Forum Friday: Tricks for writing at a faster pace

This is the second year I’ve done Nanowrimo, and less than half way through the month I realize: hey. 1700 words a day is not anywhere near as hard as it used to be! I asked myself, What have I changed? and What am I doing right? and realized that this– tips for writing at a faster pace– would make an excellent subject to open up to other writers!

What do you do to keep the momentum? Large or small scale– what tricks and methods help you write at a faster pace?

A couple things that work me:

  • Large scale: outline. Sweet hippopotamus, OUTLINE. I had an outline last year, too, but it was woefully vague and required large amounts of cutting and rewrites all through the month of the November (which, as you might imagine, really slowed me down). This year I went into it with every chapter planned in bullet points: had the bones down, but left myself room for natural developments. It’s worked much better.
  • Small scale: placeholders. Whenever I get stuck on something– a bit of pacing here, a town or event name there– I’ve been either writing a generic term (i.e., “pacing” or “school dance” or “club”) and highlighting it to come back to, or I’ve written in whatever nonsense I came up with at the snap of the fingers. You can always go back and fix placeholders when the first draft is finished. (And who knows. You might even end up liking something. Muffin Wars.)

Bonus image:


13 responses to “Forum Friday: Tricks for writing at a faster pace”

  1. I use to great effect. I’ve also started a scene that I work on when I’m frustrated–erotica featuring my story’s characters outside the plot or continuity.
    It’s kind of theraeutic, especially knowing it will probably never see the light of day, that whenever I get stuck I can go type some ridiculous fanservice.

    1. Brave soul (writeordie: effective in theory, terrifying in practice– for me). Haha, wow…and it’s like you write your own steamy fan fiction!

      1. Yeah, I’m not quite sure how to feel about it… But it gets the words on the page.

  2. Definitely helpful writing advice here, not just in terms of Nanowrimo, but for all writing.

    1. Thank you! Funny that it takes Nanowrimo for me to realize these things.

  3. For me, an outline makes all the difference–yet I still resist writing one most of the time.

    1. Sometimes the approach to writing is as surprising as the writing itself!

  4. What are you working on this november?

    1. Hey Tony! I’ve just finished a first draft of a book called Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index (there’s a description about it on the Books page and on my author site), and now I’m preparing to do yet another round of revisions on Shifters. How about you? And how has Orphans of Reality been doing??

      1. Wow. Sounds like you’ve been hard at work. I can’t wait to read the efforts of all your hard work. I’m pretty sure it will be super stellar awesomeness.
        I’ve just been writing some short stories lately for the most part. Sales of Orphan of Reality have been abysmal, but that’s what I expected. I knew I wasn’t ready to write a novel yet, but I think I learned some stuff from it. It is a rather terrible book especially when I compare to good literature. I just read House of Leaves, and it almost made me want to never write again cause it was so good. This was an awful promo for my book. If anyone is reading this I’m completely lying. Ignore everything I said. That was the old me. I’ve changed since then.
        And buy everything Julie writes. She has talent. Blackholes full of talent. It will make you feel good on your inside parts. Do it.

        1. Thank you for the encouragement, Tony…it’s been a long trek, and I know I have a ways yet before me, so the kind words are like a nice, caffeinated, sugar and cream-topped latte to sustain me to the next stage. (God knows I need it– did you see that awful metaphor just now?)

          This House of Leaves business. I am going to look into this. That is a pretty glowing review, and I think I know exactly what you mean. And don’t despair with Orphans… Every book (even if it doesn’t sell as one hopes) is a positive experience because it makes us a better writer 🙂

          AND OMG. Lollerblades! Can I use that last bit as a blurb someday?

  5. Good advice! I’ve not used an outline before.. just a smattering of sticky notes, which proved… interesting. I’ve been wrestling with the idea for a new project and think that I just need to sit down and really flesh it out with an outline. It sounds much less daunting– also, I totally use awkward placeholders. It’s a talent I learned in college when I couldn’t remember my professor’s names and just put in “MR. SO AND SO” on the cover page. Only problem was the handful of times I forgot to go back and change it. Woops…

    1. Brave woman! Yes, my (writing) life became so much easier when I started outlining. Hope it will serve you well, too!

      And AHAHA, doesn’t that happen to everybody at least once? Mr. So and So…Mr. Fibbledygidget… Tomato tomahto.

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