Thursday, February 23, 2012

Getting Ready for SpeedBo

Cara here. I’m going to do SpeedBo even though I’ll be away at the Silken Sands Conference for three days in March. There are always a lot of reasons or sometimes excuses to keep me from trying to write a book in a month. Sometimes I’m on a deadline doing revisions, sometimes the task seems too daunting. I know I can’t complete a book in a short period of time. I’m a slow writer, but after pushing myself hard to make deadlines, I’ve learned I’m not nearly as slow as I once thought.

I’m going to start even though I probably won’t come close to finishing an entire manuscript. And that’s all right. For once I’m not going to worry about finding just the right words. Plowing ahead toward the finish line is more important. SpeedBo is for me so I’m going to enjoy the process of writing without worrying about my word count, sentence structure etc. And I won’t care that my attempt is awful. And it will be awful. Revisions will clean up the mess later. No hand wringing allowed at this point.

Since I’m somewhere in between a plotter and a panster, I’ll do some preliminary digging before I start. That might not work for some writers and it might destroy the fun for others. Do whatever works best for you. Don’t let anyone tell you there’s only one way to do things—their way.

I’m not even sure my way works for me, so I keep on experimenting. A copy of every book ever written on writing rests on my bookshelves. I’ve probably read them all. Most were helpful. But our methods of writing are different for each of us.

I still run into a few problems: I can’t stick to an outline because as I go along I find new and better ideas. On the other hand, if I don’t have some sort of outline I get stuck in the muck, especially in the middle. It’s like a muddy bog I can’t seem to slog through. I lose energy, interest and enthusiasm. So I need some possible scenes to get me to move forward. If I can’t think up anything better, I’ll go with those. It’s preferable to sitting in front of a blank screen wondering when my temperamental muse is going to appear. Usually I change things around, but often I keep the basic idea.

Before I begin I need to know what the story is about, the plot points, a lot about the main characters, what are their goals, motivations and conflicts, and the lessons they have to learn. Then I’ll write out where they’re going and where they’ve been. What problems do they have? How can I make them worse, even unbearable? We can do to our make believe characters what we can’t do to anyone in real life! For some of us torturing our characters can be painful, but for others—not so much. The more we torment our people by throwing problems at them, the more our readers will read on. And that’s what we want: a wide audience turning pages past midnight.

Write as fast as you can and as much as you can. Don’t revise until you’re finished. That’s hard for many of us, but that’s how we’ll get a lot written in a month. So just press those keys!

Another hard part for me is to prepare for the routine jobs I do around my house regardless of SpeedBo. Grocery shopping, cooking, laundry, bill paying, cleaning etc. don’t stop just because I’m focused on something else. I’ll allocate some chores (as many as I can) and figure out how to minimize the time involved taking care of everything I can’t ignore. We’ll have more pizza than usual, more frozen, prepared foods. I’m not proud—I’ll ask for help shopping, cooking, and cleaning. It’ll be an imposition, but it’s only for a month. My family is considerate, but they won’t think to volunteer. So I’ll ask. Nicely. And I’ll thank them.

Take all unforeseen circumstances in stride. Things happen which you can’t avoid.

If you can, please join us for the SpeedBo challenge in March! It’ll be fun and hopefully, very worthwhile.

What are you planning to do to make this easier and more productive? I’d love to hear your suggestions.

If you’d like a chance to win a copy of Todd A. Stone’s NOVELIST’S BOOT CAMP 101 WAYS TO TAKE YOUR BOOK FROM BORING TO BESTSELLER then leave your e-mail address with your comment.


Helen Gray said...


You described me in so many ways. I'm between plotter and a panster. I create a rough outline. Then I fill in details as I go. A lot of things change along the way.

I don't write real fast, because I tend to cally over research and details.

I don't like set goals I have no chance of meeting, so have been reluctant to try this kind of writing. But if I'm allowed to fall short of the goal and not be in disgrace, I may try to finish my WIP.

Coffee pot's ready.


Helen Gray said...

Oh, I really need that book.

helengray @ boycomonline dot com

Jan Drexler said...

Hi Cara,

I've always thought I was a dyed in the wool plotter - but the more I write the more I find I'm in between. My style is a lot like yours - I start out with my outline and character sheets, but as the characters develop the best ideas begin to pop into my I add them into the outline.

