Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Research and How to Write Faster

Doing research for a sequence in The Gray Men involving a prison riot. One of the characters has a back story involving a prison fire. I researched prison fires and came up with an article about the 1930 fire at the Ohio Penitentiary. It was quite gruesome, as 322 people died. Many of the inmates burned or died of smoke inhalation while locked in their cells. There were also stories of selflessness and heroism, as guards and convicts saved each other from the flames.

The new draft stands at 15,000 words. I've been averaging about 5,000 words of fiction per week. This is while working 6 days a week at my full-time job. If I had to give advice on how to write more, I'd say:

1. Know what you are going to write. Have a rough idea of the scene or chapter. For this novel, I'm writing some general "signposts" where the story needs to go, as opposed to an outline. Signposts are scenes or events that are key to the novel.  My previous two books were written without any outline.

2. Keep writing materials handy. Grab 15 minutes and write if you have it. Lunch breaks and waiting rooms are perfect for this.

3. Don't obsess about perfection in your first draft. Write hot and get the story down.

4. Plan multiple writing sessions per day. Maybe a half hour before work, twenty minutes on lunch, and another half hour in the evening. You'll be surprised how fast the words pile up.

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