It’s that time of the week when I answer your anonymous questions about writing and all that stuff connected to it. Every Thursday, I’ll be answering two questions from the Big Damn Writer Question Box.
Q: My weekly writing goal is 2,500 words. I just came across a romance author who stated in an interview that her weekly writing goal is 15-25K words. Aaand now, I’m curious. If a 50K-55K novel can be produced anywhere between two to four weeks, wouldn’t that mean that an author would be coming out with something like at least twelve books a year? Does anyone do this?
A: Here’s my answer, and it’s not going to be popular with some writers I know. But that’s just how it’s going to be. Yes, you can absolutely write a fifty thousand word novel in two weeks and yes, you can get twelve books out a year. All you really have to do is write five thousand words a day for ten days, and that’s not an impossible goal. But I don’t have a super high outlook with regards to the quality of such a book.
I know I’ve told this story before, but at a conference once, an author on a panel was asked how long it took her to write a book, from idea to publication. She said idea to publication, ten days. Ten. It takes her seven days to write it, a day to self-edit, and then a couple days to format it and set up sales channels, etc. She skips having someone else edit her work because it slows down the process, which makes her readers unhappy. They want as much new material as she can write, as fast as possible, and since they loved her books, there can’t be much wrong with them, right? It’s this story that made me absolutely skeptical of the quality of work authors with monthly or bi-monthly releases because the timeline doesn’t allow for another human being to put their eyeballs on their work. So, yes, technically this can be done. Whether or not it should be done is entirely subjective.
That said, there are some authors who’ll have twelve releases in a year, but it’s because they just acquired the rights to their backlist and they’re self-pubbing them, but that’s a whole different thing.
Q: Hi, Jenny. How do you deal with trouble writing the beginning of a story? I have a work I’m stuck on where I keep feeling the need to redraft the opening chapter. I do have a broad outline for the chapter, but whenever I try to write it, I can’t find a flow that feels right. Any tips?
A: Remove chapter one from your file. Save it somewhere else, separately, so you don’t see it when you open the document. Keep going forward. When you finished the whole story, go back to the beginning. Now that you know how everything else feels, you’ll be able to write the first chapter to the flow of the story, rather than trying to invent the flow of the story as you write the first chapter.
Bonus Question: Can you do a fantasy casting for the Boss series?
A: Indeed, I have done that in the past on my Tumblr. You’ll find the fantasy cast here.
Wanna see your questions get answered (or just wanna air a grievance?) Put it in the box!