Today I would like to share something different.
I have been doing lots of reading about how to write a book and what it takes to write a book. Both in the non-fiction and the fiction way.
I have because I am in the process of writing a book just for you. More on that later.
I have come across some great books and today I would like to share the highlights of one of the books that I have found.
This is called Rachel Aaron’s 2000 to 10000. How to write faster, write better, and write more of what you love. Here’s a link to her site.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and think it would be a great fit for any author no matter the genre.
I will share with you the highlights but you really need to check it out. It’s only a buck on amazon so it is a great read to help you in your journey as a writer.
This book is the story of how she went from writing 2000 words per day to 10,000 words per day. Sounds like a feat that not many could do but she makes it sound so easy.
She points out right in the beginning that there are many ways to be productive in writing. But she has a method that is worth learning and seeing how you can adapt to your own style.
All the points here come from her book.
Rachel Aaron’s 2000 to 10,000:
How to write faster, write better, and write more of what you love.
She identifies three main sections that are needed to be productive in the book that you are writing.
The first one: Knowledge. You need to know what you are writing about. You need to know details about your story so you are not making them up as you go along.
The second one: Time. You need to keep track of how you manage your time, what time works best for you and use that to your advantage. There is no point in writing at a time that you are so tired you can’t see straight. Or when the kids need you. You know those times!! The times that you are pulled in many different directions.
The third one: Enthusiasm. You have got to enjoy what you are doing. If you don’t enjoy what you are writing about, then why are you writing.
Chapter 1: Plotting your novel in 5 easy steps
She gives you 5 steps to plotting your story.
Step 0: Decide on what your book is about.
Ask yourself the following questions about the idea that you have:
- Can you stop thinking about your idea?
- Is your story writing itself in your head?
- Can you see the finished product?
- Could you explain your story to other people and prove to them that your story is worth buying?
Step 1: Write down what you already know about your story.
Jot down some rough ideas that put your idea in front of you.
What is exciting to you about your idea? What is it that keeps you up at night? Basically, answers the above questions.
Step 2: Fill in with the basics.
Fill in some details about the idea that you have by figuring out the three pillars of your story. The characters, the plot and the setting.
You need 2-4 main characters. With 1-2 antagonists. Then you need to add as many power players as needed. She called these extra characters power players as they play a pivotal role in the plot line. She gave the example of Dumbledore in Harry Potter. They are needed but are not who the story is about.
For each of these characters you need to have a list of each of them are and how they relate to the main characters.
You need to know the beginning from the ending. How does you story begin? What is the final ending?
And the add in the basics to the twists and turns that you are planning on having.
This is not with immense detail. This is just the bare bones thought.
This is the basic feel of the world that you are creating. Jot down the general ideas that you need to know what is happening where, with who, and why.
Step 3: Filling in the blanks.
This is the point where you really start filling out the details to what you want to happen.
Create details that are about the history of your world. Figure out why the characters are doing what they are doing.
She calls it “spend time with your characters”.
Step 4: Build a firm foundation
When you have the basics laid out of the characters, plot and setting, you can now create a time line and a map of your community.
I like this idea of a timeline. It actually goes with a book that I am putting together. It will be a specially designed journal that can help you keep track all of these ideas.
Note the ages of each of your characters.
Decide on how long everyone has know everyone else. Put them into your world.
Add the events of your story and where they fit in the timeline.
Draw a map
Draw an actual map of your world. Add the locations of your events. Give a brief description of each place. This gives you the ability to be consistent in your movements of characters.
Write out who knows what and when. This is a quick list of the flow of information.
Memorize everyone’s particulars
Know the name (with spelling), age, and physical description of each of your characters. All of them.
Break down the action into scenes. Then divide into chapters. Keep in mind that chapter breaks are used to increase dramatic tension in the plot line. Use that to your advantage.
Word Count Estimation
There is a sweet spot for traditional publishing. It is 80k to 100k. Do a rough guess-timate for how long your story will be.
Then do a boredom check. Go through your story, scene be scene, and visualize. Are there any boring scenes? No reader wants to read boring!!
Step 5: Start writing
She says that when you know your world, your characters, your voice, and your climax then the story may just start writing itself!!!