I'm ready for Speedbo - I've been working on squeezing my writing time into the right few hours in my day, and the last couple weeks it's just been humming.

The most surprising thing I've tried is playing music while I write. I have Pandora radio playing a "Mozart" music station while I write, and as long as the music stays from that same period, it fades into the background and the writing rolls along.

I'd love to win the book - my shelf is filling up, too, but I can always learn more!

MaryC said...

Wow, Cara, a writing book I actually don't have on my shelf. I'd love to be in the drawing.

Looking forward to Speedbo.

Janet Kerr said...

Hello Cara,
Thanks for some of the tips on the fast draft.
Please enter me in the draw.


Melissa Jagears said...

Um, I'm certain I can write almost all if not all of my book in March IF I write from when the kids go to bed until my normal go to bed time. But I waste an hour or two on the internet reading blogs, snacking, etc. during that time and it's become a habit that it's almost like I have to do it before I can commence writing.

SO, I am confessing here, so that during Speedbo you can say, "Melissa how much time did you waste before starting?"

SHAME ME, People. That's the key to my success.

Get on the computer and write or go to bed, that's my two options for March!!

Vince said...

Hi Cara:

In order to get ready for Speedbo, how about writing a pseudo story first? (Before March first.)

This would be analogous to pseudo computer code. In the old days, a computer programmer would first write pseudo code for a program and when it looked right, he’d write the actual code.

Something like this:

First write the code for the interface. I want these features displayed on each screen: (x, y and z). Then write code for the opening menu which will offer these selections: (a, b and c). Next write the code for doing what menu "a" calls for. Etc.

For novel writing, pseudo coding would be more like panster-plotting.

That is: the writer would panster her way through the story by writing a story about what she is going to write about.

For example, pantser your way throught the whole story marking down what you are going to be writing about at each point. Visualize the story as you create it. You would still be creating the story as you went along -- only you would not be fleshing it out.

I think this might work for writers who do not like to plot. It’s not a plot. It’s a very sketchy story…but it is a full story.

I’m going to try to do this for my nonfiction book.

Does anyone think this could work for them?


P.S. It seems to me that Speedbo would make a great acronym. Any ideas?

Story idea
Pseudo story

vmres (at) swbell (dot) net

Virginia said...

Ugh. And those unforeseen circumstances will get you every time.

Just back from a 5 hour visit in the ER. I suppose with 6 children, someone had to break something, sometime. And I'm so grateful for X-rays and a short drive to the hospital and anesthesia and orthopedic surgeons and insurance and drugs to take home... And mostly for the fact that a ten year old girl can still get a lot of happiness from a chocolate milk shake and a giant stuffed rabbit.

But it was her sketching hand. Our little artist doesn't let a day go by without drawing for at least an hour. So, prayers would be appreciated for the long recovery ahead.

But no writing tonight. My brain is fried. Maybe I can turn it all into some great scene in my next book. :P And parents everywhere will shudder in recognition...

Cindy W. said...

Well, I'm still working on committing to SpeedBo and part of that commitment is scoping out a place in my house to dedicate to my writing only. We have a small house so to find somewhere that I won't be bothered may be difficult. Maybe I need to get some "CRIME" tape that says DO NOT ENTER.

I would love to be entered to win a copy of Todd A. Stone’s NOVELIST’S BOOT CAMP 101 WAYS TO TAKE YOUR BOOK FROM BORING TO BESTSELLER. Thank you for the chance.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Oh, there is no disgrace in Speedbo...

Except for WALT'S....


Helen, it's kind of like 1K1HR on steroids... Just a thing to help us get more words on paper. So I might sound TOUGH, but if you get 4 chapters done, sweet thing, well that's FOUR CHAPTERS!!!!! And reason enough to celebrate.

I like that I'm just about to launch into a new proposal for LI... This will push me along!

Virginia: I empathize! Poor sweet artist girl! You give her hugs for me!

I left my poor Seth home once with a broken wrist. I figured since he could move his fingers, it was just a bad sprain...

Nope. He called me home from work and sure enough, it was a broken Novicular. Silly little bone! Hardly necessary, in my opinion. :)

Vince, that's a great visual! I love how you 'see' things others don't!

Story Idea
Pseudo Story
Extra Effort

Cindy, remember Pele, the great soccer player? A poor kid, destitute, he learned to play soccer with a sock ball. A ball of socks tied together, and knotted...

