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How quickly can I write Repulsive?

Discussion in 'Publishing' started by BWFoster78, Jul 13, 2015.

  1. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    Fantastic!

    I do multiple stages of editing. This question seems to refer to my first edit. I consider my first draft to have the sole purpose of getting words on the page. The 2nd draft (the first edit) is supposed to get the writing into some kind of readable form, including tension and cohesion.

    I've done a lot of second draft writing lately. My first draft writing is pretty similar to yours, averaging in the 2000 to 2500 range. Second draft is ranging more between 2500 and 3000. So not a huge increase. I also notice that I'm adding about 20% to my first draft word count, meaning that it's taking me close to the same amount of time to write each draft.

    As far as why the WPH is faster, though:

    1. Sometimes it's really slow if the first draft is a complete mess and I have to move a lot of stuff around. Even in that situation, though, I haven't seen numbers as low as my lowest first draft number. I think, for me anyway, it's simply easier to think and work when I already have words on the page.
    2. Not every word/sentence/paragraph needs any attention at all. Some I read and I'm like, "That's good. I like it." If I have to completely rewrite 3/4 of a chapter (and I do that at the same rate as my first draft), my overall rate will still be faster since 1/4 of the chapter was basically done at reading speed.

    I'm also noticing as I advance deeper into my first draft, that the quality is improving, making my 2nd draft go faster and faster. Is that the flow advantage that Chris mentioned or was it me finding my voice for this book? No idea. Maybe a little of both.

    First, understand that I believe everyone should take Chris' process and fit it to how they work instead of fitting how they work to Chris' process. I don't think I'll ever get my second draft to be twice the speed of my first draft.

    Back to your question: I improve everything with every edit, but that's just how I work. I know some writers go through each edit with a specific thing in mind. I don't. I try to add content, description, flow, tension, etc. every time through. Typically, each draft gets better and better, though, so I end up doing less and less each time through, making the final edits much faster than the first ones.

    Again, though, that's just me. You need to figure out what works for you.

    I think that your best bet is to just do it and see what happens. Keep detailed records for several months. Use those records to analyze what worked for you and make your process more efficient.

    Did any of this help you?

    Hope so :)

    If not, I'm more than willing to elaborate if you have more thoughts.

    Thanks.

    Brian
     
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  2. Chessie

    Chessie Guest

    I believe that he promotes more than one pass though. It IS weird to focus on a single aspect of editing when going through a pass, and it took me some getting used to as well, but now there is no other way for me. One pass I focus on spelling errors, grammar, and improving narrative/prose, next pass I focus on character and plot, and the last pass I focus on dialogue. But I can comment more on Chris's method once I read that part of his book. :) (sorry to hijack the thread, Brian!)
     
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  3. T.Allen.Smith

    T.Allen.Smith Staff Moderator

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    The book says he does 4 edits on average.

    I sent him a tweet requesting an email address so I can bounce some questions off him. I'll let you all know what he says.
     
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  4. Philip Overby

    Philip Overby Staff Article Team

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    We're doing a podcast with him in a couple of months. I'm curious to ask about these kind of productivity things.
     
  5. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    I seem to remember him posting something about a hiking trip. Not sure if he's back yet or not, so he might be slow to respond.
     
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  6. PaulineMRoss

    PaulineMRoss Inkling

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    He's still away. Not sure when he's back.
     
  7. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    A couple of quick observations prior to getting to the update:

    - I think the biggest key to getting stuff done is to make a commitment to yourself that you're going to get stuff done. Even when I don't feel like writing, I put in my time. Sometimes in that situation, the first few minutes goes slow, but it picks up after that. Except for when I don't feel like writing and it's the afternoon. The afternoon seems dreadful for me. My slowest editing the entire week, like half my normal rate, came in that situation.
    - My commitment is to put in a minimum 3 30min sprints daily on my main WIP. A lot of days, I spend another 30min to an hour on a secondary project. On days where I don't work on secondary projects, I spend time on the business aspects of writing - ie fiddling around with my website, contacting reviewers, etc.
    - I was able to "find" 30 extra minutes in the morning for writing. I used to watch an entire program (40-45 min on the DVR) every morning at breakfast. Now, I only watch for the 10min or so I'm actually eating. The rest of my writing time is coming from stolen moments and from sacrificing sleep at night. I feel like I'm back in college.
    - The second biggest key for me to actually get everything I want to get done done is organization. I have to look ahead to upcoming projects and make sure that I'm ready with the outlines done when it's time to start the writing. It's crucial to prioritize my time correctly.

