Monday, May 30, 2016


During the February 2016 RWA/NYC Chapter Meeting, the topic of writing speed came up. This is something I focused on last year -- well, not writing speed so much as streamlining my process to increase output and finish what I start. After twelve years of doing NaNoWriMo, I could knock out a first draft in a few weeks, but then I was at a loss when it came to revising it. I had a feeling that learning more about pre- and post-production techniques would help me, but I wanted methods that would specifically help me *write even faster*, and with less stress and drama.

These are three of the books I read on the topic:

2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love by Rachel Aaron $0.99 Takeaway: Her revision process has saved me. No joke. I would not be preparing to query right now if I hadn't read her book in November. (And it's only 99 cents!)

Write Better, Faster: How To Triple Your Writing Speed and Write More Every Day by Monica Leonelle $2.99 Takeaway: This prompted me to buy DragonDictate, but more importantly, her description of writing "beats" for each scene has made writing the first draft go more quickly and smoothly. I also started using a detailed spreadsheet and writing journal based on her suggestions.

WRITING FASTER FTW <> by L.A. Witt, Lauren Gallagher $2.99 Takeaway: A good review of points made in the other two with lots of easily applied tips.

I follow Leonelle and Aaron on Twitter, and they both tweet about writing and reply to questions.

I also read a number of books about outlining last year, and smushed the methods together into something that works for me. The idea being that having a plan would help me write faster, waste less time, and allow me to see story problems before I ran into them during the writing. These two were the most helpful to me:

Take Off Your Pants!: Outline Your Books for Faster, Better Writing: Revised Edition <> by Libbie Hawker $3.82 Takeaway: This gave me completely different perspective on my approach to planning a novel. The idea of the "flaw" alone (and how it relates to other plot points) made reading the book worthwhile.

Rock Your Plot: A Simple System for Plotting Your Novel <> by Cathy Yardley $2.99 Takeaway: A clear, concise approach to outlining. Very quick read.

Michael Hague's workshop at RWA15 was also eye-opening. I took extensive notes and can easily send those to anyone who wants them.

Everyone has their own approach and there is no *one* way to write, plan, or edit. I was actively looking to change my process, because whatever I was doing before was NOT WORKING. So I read a bunch of quick, cheap ebooks to help me develop a method that works for me. I'm still refining it as I learn, but so far, the changes are working and I'm seeing results. Hopefully these will be of use to others, too. I'm always happy to share resources and discuss further.♥

Alexis Daria is a writer and an artist. She also tutors kids and teens on writing, and is one of the Municipal Liaisons for the NYC chapter of NaNoWriMo.  Visit her blog at or you can find her on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest at @alexisdaria.

1 comment:

  1. Alexis, I have some of those books which have been a help to me too. I would love you Hauge notes. I missed that workshop.