First, USA Today bestselling author Dean Wesley Smith shattered the myth that writing fast equals writing badly—or, conversely, writing well equals writing slowly—with his book How to Write a Novel in Ten Days.
Now, Smith raises the stakes with this latest book, Writing a Novel in Seven Days.
Chapter by chapter, Smith chronicles his process toward writing a 43,000-word novel in just seven days. He writes about his progress, his feelings about the project, and how he approaches and overcomes obstacles.
This WMG Writer's Guide demonstrates that setting an aggressive writing goal, and accomplishing that goal, can prove successful with the right attitude and tools.
I married Dean Wesley Smith twenty-five years ago, and I still have no idea how he gets as much done as he does. He writes more in an evening than I do in a week. Not only does he make the writing look easy, he writes superb fiction every time. He blogs daily about his writing techniques and sometimes puts those blogs into a book. In this book, he combined the blogs he wrote while writing a novel in seven days. Yep, he's that good. And his techniques are all here for you to try, if you dare. – Kristine Kathryn Rusch
"Dean Wesley Smith's blog … is somewhere to see what's going on in the industry and how you can use it to your advantage, a place to hear that it's okay to write and submit quickly, and a blog where hard numbers are discussed. Even if you don't agree with everything that he says, it's worth reading his blog just to think about where and how much control you have over your own career."– Vision Magazine
This is going to be fun.
That's how I am going at this new project and these chapters leading up to the challenge and the challenge itself.
I will be doing a chapter a day on my blog through the writing of the entire novel, so anyone can follow along with the time involved, the thinking behind the idea to do a novel in seven days, the preparation, and everything else.
And I will detail out the writing sessions as well as I start up.
I am writing this prologue on a Tuesday night.
I plan on starting writing on the novel Saturday night. So a decent amount of time to try to clear some decks and get ready.
The Coming Challenge
What is this challenge?
Actually, a professional writer friend heard about some people trying this and after a long winter of not doing much writing, I thought it would get me back at the pace I want to write.
But when I first heard the idea, I have to admit I just shook my head.
And my first thought was, "I could do that when I was younger."
Not kidding, that's what I thought.
So as I describe this simple challenge, check in to see what your first thoughts are.
The Challenge is Simple
Day One: 3,000 words.
And then each day after that add 1,000 words to the amount needed. Seven days, if my math is right, you will have a 42,000-word novel.
3,000… 4,000… 5,000… 6,000… 7,000… 8,000... 9,000 words.
Yup, my first thought was that I was too old to do that. I'm 65 and working more than a full-time job at starting stores and working at WMG Publishing. So I initially just shook my head and tried to forget the idea.
But this idea has a really bad mind-worm attached to it.
And I really needed something to fire me up and get me back on my normal pace of writing. Back to pulp speed on the fiction.
So for me, this challenge will work out just fine. Sort of attaching jumper cables to my sluggish writing battery.
And I am not too old to do this.
Here is my thinking on approaching this challenge out in public on my blog.
1. If I make it all the way through I will have finished another novel for Smith's Monthly.
That would be a win.
2. The challenge and the run-up to starting it will focus my mind away from starting the new store and back onto writing where it needs to be. And where I want it to be.
That would be a win.
3. Since I can average about 1,000 words per hour, this will take about 42 hours out of my week. And another ten hours doing the chapters.
That is possible, but it means I will have to be careful on doing other things. In other words, figuring out where I am losing time and bad habits and clearing that out. I will need to create new habits around writing as I go.
That would be a win.
4. Even if I only get 30,000 words done before getting sidetracked or ending face-down on my keyboard, I will have 30,000 words done and that is failing to success.
And that would be a win.
5. And if I can actually get through the seven days and blog about it here every night, just as I did with the book How to Write a Novel in Ten Days, then I will have another short nonfiction book with these chapters that might help writers.
Or at least I hope to be entertaining in the silliness.
And that would be a win.
So all wins.
Where I See Problems
First off, I have online workshops to teach while the challenge is going on. The really rough night of those for March is Monday night. And in the challenge, Monday night is a 5,000-word night.
I can do that, but it will be a focus and not a lot of watching The Voice.
Also, I have recording to do of the last week of the Dialog workshop and the first few weeks of the Author Voice workshop. I'm going to do my best to get that done ahead of time. I'll talk about that in the next chapter.
And I need to start the April workshops which is some work and that will be one of the last two days. Nothing I can do about that in timing.
I also have standard WMG Publishing meetings and my normal chores at my WMG job, so that will take time during the day as well.
And on Monday we have the last move of fixtures into the new store.
I'm sure I'm missing some things planned for next week. I know I will be done with this on Friday, one way or another because I have a party to attend in Portland on Saturday.
In the first chapter tomorrow, I'll detail more about the challenge, and how to deal with so many of the problems. And how to even start to get ready for a challenge like this.
But I do have one thing set, something I don't normally do. I know the book I'm going to write. (No real plot, just going to be writing into the dark.)
It's a Thunder Mountain book and will be called The Idanha Hotel.
I wrote a short story in the Stories from July challenge by that name and Kris liked it and said it would be a great novel.
That comment has stuck with me since July even though I thought it worked fine as a short story and didn't needed to be added onto. So I'm going to write that novel, even though Thunder Mountain novels are complex time travel novels and often take me more time.
Just another part of the challenge. (Can't make this too easy, right?)
This will be fun as I repeat over and over I am not too old to do this.