Chapter 2: Characters who write their own stories
She shares that “a character’s story comes from their choices”. This ability to make decisions that change the direction of the plot is called character agency.
She says that your character must decide for themselves that they want something.
She does a much better job of this chapter then me. Take a moment and read it.
I think I have trouble explaining this one because I am not a fiction author. I have not had those characters talking to me. But I’ll try my best!!!
Here are some more points that she adds:
- Go back to your characters sheets and add – these define who your characters truly are.
- what your characters like.
- what they hate
- and what do they want more than anything
- Your characters who want things are the ones that push the story to get them.
- Simple motivations are good but for the main characters, motivation is also a plot decision.
- Plot and character development should be so tightly intertwined they can’t be seperated.
Chapter 3: The Story Architect
She tells you to become a story architect. She compares what an architect does and what an author does.
Your writing should be an active undertaking. It needs to be pursued relentlessly, testing and building until your ideas are strong enough to hold up as a story!!
She gives the 3 act structure idea.
- Act 1: Set-up
- Introduce your world and characters. This is the beginning of the action.
- Act 2: Action
- This act begins with the something that happened.
- This is usually the longest part of the story.
- This section is exciting and tension filled
- Act 3: Resolution
- This has the climax.
- This is where all the complications of act 2 are leading up to, where it boils over.
- This is the main event.
Chapter 4: The two bird minimum
This is the actual writing part. Where you put details into your scenes.
Each scene needs to do three things:
- advance the story
- reveal new information
- pull the reader forward
If your story needs to be longer than your scenes needs to do more.
If your story needs to be shorter than consider joining 2 scenes together.
Okay, I’m not explaining this one well. Read it yourself and see what she means!!
Chapter 5: Editing for people who hate editing
She shares how she changed the way that she thought about editing and gives this advice:
Step 1: Change the way you think about editing.
Ask yourself: What are you actually doing? You are revising the prose, making it prettier, fixing character issues and patching plot holes.
What is the final destination of editing? The answer – Reader experience. Your book is an amusement park fun house. And once you invite your readers inside, it’s no longer yours alone. So your book has to make sense to others.
Step 2: Editing tools
Be your own editor first. Identify what is wrong with your story.
This is similar to the earlier one.
Quickly jot down what happens in your story.
This is a guide, a literal scene-by-scene map of what happens in your story.
This identifies the plot lines.
This is a visual guide for your book.
She actually uses a color coding idea that helps her to see if she needs to better balance her story.
Jot down all the relevant events that happen in the story.
Then go back and write down what each character is doing and where they are.
This timeline is about keeping track of what happens in what order, who’s together at what times and where everyone is when important events occur.
This is a fault finding device for your plot.
Now it’s time to put your story through the wringer to squish out the problems. Add it to a to-do list. You are making a giant pile of things that need to be fixed.
Step 3: Actually editing
This is fixing the big stuff.
Use your scene map and timeline, move through your story. She recommends going through it in a non-linear fashion. When using the map and timeline, you can spot what you have missed and be able to fix things a whole lot easier than if you started at the beginning and moving through your story that way.
She does recommend reading it from beginning to end, after you have fixed the things on your to-do list. This allows you to clean up the sequence of events and make sure your story flows.
Step 4: Activating the reader brain
Now you need to back and read your book as if you are a reader. Not a writer.
She gives the idea to take your book and put it on your Kindle and then read it there. That way you can’t make any adjustments while you are reading. All you can do is enjoy.
She does point out that all this last step is even before you send your story to beta readers. You need to know if your story flows and entertains.
Chapter 6: Advice for new writers
I’ll just point out some things she said:
Write the book that is inside of you!
Don’t let others opinions change what you have inside of you.
Worry about making your book good. Worry about the best way to order your scenes or your character’s actions. Worry about your grammar
She gives some great advice that any up-n-coming author needs to hear. I know that I enjoyed hearing it!!
So there you have it.
Even though I have given you a detailed summary of this book, I can not do justice to this author. She as a way of bringing you into her book and giving you hope that you can do exactly what she has done!! Thanks Rachel.
I know that I enjoyed it very much!!
Good luck in your next story writing!!
Your friend in romance,