WORD COUNT: 12,005/75,000
We’re now on Day Three of the 25-Day Novel Challenge. Writing today went great, as you can tell by the fact that I hit my word count quota for the day so early.
Writing this story has reminded me why I love writing in first person so much; it’s just so dang fun! I feel like I can be a lot more creative in first person than in third person, though I can write in both fairly well.
Some of you might be wondering how I can write so quickly without an outline. I know a lot of writers, if they don’t have at least a vague outline to guide them, can get stuck very easily and might even give up on a story altogether if they don’t figure out what happens next.
I am able to write without an outline because I am used to it. When I first started writing years ago, I tried to outline because I thought that it was what writers are “supposed” to do, but I quickly scrapped the process when I saw how my first novel-length story was turning out completely differently from what I outlined, so outlining seemed like a waste of time and effort to me, time and effort that could be better spent writing.
As a result, I’ve moved to writing into the dark. Under my main name, I’ve written 23 novels over the last couple of years without any outlines, which isn’t counting the novel-length fanfics I wrote prior to starting indie-publishing back in 2014. I’ve had a TON of practice writing into the dark, so it is now very easy and natural for me.
Here are a few quick points that help me:
- I write fast. This allows me to outspeed my doubts and fears. If you listen to your doubts and fears, you will have a harder time writing at all, whether you use an outline or not.
- I keep something happening in every scene and try to end every scene or chapter on a cliffhanger. I don’t just let the action wander off into irrelevant nothingness, but I don’t just toss in random crap that has nothing to do with the story, either. By doing this, I keep my own interest in the story alive, as well as reader interest, so it’s a win-win.
- Prior to starting work on a story, I do some basic preplanning, such as figuring out the main conflict, who the protagonist is, who the antagonist is, what the setting is, etc. It’s not good to go into too much detail here, because if you do, it could kill your interest in the story early, but I do need to know a little bit about the story, otherwise it is much harder to write
- I write every day and do not bounce between projects even when I get stuck. Writing every day helps me to stay in the world of the story, which makes it easier to keep things like worldbuilding details and characterization consistent, while focusing on one project at a time does pretty much the same thing.
Like with all pieces of writing advice, this might not work for you and you shouldn’t treat it like some sort of unquestionable gospel (especially coming from a writer like me, one who isn’t nearly as successful as others). But I encourage you to try out any of the above that resonates with you, especially if you write into the dark like me.
Anyway, the challenge is going great so far. Tomorrow is Day Four, so we’ll see how the next day goes.