How to Write with Speed… Go, Go, Go!

As some of you may know I am currently taking part in June Novel Writing Month in a bid to get the first draft of my novel finished. I used to be a serious edit-as-you go kind of person and it was getting me absolutely no where. I understand this does work for a lot of people but I found it restrictive.

Now I am in full swing again with this new form of speed writing. Still a little bit behind target but I am catching up, I have miraculously managed to write about 15,000 words in the last few days. I never thought that was even possible.

I know what is on paper is complete waffle but just sitting down at the laptop and bashing out a few thousand words each night has become a little ritualistic. Some evenings it is like pulling teeth but the point is if you keep going, something amazing happens and you start to form a story. Like magic.

I urge you all to give it a go. Here are my top tips for starting your first draft and hopefully finishing it (from someone who is still yet to reach the end!)

Plan ahead

Some writers like to plan out the plot meticulously however for me just thinking throughout the day what I will write about in the evening works well too. If you don’t like any form of planning, just sit down and let you mind wander as you type

Do NOT edit

This is crucial. Do not look back on what you have written. Yes the temptation is great but the moment you start going back and editing it is no longer your first draft. You are a writer and you have permission to produce a shitty first draft, make it sparkle during revision phase only.

Give yourself a break

Do not bring yourself down with the ‘this is rubbish’ and ‘No publisher will ever be interested’ talk. Also if you get tired then stop and take a break, don’t be a slave to the word count.

Switch off the phone

I can’t deal with distractions. Sometimes you don’t have a choice and you have to work around them however if you can sort out a quiet place to work then it will help you get in the zone.

Ignore Twitter/Facebook/Blogs

All too tempting to have a peak and see what other people are up to instead of facing a blank page

If faced with a stand-off against a blank page…

…. then walk away, get a drink or a bite to eat, go for a walk, anything. Just don’t sit there. The words are in your head, you just need to lure them out. Another tip if you’re in this predicament is to write garbage or about your day. It limbers up your mind.

 

#FridayFictioneers Step by Step

I missed last week’s Friday Fictioneers so was looking forward to taking part again. I have written this on my lunch break at work so if it’s a little round round the edges then that’s why. I actually managed to keep it down to 99 words this time. Happy for feedback/critiques if you’re willing to give them.

Here is Madison Woods 100 word challenge if you want to take part.

Step by Step

With each tentative step, Liz felt the back of her heels sting. She perched on a rock and removed one walking boot at a time, carefully inspecting the offending blisters.  Liz had already hiked twenty five miles but her feet looked as though another step would finish them off.  She adjusted the heavy bag weighing down on her shoulders, wincing as the straps cut into her collar bone.

“Ten miles to go” she whispered, trying not to cry as she examined the steep forest path.

“Come on Liz, you beat the big C. This is a piece of cake.”

 

Fire the Critic and Build a Novel

It has been nearly two weeks since I last posted on here. Last week I was on holiday and my blog is now looking rather neglected. In truth I enjoyed taking a break from writing as I noticed a lull in creativity and everything I wrote felt a bit stale. My brain needed to be recharged so I injected it with a good amount of fiction and over the past week I’ve read three books and just started on my fourth. I’ve been listening to music I haven’t heard in years, went on long coastal walks, drank lots of wine and caught up with my favourite TV shows. Now I’m feeling really inspired, refreshed with ideas and ready to write.

At the moment I am taking part in June Novel Writing Month and pushing to get that elusive first draft completed. In truth I started the novel years ago and it has already been through the mill a bit. Since then the plot has changed completely thanks to losing everything that I had initially written. It was a story I was incredibly proud of so was devastated when I lost all 15,000 words. When I went back to rewriting, I literally lost the plot and all enthusiasm for the story I was trying to tell, convinced that it would never be as good.

So instead of grappling with the beginning and getting nowhere, I jumped to halfway through the story and pleased to report so far so good. From what I’ve gathered so far is that writing a novel is all about knuckling down, making sure you are committed, dedicated and excited about the story you are telling. I haven’t meticulously planned my novel, mainly because I like getting stuck in and allow the ideas to flow and see where the story takes me.

I have chosen not to edit as I go, ignoring that annoying little voice in your head which likes to tear your work to shred before it’s even taken form. To silence the inner critic requires a lot of discipline as the temptation to go back and edit what you have done is just plain hard. However by allowing the writing to take over and abolishing the critical side from the initial creative process has allowed the story to develop into something rather interesting.  Now the novel is slowly, but surely taking form.

I read somewhere that you need to visualize your novel as a sky scraper. You need to get the foundations in first, such as the plot then add structure and reinforce with words. Once the bare bones are up and stable, you can then start making it look pretty.

So this week I will also be taking part in Friday Fictioneers. After gaining some pretty good and honest advice a few weeks ago I am looking forward to putting that to use.

#Friday Fictioneers – Mother of the Universe

Thanks Madison Woods for a superb photo prompt this week. You can see her story here.

I love mountains and find stories about climbing them fascinating so I was thrilled when this photo came up. Here’s my attempt, little over this week with 130 words.

Mother of the Universe

Climbing over abandoned crampons and climbers curled up in tombs of ice, I struggled to catch my breath.

For two days we had been stranded at camp three. I could do nothing but lay motionless in the pitch black and listen to the storm pound the tent. Aching lungs and a heavy head did little to deter me from my summit dream yet the deafening roar of the wind reminded me that I was in a world that did not belong to man.

My canned oxygen felt thin doing little to help the destruction I was inflicting upon my body. As the moon landscape disappeared the peak beckoned us into pale yellow and blue sky. Her spirit possessed us. Surrendering to the mother of the universe she captured our souls.