And it might not be so much your spot as your timing. I can't write while I'm working with kids during the day...

But before they come...

And after they leave....

I can forget housework because there's a week in April BEFORE Easter.

I'll clean that week, LOL!

Cara Lynn James said...

Good morning, Helen, and thanks for bringing the coffee. I'm drinking my first cup now.

If I write more words during SpeedBo than I would've without it, then I consider it a success. I set the goals and I decide if I succeed or fail.

A lot of Seekers write fast--and I'm a little, maybe a lot envious--but I have to accept I'm not. I write faster when I absolutely have to even though it's not my natural pace.

Cara Lynn James said...

Jan, I've never tried writing with music in the background. I think I need complete silence, but maybe I'm wrong.

I do preliminary work so I can get the characters, setting, plot etc. into my head so I don't have too many surprises as I go along. Some are wonderful, but too many make my final story really inconsistent.

Cara Lynn James said...

Hi, Janet! I hope you'll join us for SpeedBo!

Mary, LOL. My grown kids laugh at me for having so many writing books. But I find them useful.

Melissa, I'm a huge time waster, too. The internet consumes much too much time for everyone. It's an addiction.

Pamela S Thibodeaux said...

SpeedBo sounds fun, challenging...tempting. Definitely worth considering - but am I up for the challenge?

We'll see!


Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Cara mia, I'm sooooo happy you wrote this post because honestly I'll be happy to write at all let alone a whole novel. But who knows. It has happened before. It could happen again. But you made me feel good about the fact that if I write more than usual that is a blessing and an accomplishment worth striving for.

Vince. You're the man. Okay, I'm in with you and Ruthy.

Story Idea
Pseudo story
Extra Effort.
Editing not allowed

Kav said...

LOL -- is it just me or does anyone else read speedo instead of speedBo every time? I keep picturing us all wearing swimsuits as we sit down to write which would be down right cold up here!

I'm starting to make meals ahead. Like big pots of soup and then I'm freezing individual portions and cookies (or dough) and freezing them...though those keep disappearing before they reach the freezer. I'll have to talk to my dog about that. He's the only other one in the house. :-) I have to work through most of the challenge so I need all the time-saving strategies I can think up.

Oh and to continue on with Vince's acronym -- the E's

Everybody's hero
Ecstatic Participant
Excited Writer
or..gasp...the dreaded Edit (not)

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Kav, what a great idea!!!

Gonna go make a list of something other than tuna now...

Bear Creek soups make great meals.

Cara Lynn James said...

Vince, I think a pseudo story is a great idea if you have time for it. Is it like a very loose first draft? Your pseudo code is way over my head!

Virginia, I can also be happy from a milk shake and a stuffed rabbit! Prayers that she'll recover quickly. I remember spending many hours in the emergency room with my kids.

Emily said...

I could really use that book. I've been trying to write this book since last November for Nanowrimo!

Audra Harders said...

Cara, you are so right! Press those keyes and don't worry about the state of your words!

We're looking for quantity here.

Stream of consciousness writing.

You never know what your inner author will put on a page when allowed the freedom!

Cara Lynn James said...

Cindy, I also have trouble with interruptions. My husband is retired and at home, my grandson comes home from Kindergarten at noon, my daughter from school at 1:30. My son works out of our house, but he works hard and I rarely see him.

I'll stay in my bedroom and wear earphones, if necessary.

I hope you decide to do SpeedBo, Pam. You have nothing to lose.

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Okay, Okay...I will do SPEEDBO.

Oh My Goodness....did I say that out loud?


I better do a better outline if I'm going to whiz through the month. :)

Maybe I need a copy of that book too!!!


KC Frantzen and May the K9 Spy said...

This is SO GREAT!!! Sign us up!!!

May and I (and Lois with Joshua's Pet Treat Bakery) just got back from Charleston, SC and

We've been BUSY - but it's all good!

Jan Drexler said...

Okay, Vince, I'll add to the acronym -

Story Idea
Pseudo story
Extra Effort.
Editing not allowed
Daily word counts

Connie Queen said...

I may try to set a minimum daily goal, but one that I know I can meet even on my busiest day. Something like 500 words. That way even if the day has be stripped up because of some unforeseen issue, and I can still meet my minimum goal before going to bed.

It's a mind game. I'd rather suceed w/a small victory than to fail w/a big goal.
My overall goal is still to complete the rough draft of my wip. Period.