    8/24 Weekly Update on Progress

    Abuse of Power:

    Finished revisions, proofing, and the front and back matter. The document could be uploaded right now. I'll probably do that this week and save it as a draft per Pauline's recommendation. No more writing work to be done. I'll start a new thread later on to talk about marketing.

    Rise of the Mages:

    Same as with Abuse, this one is ready to rock and roll.

    Repulsive:

    I'm actually ahead of schedule. As of this morning, I'm 68% done with the second draft. I'm projecting completion as of Friday. The plan is one week for the 3rd draft and then off to beta readers on 9/7.

    Prelude to Wizards War - Parts 1 and 2:

    As of last week, I had some idea as of the plot for part 2, and no idea at all for part 1. That wasn't good since the only way for me to meet my goals is to complete the first three drafts of one of these while Repulsive is with beta readers. Great news: I had a major planning breakthrough on part 1. I now have characters and a plot and the basis for my outline. It will my major planning priority over the next couple of weeks.

    Myles Mathis - Mage Hunter:

    New to my plans. I decided that there is no way I can publish Gryphon on 3/1. There's just not enough time to write and edit what is sure to be over 120k words in that time period and do all the other stuff I want. I'm pushing back everything else and adding this novelette for 2/1 to keep momentum going. The goal is to write three drafts of this in less than a week in January.

    Repulsive Origins:

    Of all my deadlines, I'm most worried about meeting this one. I have no blocks of time scheduled that are devoted to this project as the primary. That means I have to write it entirely as my secondary project when I can. Worrisome. I'm still waiting for beta reader comments back on the first story, and to make myself feel better about the schedule on this one, I need to write the second story in the next couple of weeks.

    Gryphon:

    I'm thinking about doing this as a NaNoWrMo thing. The rough draft is probably going to be in the 120k range. That's 4k a day for 30 days. Whatcha think?

    Attractive:

    Still a working title, but it's firming up. If things work out correctly, I'll need to start this mid January when I send Gryphon to beta readers.

    Lots to do ...
     
  8. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    Weekly update time :)

    Repulsive:

    I finished the 2nd draft two days ahead of schedule, and it's looking like I'll finish the 3rd draft in 5 days instead of the budgeted 7. That's four extra days to work on my next project. Whohoo!

    Prelude to Wizards War - Parts 1 and 2:

    I've got the general concept of Pt 1 down, but I've only outlined 2 chapters. Not good since I'm planning on starting writing on Thursday. Got to get more outlining done!

    Myles Mathis - Mage Hunter:

    Finishing the 3rd draft of Repulsive early might give me time to write this in a couple of weeks. While I'm writing Pt 1, my main secondary priority will be to outline this novelette.

    Repulsive Origins:

    I got all my beta reader comments back and started the 4th draft of my first story. Big priority to get it finished and get another started!

    Gryphon:

    Still planning on starting to outline in early Oct and write the rough draft in Nov.

    Attractive:

    Haven't really thought about this one too much.
     
  9. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    I'm rethinking my strategy of releasing every month. Here's my thinking:

    1. The advantage of monthly releases is some kind of "momentum" that builds up. I've no idea how much that accounts for anything or how to quantify it.

    2. The only way I can release monthly is by publishing some stuff that aren't novels.

    3. I really think that novels in a series are the way to go. Lots of promotional options with series. For example: Publish the first book at 4.99 and don't do anything promotion wise until you get the second out. Promote 1st book at 2.99 for a short time when the 2nd book comes out. Raise it back to 4.99. Promote 1st book at .99 temporarily when the 3rd book comes out. Raise it back to 2.99. Promote 1st book at 0 when the 4th comes out. Raise back to .99. Eventually make the 1st book permafree.

    4. The people who follow such promotional schemes seem to have good results.

    5. If I publish monthly, it's going to add time that I could be using to write the sequels.

    6. So it seems to come down to: which gives me the better advantage - getting sequels out faster or publishing monthly. I think I'm starting to lean toward the former.

    Thoughts?

    Thanks.

    Brian
     
  10. PaulineMRoss

    PaulineMRoss Inkling

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    I don't have any advice here, Brian. Either way can work. The rapid-fire release keeps at least one of your books permanently in the hot new releases lists, for maximum visibility, but in the long run the series will be your bread and butter.

