I look at authors like Lindsay Buroker and I think she is amazing to get so many books written in such a short time. Then I look at others like Kristen Britain who takes a donkey's age to get a new book out. I have noticed that the authors who get books out regularly are the ones I buy. Once I finish a book I look to see when the next is to be released. Maybe sign up for a pre-release if the price isn't ridiculous and some time down the line I have a new book on my kindle. Others like Kristen Britain it is different. I'll re-read her books because I love them so and I'll check to see when the next one is out and it has something like 2030 (not really but it feels like that) and I give up on the series and unless I re-read it again I'll miss the next book completely. So one thing I am aiming for is to write as many books as possible. I write 3 or 4 in a year. I could write more if I focused more as it takes about a month to write a book and another to edit it and another to send it off to an editor but I really could put out happily 6 or 7 books in a year. Here are some of my secrets to writing like a crazed monkey.
1. Plan- I know some of you like to be a pantser. I was one for a long time. That doesn't get books finished. I sit on a story for a while. I talk about it. I put sticky notes all over the place, I watch videos of whatever is relevant and lot that isn't. I walk down google streets and wished people would post more photos of places. Seriously it is the forbidden palace you'd think a country that is click happy with a camera would post more pictures of the palace. I'll spend a month doing this. Sitting in the back of my head. I can be writing other things while this story just swims around in my head.
2. Outline- I start with the scenes I know I want to write. I put these down. I then have vague ways that these scenes are linked. I might write a scene or two to get a feel for the characters and the world they live in. Then I outline the plot. The three acts, the heroes journey, chronological. I don't care which structure you use but I set it out. Read over these notes a few times. You need to have the thread. I'll talk about that later. If you don't know the thread at this stage you need to figure it out before to move forward as without you will stuck later.
3. Time Management. I set a goal of how much I need to write by a certain date. I set it up that I can be alone and carefree for this time. This is easier for me than for others as I am a single woman and this means making sure the dishes are done and the cats are fed before I set up a spot to write. But to get the first draft you will need a big chunk of uninterrupted time.
4. Write the scenes you are in love with. I have insomnia so one of the ways I fall asleep is lucid dream scenes from my books. I love these scenes. I might dream the same one several nights in a row. I can touch this scene it is so vivid. Once my planning is done I write these scenes. They are the backbone of my story. They often are at the start of my story as I like the set up scenes but sometimes there are scenes later that I love. Like when the guy messes up and has to figure a way back to the girl.
5. Look at the scenes that you aren't in love with and figure out why you don't like them. Change them. Fix them until you are in love with them. This can be a more chronological process but you can jump around if you want. This is possible if you have the thread sorted otherwise you will get lost writing the main story line. But think. If you don't love the scene then your reader won't.
6. Find the holes. When I'm procrastinating writing a scene as I'm not in love with is yet I go back and look at what I already have written and make sure there are no holes. Make sure the timing is right. Like you can't have them out looking in the morning and then have them attacked just at dusk without explaining how all that time disappeared. I read so many romances that start with a date at night. The next morning and then they skip right to the night again without explaining what happened in the intervening time.
7. The thread. I got this idea from people like Nora Roberts. There should be a concept or idea that is the central pivot of your story. She'll have a gardener so she has lots of references to flowers and all the jargon that goes with it. This is the moral of the story. This is the message you want your audience to understand by the end. If you can't write it down then it is too wishy washy for the audience to figure out. By this stage the thread is an intimate element to your story. So write down what it is. Talk to people about, check out blogs on it. Feel like you are an expert on this idea.
8. Don't rush the end. I have this problem all the time. I find if I write the ending at this stage then I don't rush it as much as it really isn't the end of the project, there is still a lot to do. I'll do this before I have finished writing all the other scenes. Mainly because I will write scenes from the ones I love the best to the ones I don't hate. The ending is usually one of my favourites so I want to do it justice.
9. Plot. Okay this sounds like it is backwards but trust me it isn't. You think you have told your readers everything they need to know to understand the novel. But actually most of that is still stuck in your head. Read through your book and plot out the plot. What happens when. Make sure everyone knows how characters got to one place to the other (this includes feelings) like they can't go from hating a character to falling in love suddenly. Don't fix these up yet. Just write notes of what still needs to be fixed.
10. Edit and fix. If you edit alone you tend to day dream or get distracted. Do a page or a scene then go and write a bit of a scene that is still missing. Then go back and edit another little bit. Once everything is written and you have edited everything let it sit. Go write the blurb and get the cover sorted. Send out emails for reviews and do interviews. Don't touch the book. Then read through it again. Have text to speech read through it for you. This was the best thing I did for my last book. This is the stage to give it beta readers and reviewers and your editor.
This won't work for everyone but it works for me and other authors who write a lot. I did not come up with all by myself.