Recently, I discovered the books, the website and the writing methods of Dean Wesley Smith. He’s a very prolific writer who writes some of the Star Trek novels, Spider Man novels, Men in Black, X-Men, as well as his own novels, short stories and serials.
Further investigation reveals that the 7-day novel isn’t actually a full novel length, more a novella length of around 42,000 words. The 10-day novel chronicles the time he spent ghosting a novel. But hey, 42,000 words in 7 days is still an achievement.
How does he do it? He writes “into the dark”, or “by the seat of his pants”, or “without an outline”.
And, for the 7-day novel(la) at least, he starts on day 1 by writing 3,000 words, on day 2 he writes 4,000 words, on day 3 he writes 5,000 words, day 4 = 6,000 words, day 5 = 7,000 words, day 6 = 8,000 words and day 7 = 9,000 words. Total = 42,000 words. (I’m not giving anything away here, this information is still available publicly on his website.)
Aside from the number of novels and novellas he manages to complete each year, he also produces enough material to release a monthly bundle consisting of a novel(la), serials and short stories in the guise of Smith’s Monthly.
Now then, this clearly works for Smith, but would it work for a serial planner like me?
Last year’s NaNoWriMo was written, for the first time ever, by the seat of my pants and, for the first time ever, I completed it. (NaNoWriMo, not the/a novel.)
I don’t think I could do it in 7 days, and I don’t think I could start with 3,000 words. But what if I did it for 10 days (i.e. 2 working weeks) and started with 1,000 words? That would give me 55,000 words, which is the length of a category romance – not that I write many category romances, but you get my drift. My NaNoWriMo was just over 50,000 words, so the right length for a YA or a long novella.
I need to do a bit more mental preparation (i.e. read the Writing in the Dark book – the other 2 I only have as samples at the moment), and I need to clear the deck a little. But I really, really fancy at least giving it a go. Do you?
So, watch this space …