How to write a novel fast
How to write a novel in three days sounds a wee bit preposterous, doesn’t it? But it can be done and is done by quite a few writers these days. The trick is in learning how to do the things you need to do in order to commit to a fast first draft. One way is to challenge yourself. (See my personal invitation below.)
3-Day Novel Contest (Sept 3-5, 2016)
The official annual contest has been running every Labour Day Weekend since 1977. Is it possible. Yep. I did my first 3-day novel contest back in the early 1980s when a writer friend and I challenged each other and made it happen. Another writer I know entered the contest, completed her novel, then ran it through editing and polishing and eventually sold it to a big traditional publisher as the first book in a trilogy for a mighty hefty sum. So yes, this is a good way to force yourself to get that butt int he chair. Today it’s an international contest. (Check out the contest FAQs here and the rules here.) Dates for 2016 are September 3 – 5.
Do you have to pay to play?
While I’ve used this weekend of writing as a way to get a first draft done, I don’t always enter the contest. I simply use it to challenge myself to make it happen. That’s what I suggest to you if you’re not up to entering the contest. Better yet, grab a few friends and make a friendly contest (see below). Even if you’re not entering the contest, a survey of the rules is a good idea. You have two weeks to prep and then it’s time to write like the wind.
How to write a novel fast requires prep work
If it seems impossible to write a novel in three days, let’s take a step back and think about it. What do you need to do in the next? I say, break everything down into smaller stages and chunks. You need characters, setting, and some kind of map or outline. All this work can and is allowed to do beforehand. (Feeling a bit better?)
My down and dirt quick pre-planning
Here is a quick list showing how I’ve broken down my prep work in the past:
- Choose a genre and a category.
- Determine your novel’s wordcount.
- Come up with a concept.
- Reduce it to a paragraph.
- Reduce it further to a sentence.
- Write a character sketch for your main protagonist (romance, do hero and heroine)
- Write a character sketch for the main secondary characters.
- Choose the main setting and write about it.
- List the possible alternative settings.
- Write a simple narrative of the story or list out in order all the things that must happen.
- Assemble all your material and have them ready for the start date.
That’s all there is to it. Once midnight of the start date begins, you put everything aside and write. At the end of three days you will probably have a finished draft. At the least, you’ll be further along than you were when you started. Want to add to the fun? Ask a friend to buddy up. The two of you can offer needed support and encouragement, plus you’ll have a lot of fun, share the experience, and create good memories.
How to increase your daily output
Maybe you’re worried about the actual writing. Well, there are a few things to help you prepare. The first would be to read Rachel Aaron’s 2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love. She has some great advice on how to double your word count.
Think of these three days as a marathon. What do you do to prepare to run a marathon? You run. What do you do to prepare for a 3-day writing contest? You write. Write every day. Track your wordcount. Build your stamina. As you prepare, use out my Friday sprints posts for daily writing opportunities.
How to write a novel daily life prep
Prepare your real life for the upcoming writing marathon. Buy suitable groceries that will fuel your body and your mind. Have enough snacks and food on hand so that you don’t have to leave wherever you are writing. Tell your friends and family that you won’t be available during those three days. If you think they will support your efforts, share what you are doing. If not, don’t tell. Be prepared to let the dust bunnies rest wherever they may be. Resist the compulsion to go wash the car or clean out the garage. Rest, relax, and sleep before the big weekend.
I’m sure there are more things you can do to prepare for a 3-day writing marathon but these suggestions should be more than enough to get the ball rolling. Now, the question is. . . who’s up for the challenge?
Join My 2016 3-Day Fast & Furious Novel Writing Challenge (Sept 3 – 5, 2016)
SIGN UP FIRST, THEN JOIN FB GROUP (optional), SHARE, and WRITE! To participate in my informal 2016 3-Day Fast & Furious Novel Writing Challenge, click on the red sign-up button below. Don’t worry, you’ll only receive news, tips and updates related to this event, then jump into your pre-planning stage right now! For FAQs, rules, and guidelines, go here. If you want to meet up with other participants, join the Facebook group. (Hashtag: #WriteFastWithVikk)