15 Writing Tips From a Pro So You Can Start and Finish Your Book With Success
Prolific sci-fi/fantasy writer Sarah Hoyt tells her secrets. What are you waiting for? It's time to start your book!
May 3, 2014 - 8:00 am
It probably will take me four extra weeks or so – its deadline is in August – and I’m willing to give it that.
However, if you know that it’s physically impossible for you, where you are in life and craft right now, to write two thousand words a day, plan on a thousand and two thirteen-week periods.
And then, at some point, work by the method of writing a sentence. Then writing another sentence, then writing another one, until the novel is finished. Even if you know the result will be bad, you can always revise afterwards.
Part of the decision on how to do this and how much time to set aside for it, depends on your self-knowledge. As I said, I’m the sort of writer who works best – sometimes only works – in a burst of panic fueled by the approaching deadline. (Before that I tend to be in search of some unattainable perfection.) I’m not unusual. About half of my colleagues function this way.
Meanwhile, there are those writers for whom seeing an approaching deadline completely shuts down the creative ability. There are other writers like my husband who can decide the word count and the matching plotline point in advance and hit it exactly every day.
There are also writers who, if they miss the deadline – even a self-imposed one – will decide it’s all for naught, they’re failures, and there’s no point trying again.
If you’re one of the latter type, please give yourself two thirteen week periods, then work as though you have only one. This means your chances of driving yourself to despondency are lower.
Part of the advantage of working for yourself is that you know how you work, and therefore can manage yourself better. The bad part is that you know yourself and tend to give yourself way too much slack.
Right now I’m running about four weeks behind deadline for the end of the thirteen weeks. Because I know myself, I’m not panicking – yet. My plan is to finish out the thirteen week posts, and then take on various aspects of craft such as exposition, character, etc, in these articles while continuing to work on my novel. For those of you following along or setting similar deadlines, I’ll have a note at the end of each post tracking my progress on Through Fire or the next novel, Darkship Revenge.
I will note that part of the reason for the slow progress on the novel is that I am writing more than two thousand words a day on other projects – even not counting my daily blog posts – because I have requests for short stories, as well as two novels I’m rewriting for publication. And trust me, some of those words are happening by the method of writing a sentence, then another sentence, then another sentence and fixing it all when it’s done.
Sometimes that’s the only thing you can do.