    One of the biggest advantages self-pubbers have is being light-footed - we can shift direction overnight. You've got Abuse of Power out there, you'll have Rise of the Mages out next month, then you'll have a point of comparison: which sells better? Which gets better reader response? At that point, you can make the decision on what to focus on next.

    Publishing is like jumping off a cliff - you just have no idea what you're going hit or how far down it is. It's a complete unknown. So don't try to second-guess yourself, just go with the flow for now. (I guess I did have some advice after all...:))
     
  11. Chessie

    Chessie Guest

    Brian, this is going to sound cliche because it is, but only you can answer that question according to your writing speed. If you believe that your time is better spent writing sequels, then do so. Are you able to work on multiple projects at once? If so, maybe you could follow the 80/20 rule and work a bit of the time on smaller stuff and most of the time on larger projects that will reap greater rewards.

    But, as Pauline wisely stated, the beauty of self-publishing is that you can switch gears at any time. Do what feels right according to your skill level, time availability, and writing speed. Personally, I wouldn't EVEN worry about marketing right now, just write.

    Good luck to you! (btw, your novella is super good!)
     
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  12. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    I think that the shorter works would only delay me for a month or two, but truthfully, I think a bigger issue is that I just don't feel the same sense of accomplishment in putting out a novella that I do with a novel.

    I've pretty much decided to jump right into writing Gryphon, followed by Attractive.

    The decision feels good to me.

    Yay! I'm so glad you're enjoying it! Truthfully, though, I think the novel is so much better.

    Thanks again!

    Brian
     
  13. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    Weekly update:

    Repulsive:

    With the beta readers (3 paid, 4 friends). I'll start work on the 4th draft on 9/21. I'm really looking forward to that. The story, I think, has good bones; it just needs a lot of TLC to get from where it is to a final draft.

    Everything except Gryphon:

    I'm officially cancelling work on all other projects. I have no desire to write a bunch of novellas and short stories. It was tough coming to this decision, but, now that I have, I'm at peace with it.

    Gryphon:

    Deep in outlining mode. Lots and lots of work to do if I'm going to publish by 3/1.
     
  14. Philip Overby

    Philip Overby Staff Article Team

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    I know your method is a lot different than mine, but I think we both have the same goals in mind: building up a library. That's tough to do in a short period of time and especially with longer works, but if you have the passion to do it, go for it. My approach has been slightly different, but since I'm writing fairly niche fantasy (dark comedy fantasy), I'm trying to do things outside the box a bit.

    My original plan was to release two shorts a month. That didn't pan out simply because my shorts ended up a lot longer than I wanted originally, but I felt they need to be that long in order to tell the complete story I wanted to tell.

    I've settled on releasing one short a month (with eventual bundles with bonus material) and periodic collections of shorter stories. I'm doing this in anticipation for my first novel I want to self-pub in 2016 sometime. While I realize novels are going to sell better than my shorts, I think I'm looking at the shorts as a way to gauge interest, get some people interested (which luckily I have in some capacity), and see which elements people seem to like. I've gotten a lot of comments on the characters, so I think that's my strong point. I definitely think using reviews to shift your approach can be useful.

    I have gotten some comments that they would love to see a novel. That's good to know. That means I'll probably focus more on getting novels out in the future instead of only spending time on shorts. For now, I like what I'm doing, and I think it'll be cool to see where it goes.

    Good luck with your approach. It's a lot of writing to do with a great deal of quality control, so I hope you can pull it off!
     
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  15. PaulineMRoss

    PaulineMRoss Inkling

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    That sounds like a sensible plan.
     
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  16. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    Weekly update time:

    Not much progress the last week. I got early feedback on Repulsive from a couple of sources, but I won't get all of it back before the end of the week. That leaves me kind of planning what I'm going to change without starting to make actual changes yet.

    I'm also going to not do sprints for the next set of drafts. Instead, I'm going to go back to my old method of chapter by chapter. I think that sprints are much better for the first portion than the last. We'll see how it works.

    Meanwhile, I'm still planning Gryphon. The goal is to be ready with almost a full outline by the time Repulsive is ready.
     
  17. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    Just starting the 4th draft, and I'm excited for what this book will become. Luckily, I found a couple of good beta readers who were able to point out some of the biggest deficiencies of the last draft. Biggest issue:

    The book has 3 main conflicts and a major subplot. I really focused too hard on two of the conflicts and let the third, and the subplot, kinda fall by the wayside. By strengthening those two elements, the overall story will be made a lot stronger.

    Off to write ...
     
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