One of my three top tips in Part One of Writing Your Book is to create a “dirty” draft. This involves dashing off the first version of your book as fast as you can.
If your writing time is limited, concentrate your creative energy on getting words down, rather than building images in your readers’ minds. The fun of doing that comes later, when you refine and polish your completed story.
Adapt the Pomodoro technique to help you squeeze every second out of your writing time. That is, set a kitchen timer for thirty minutes, write as fast as you can until the alarm goes off, then take a ten-minute break.
Don’t worry about adding details of your characters’ appearance, or your story’s setting at this stage. You’ll be going back over your work to add this later, along with research details, and spelling, grammar and punctuation checks.
Getting your thoughts down in words in a high speed stream has some great advantages. You see real progress, fast. There’s nothing like a rapidly growing word count to feed your enthusiasm. Making a note of your daily word count is a real incentive to beat that figure the next time you sit down to write. If you’re taking part in NaNoWriMo, feeding that figure into the community makes you part of the successful process.
“Let me have this one night with you, to remember…”
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The feeling of satisfaction is amazing. When you forge ahead, trying to do as much as you can in the shortest possible time, you carve straight through those nasty briar patches marked doubt and delay threatening to block the path of every writer. Think of an icebreaker ploughing through the Southern Ocean. Keep your head down, and keep going.
You’re never lost for words. It’s impossible to edit a blank page, but once you get something down in black and white, you can go back and develop your work by adding colour, detail and shades of meaning. Conflict drives the best stories, and its most reliable power source is dialogue between great characters. Put their emotions and arguments down into conversation. You can worry about the scenery later.
The line of dialogue; …let me have this one night with you, to remember… popped into my head as I woke up one morning. I built the story of Heart Of A Hostage around it by imagining how that conversation started, and how it would end. By writing that out as fast as I could, I made a commitment to write the book which has become one of my favourites.