One of my writing goals for 2016 is to read one book a month about craft. I started with 2K to 10K: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love by Rachel Aaron.
In 2011 Rachel wrote a blog post about how she went from writing two thousand words a day to regularly knocking out ten thousand. The post was extremely popular with us writer types because WE ARE ALL DESPERATELY SEARCHING FOR MIRACLES.*
This book builds on her post and several others from her blog, as well as including new material. It is well worth the 99 pennies she is charging.
*My assumption. No writers were interviewed.
3 Tips I Loved:
1. Know what you're writing before you write it. She advises dedicating at least five minutes at the beginning of every writing session to jotting down a quick description of what you're going to write that day and suggests including things like "back and forth exchanges of an argument...blocking out fights...fast descriptions."
I found this REALLY helpful. I always have a rough plan of what I want to happen in a scene, but a bit more detail definitely makes the words flow faster!
2. When you get stuck it's because you don't know something. This is in reference to plotting, and she talks about how your entire plot isn't "borked" (bonus for using the word borked) when you get really stuck. No need to panic and let your dog eat your laptop so you never have to see your novel again! Instead, take a step back and discover more about your characters, their world, and why the event in question is actually happening. If the usual fixes aren't working she advises writing down in "ludicrous detail what's going on in the world at the moment the plot is stuck...especially map out exactly what the villains are doing."
Ha! Gotta love it when the villains save the day.
3. What every scene needs to do. Her criteria for a scene is that it advances the story, reveals new information, and pulls the reader forward. This is a good reminder no matter where you are in the process. I have used similar criteria for my scenes in revision, but her advice to plan out scenes in more detail before writing means that I will save a lot of time by knowing exactly what each scene is supposed to do before getting it down on paper. Probably a lot of people already do this of course, but I've always been more of a "Ooooo, a scene in a library would be cool!" kind of writer.
Verdict: Highly recommended! There are no miracles (sorry) and you may have seen some of these tips before, but the way she brings everything together and describes her own process is really helpful and it made me feel excited about sitting down to write.