Sharon said...

Hi, Cara! I’m a slow writer, too. Churning a thousand words in one day is good for me, whereas that’s the norm, or even a “bad” days for a lot of writers.

I’m not even sure my way works for me, so I keep on experimenting.

I love this! I agree. I find different things work for me at different times, with different stories.

I’m in for SpeedBo. I don’t expect to completely finish my story, though that would be nice, but I would like to make some major headway. A lofty goal of 30,000 words. That IS pretty lofty, though, with a full time job and my general “slowness”, but here’s to the ride!

What are you planning to do to make this easier and more productive?

I don’t know here. I know people on deadlines change their lives around to make word count happen, but I’m not exactly how drastic I need to go, or rather, can go. I’ll just write as I can, and make myself write some everyday. That’ll be something in itself.

But not revising as I go--- that’ll be painful!

Enter me in the drawing please. : )



Connie Queen said...'re not the only one. SpeedDo. Um,me writing in a swimsuit? Happy thoughts....happy thoughts...

Glynna Kaye said...

Good morning Seekerville! I'm not a full-fledged panster OR plotster but I AM a PLANster.

If I'm going to write fast, I need to know when I sit down to write on a given day what what happens next or I sit there and stare at the monitor or spend my time off on tangents writing stuff that doesn't really fit the story and has to be tossed out. Because I don't have a lot of time each day to write, I can't afford to toss out half a book when I'm under a contract deadline.

As a Love Inspired author, I sell on proposal--a synopsis and the first 3 chapters. That high-level synopsis serves as a map, but leaves me LOTS of room to have fun with my scenes and characters.

I'm a morning writer, but if I take 15-20 minutes in the evening to freestyle write, ask story questions, etc., I can usually get a spark of dialogue or a new angle on a scene to launch me into the next day's writing.

VINCE -- What's the difference between a "pseudo story" and a synopsis??

Cindy Regnier said...

Oh - that book is something I really need...

Melanie Dickerson said...

Hi, Cara! I have also learned that I can write fast when I make myself! A couple of books ago, I forced myself to write without editing, without constantly mulling over what I had just written, and I found I could write a book pretty fast! And it wasn't really that terrible when I finished. In fact, I think one cursory edit was enough to bring it up to the standard I was used to turning out in a first draft, and I had done it in much less time. So I'm now sold on this way of writing.

Have fun at Silken Sands! I sent a few books to Jamie, so I hope they get into the hands of people who will enjoy them! :-)

Looking forward to Speedbo! (And I still think we should do it once a quarter!)

Melanie Dickerson said...

Oh, Virginia! Sorry for the ER visit! Praying your precious daughter's hand heals well and quickly!

Cara Lynn James said...

Ruthy, I bet you'll be finished with your new book by the end of March!!! What do you think?

Hi, Sandra! I know you don't have much time, but if you can try SpeedBo I imagine you'll finish more than you think you will.

Kav, I think I'll opt out of any speedo picture. Actually, I know I will. Love your idea about the soup. I made sausage and kale soup a few days ago and I'll make some more so I won't starve in March--not that there's really any chance of that.

Julie Lessman said...

CARA SAID: "Don’t revise until you’re finished."

Groooooooooaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnnnn!!!!!! Nooooo, do I have to??? I am a chronic reviser, sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph, scene by scene, and I KNOW that slows me down, so SPEEDHALFBO will be good for me, I know, but OH, SO HARD!!!!

Fortunately for me, I am 1/4 into a ms. that I hope to finish by May, so SPEEDBO could NOT have come at a better time for me!! Here's hopin' I can do it ... Now if I just had some Robin Carroll or Mary Connealy or Ruthy blood in my veins, I just might be golden ...


Pam Hillman said...

Vince, your pseudo code sounds a lot like the flow charts we used to do in computer programming.

Okay, it's been YEARS ago, so I don't remember the correct shapes, but you used squares, rectangles, triangles, etc. to map out what you needed to happen in the program.

Each shape is assigned a particular action, so at a glance you (or your co-workers) could tell what action you wanted to happen next.

For examples, just go to google images and type in programming flowchart examples. You can also see a list of the symbols used.

Donna said...

We need to work Chocolate in here somehow!

Story Idea
Pseudo story
Extra Effort.
Editing not allowed
Daily word counts

Linnette R Mullin said...

