He said that when he was a college editor for the Daily Aztec, that he learned to crank out stories whether he felt like it or not. Journalism has deadlines. Writers from this background definitely have that going for them.
Fiction writers? Well, we all think we are artists. We wait for the muse, even if we deny that is what we are doing. For example I might write a blog article instead of revising my latest work-in-progress for the umpteenth time. “Blogging is important. Gotta build that author platform, right?”
Crush writer’s block with these easy steps:
I write fiction. It is my passion. Without it, my world would really suck. So thanks for stopping by. I sincerely hope you succeed brilliantly in all things. Do you have advice we might all benefit from? Please leave a comment or share this article and make a writer’s day.
Life is an adventure. I read to expand my horizons and write because I must.
- The Craft of Writing: 7 Magnificent Books
- Use of Force Myths
- A Really Useful Tool
- Project Rotation