Monday, November 15, 2010

How to write a book very, very fast...

For the last two weeks, while I've been distracting you all with photos of my Paris research trip, I've been writing the Gelati book (which, um, is supposed to be an Italian book, but it just so happens to have a night in Paris). It's the first book that hasn't been a huge struggle to write for... well, way too long. So hopefully that's a good sign. (Thinks: shut up NOW, Kate, before you jinx yourself with mammoth revisions.) I had intended to finish the book by today and then write a really smug post about 'how to write a novel in two weeks'.

Except.

I caught daughter's lurgy last week.

Not sure which is more distracting, the cotton-wool-like head or the coughing. So I haven't finished the book. And I've not done much for the last couple of days except cough all night and nap all day. (Not productive. Well, the cough is, but that's TMI *g*) But I guess it has given me thinking time to work out how to get my hero and heroine past the Black Moment. The one I did have (internal conflict) wasn't strong enough and didn't convince me. My hero is SO stubborn that it's going to take something fairly drastic to make him wake up to himself. At the moment, it feels too much like a plot device. But if I don't do it, that leaves a loose end not tied up properly. Solution: time for more paracetamol and hot lemon, and then another nap, methinks...

Oh, sorry, you wanted the secret of how to write a book very, very fast? This is how it works for me (but remember that I am a plotter).
  • once you've got the idea mapped out, go and do something else for a week and DO NOT WRITE - let the book brew in your head and get to know your characters and their motivations. Thinking time is really important.
  • when you're ready to start, work out how much you need to do per day to hit your (self-imposed) deadline. (Originally I was going to NaNo it - 1667 words a day. That's doable for me.)
  • most important bit: do NOT touch the internet or email until you've written your daily quota (you may well find you write more - I was shocked at how much I could write. Back to the good old days - i.e. before I had broadband and could let myself get badly distracted).
  • have one cup of proper coffee per day, 20 minutes before you start work (in my case, this is the minute I get home from the school run - next 20 minutes is spent tidying (ish) the house, putting the laundry in the washing machine, making a fuss of the dog)

That's how it works for me, anyway :o) On days, I should add, when I'm not coughing and haven't slept properly and just want to curl up on the sofa with my doggie and a fleecy blanket and either have a nap or read. (Jenny Crusie's "Fast Women" for me, over the weekend - which was great fun, and I particularly liked Marlene the dachshund. Still think Springers rule, though. Woof.)

12 comments:

susanwilson44 said...

Think you should put some vic's vaporub on the soles of your feet and some big comfortable bedsocks on. The ONLY way to relieve a cough and sleep all night. And no - as a nurse and a health visitor - I have absolutely NO idea why.
Huge congrats on the big writing splurge, long may it continue!

ros said...

I find that Write or Die is brilliant for making me do uninterrupted, undistracted writing. It's at writeordie.drwicked.com I normally set it for 1000 words in half an hour and find that I do about 1100-1200 in that time. But you can set it for any amount you like. Don't do kamikaze mode unless you have a seriously tight deadline, though!

Katie said...

Hope you are feeling better soon. And well done for getting the words down when you are feeling yucky.

ninaharrington said...

I am in awe of that work ethic - well done for having such a brilliant start and technique - one which I shall shamelessly use for my next book.
This lurgy sounds aweful - hope you feel better soon.
Take care, Nina x

Lacey Devlin said...

Get well soon Kate! And thanks for the great tips :)

liz fenwick said...

You are amazing...am doing ano so i know i can write quickly but it seems best if i have no idea where I'm going so that there is no pressure to get there - if that makes any sense!
Hope you feel better soon

lx

Kate Hardy said...

Susan - will buy some today (and thanks for the congrats on the splurge - it's nice to be back to normal).

Kate Hardy said...

Ros - I'll give that a try - thanks for the rec :)

Kate Hardy said...

Katie - thanks :)

Kate Hardy said...

Nina - the biggie is, NO INTERNET (says she, breaking that rule this morning, but I'm feeling bleugh so I'm allowing myself 10 minutes)

Kate Hardy said...

Lacey - thanks, and glad they're useful :)

Kate Hardy said...

Liz - good luck with Nano - and well done you, for tackling something different (I have lurked on blogs this week, just not felt up to commenting).