Morning, Cara Lynn! You and I sound a lot alike. How am I going to prepare? Hmm... I have a project I need to finish before SpeedBo starts, so I need to get at it. I think I'll reread what I've written so far in my WIP and jot down some notes on things I need to keep in mind. This is a difficult book for me to write, but a story that must be told. Maybe this will help me plow through and get somewhere beyond the 20K I'm stuck at.

I'll be guest blogging here one day, so I won't get anything done that day, but that's okay. It's at the beginning of the month, so it shouldn't interrupt my flow too badly. I also have my hubby's birthday and my writer's network monthly meeting, so there's a couple more days. I take weekends off for my family, but that's just something I choose to do as a writer. I home-school my kindergartner, so that will be some time out of each day. Regardless of everything, I will get in my writing time. I will write, write, write! :D

lr dot mullin at live dot com

Myra Johnson said...

Here you go, Donna.

Story Idea
Pseudo story
Extra Effort.
Editing not allowed
Daily word counts
Binge chocolate eating

Jan Drexler said...

Oh Myra, of course!

BINGE chocolate eating! :D

Donna said...

Binge chocolate eating :)

Good one, Myra!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Sherrinda, have I mentioned how much I love that pic? Your smile???


And young.

Darn you.

Linnette R Mullin said...

I've been advertising, trying to get some of my friends to do SpeedBo! :D

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Donna, I thought of that too, but didn't see an easy way....

Dark chocolate???

Naw, we don't want to insult the milk chocolate lovers.

Old chocolate.


I keep seeing "Speedo" too, but we'll retrain our creative brains into locking on the BOOK part of "Bo"...

Mr. Bojangles.

Beau Duke

Surely there had to be a "Beau" in GWTW, wasn't there Julie????

What Southern book doesn't have a Beau? If I focus on a total hottie hero, I'll get beyond the swimsuit issue...

No Sports Illustrated joke intended, of course. ;)

Joanne Sher said...

Story Idea
Pseudo story
Extra Effort.
Editing not allowed
Daily word counts
Binge chocolate eating
Only a month - you can do it!

(though I'm NOT - I'm taking Margie Lawson's EDITS class in March, and that in and of itself will take as much time as writing a novel in a month LOL Forgive me??)

PLEASE enter me for the book.

Janet Dean said...

Thanks, Cara, for the tips to prepare for SpeedBo. And for sharing your method. I love that you said you're not sure your method works for you so you keep experimenting. I certainly relate!

Helen, never fear disgrace in Seekerville! We're here to encourage and lend a hand, not disgrace anyone. Well, except for those begging for it like Melissa J. LOL I'm sure Ruthy will get the job done, Melissa, if you ask her.

Oh, Virginia, I'm sorry about your daughter's break! I remember our 9-year-old daughter's broken wrist like it was yesterday. No fun for anyone. Hugs.

Vince, I love your suggestion! I'll try to write a rough sketch of my story and see if that helps make me more productive in March. Thanks!


Digging for Pearls said...

Sounds like you are in for a ride Cara. Please enter me for the drawing. I still haven't decided whether or not I'll attempt SpeedBo, since I have a lot of obligations in March.

Jodie Wolfe

Leanna Ellis said...

Cara, I'm the same way. I am between a pantser and a plotter. I know enough to get to me to take a leap of faith but not enough to hold me back and keep me from attempting each novel. I'm writing my 20th published novel right now. Needing a kick in the pants, so to speak, as life has been interrupting my writing lately, so I think I'll join in on the speedbo. I'm going to try to interrupt life with my writing. ;) Thanks for the encouraging post!

Blessings, Leanna

leanna (at) leannaellis (dot) com

Myra Johnson said...

Life interrupting our writing--oh, boy, is that accurate, Leanna!

My interruptions lately have come in the form of adorable grandkids. #4 grandson is here right now, home from school with a sick headache while his mom takes baby sister in for a doctor's appointment.

Except he doesn't look all that sick right now. He's feeding trail mix to my dogs and playing on my iPhone while I read galleys of my next book. At least I'm accomplishing something!

Linnette R Mullin said...

Okay. I know women are supposed to love chocolate. But. I don't. Not that much. I love milk chocolate. Hot chocolate. Chocolate milk. Chocolate with caramel. ... But if I were to binge, I'd be hanging over a commode!

Having said that, I'm very good about sharing my chocolate. ;-)

Mary Connealy said...

Speedbo is an acronym now?
Can't it just be

Mary Connealy said...


Vince said...

About the Pseudo Story

I left out a key point about pseudo story. (I do that often late at night).

After writing the pseudo story, you don’t look at it again unless you need to refresh your memory. It’s not a plot. It’s just a fast walkthrough your book idea. It’s a little like having written a first draft and then losing it. (I actually did this the last NaNo.)

This makes your first draft, when you write it, more like a second draft but it does not lock you into anything. In fact, with a pseudo story in place, a pantser knows how a change from the plan will effect later story development. (If I kill off Alex in chapter 3, then Alex can’t marry Mary in the middle of the book and that hurts a very good subplot and may cause a sagging middle).

I think a pseudo story allows a pantser to have her cake and eat it too. The best of both worlds.

QUESTION: Is a pseudo story like a synopsis?

It is nothing like a synopsis. A synopsis is a very short summary of the most essential elements of a story. A pseudo story is a very sketchy version of the whole story.

Part of a pseudo story:

At this point I am going to have a really hot love scene that truly advances the story and shows how the characters have grown. It will also increase the tension because now the hero and heroine have more to lose. The scene is going to end the chapter with a terrible fight – almost black moment worthy. The fight is going to be about a social issue and it will make them regret making love. This leads to very high voltage tension when they have to work together.

QUESTION: will writing a pseudo story take a long time?

How well do you know your story? How fast can you create your story? I would expect that a walkthrough pseudo story would take at least a week.

I actually did a version of the pseudo story, before I thought of the name ‘pseudo story’, when I was at Missy’s condo project in Orange Beach and it took about 5 days and ran 92 pages. I wrote the first draft of that romance during NaNo – without looking at the 92 pages for ideas. (I knew what was in there. I could 'see' the whole story in a single glance.) However, I did have to take the wording of a song I wrote for the story. The words had to be exact as it was a poem.

QUESTION: Is pseudo code like the computer flow charts with the diagram figures?

Not really. Those flowcharts are very similar to a detailed plot in writing. I think the pseudo code came well before the flowchart. Also pseudo code was very readable by non computer people who would be the end users and salesmen of the program once written.

I hope this helps. I’m mostly thinking ‘out loud’ but if it helps anyone else, I’ll be very happy.


Jan Drexler said...

Love it, Mary!

Mary Connealy said...

I also don't think I can write with no editing.
So there will be editing.
But the speed remains. The extra effort.
You know many times, I'll catch myself finishing a scene and turning away from the book, done for the day. But if I'm AWARE, I start the next scene, I push on.
It's just a reflex at this point to write about one scene per day but why not three scenes? Why not stay in that chair?

Vince said...

Hi Mary!

A Motivational Slogan!



(I might suggest changing ‘Opus’ to ‘Opportunities’ – a word having a greater inspirational oomph. IMHO.)


Mary Connealy said...

Also, though I'm pretty seat of the pants, at the bottom of the manuscript, I'll sometimes write out what could be called a Scene Progression Chart.

Although what it really is, is single sentences with things I need to accomplish.
These sentences usually amount to a scene, sometimes more, occasionally less.

Mary Connealy said...


Opportunities (Occasions? Onors (its honors with out the silent letter!)


Mary Connealy said...

I've always thought Opus is a strange word. It sounds like a kid on the Andy Griffith Show

Stephanie Queen Ludwig said...

I like that we're talking about all this BEFORE March, so we have a chance to plan. As a huge planner for EVERYTHING, I find I can't succeed well WITHOUT a plan.

I've already started plotting out my story (actually, I've been doing that for about a year, just bits and pieces here and there) and doing some research on the historical aspect of it. I may have to sacrifice some family time to find the time to write, but luckily, hubby is a writer, too, and understands!

Tina Radcliffe said...

This bootcamp book looks intriguing, Cara. Where did you uncover it??

Cara Lynn James said...

Our electricity and internet have been off for over three hours! But at least the weather is comfortable. I remember when the electricity went off in Vermont during the winter... Brrrrrr. You could freeze to death.

Ruthy, I think we all ought to skip the cleaning since it's not really necessary and it won't stay done.

Emily, just keep going. Finishing quickly isn't as important as just plain finishing.

Audra, worry about revisions later.

Myra Johnson said...

All right, what happened to my chocolate binge???

Jan Drexler said...

I'm still going with the chocolate, Myra.

Even though I really like Mary's new acronym.

PatriciaW said...

I definitely stray from my outline. I believe the ideas are better, but at the same time, going off outline causes the writing to slow down.


Virginia said...

Thank you, everybody, I'll pass on your good wishes. It was our first broken bone in the family so it was sort of traumatic. But then a box of books arrived today that we'd ordered, and that was another bonus. God is good!

Just when I was coming up with a decent 'O', Mary goes and comes up with a whole PHRASE at one whack! (Oh, and that story about your agent rejecting you made me laugh about 30 times yesterday. Every time I thought about it or told someone about it, I laughed all over again.)

Sherrinda, I noticed your picure, too! So happy, love it!

SpeedDo? *snort* Mercy, mercy me.

Melissa, I'm right with you, sadly enough. I can spend 40 minutes on facebook doing NOTHING but 'liking' funny pictures. Ugh. So, I'll ask you and you can ask me, and our mutual shame might spur us on to get straight to the writing!

Oh, I just saw we're not cleaning, either! Excellent! :D This place just gets better and better...

Chris Loehmer Kincaid said...

I definitely need help getting back to my novel. All the other things to write seem to get in the way. Though I will be out of town on vacation the middle of the month - and have promised I wouldn't take my laptop - I am still willing to accept the Speedbo challenge.
Plese include me in the drawing.

Cara Lynn James said...

Yay, KC and Sherrinda, I'm glad you're signing up for SpeedBo!!!

Whitney and Connie, 1,000 words, even 500 words per day really add up. I think consistency is the key to word count. I'm not as consistent as I should be unless I'm on deadline, but I'm going to try hard in March. I can do anything for a month.

Cara Lynn James said...

Glynna, I love PLANster! I also have to know where my scene is going or I'll just sit and stare at the screen or go down a rabbit trail. Not very productive. You have a lot less time than I have to indulge in wandering scenes, but I don't like to waste time either.

Cara Lynn James said...

Melanie, thanks for sending the books to Jamie for Silken Sands. We really appreciate it. Wish you could come.

Once I get into the middle of a book I'm writing I can go faster and do fewer revisions. It's probably because I know my characters better.

Jamie Adams said...

After reading this I wish March would hurry up and get here. I'm ready to get started!

It's over 80 degrees in February in the Ozarks. Amazing.

Please enter me in the drawing
adamsfammys @ yahoo dot com

Tina Pinson said...

Speedbo, smeedbo, now It's going to be stuck in my head and I won't be able to think about a story.

Thanks Mare.


If I set a hundred words as my daily max... I'll be ecstatic when I write two hundred right???

Janet Dean said...

Cindy W, can just see you huddled at your keyboard protected from interruption by crime scene tape. :-) Whatever it takes to give yourself some space.

I'm having company for a couple of days in March and have some commitments but I'm game to give this a try. May end up with SpeedBo hives, a reaction to not editing. Soothed with chocolate of course.


Myra Johnson said...

Actually, I feel like I've been doing SPEEDBO since October, when I found out I was getting two Heartsong contracts I hadn't expected. I'm closing in rapidly on "the end" of the second book. And galley proofs of the first book arrived a couple of days ago!

CatMom said...

Thanks Cara! Your post today gives me even more encouragement and motivation. ~ One thing I plan on doing is getting up even earlier each morning--I honestly think that if I get an earlier jump on my day, it will pay off. Of course my kitties are SO used to my "regular routine" but I'm sure they'll adapt to SPEEDBO! *grin*
Blessings, Patti Jo

CatMom said...

p.s. Cara, where is the Silken Sands Conference held? I LOVE that name! (forgive me if this has already been answered and I've missed it!). ~ Hugs, Patti Jo :)

Lyndee said...

Hi Cara,
Thanks for your POV. I'm a slow writer also, and that's something I am working on thanks to the FB1k1hr. Baby steps. LOL. I appreciate your tips.

Jan- I'm on Pandora too. For me, it really helps set the mood. I've found that I can write as long as the music is 'wordless.' Otherwise, I start singing lyrics and that's very distracting.

Anyone else use Pandora?

Virginia, praying for your 'little artist.'

Would love to add the book to my collection. Never can tell when an in inspriational golden nugget might be hiding. spooler(at)comcast(dot)net

Lyndee said...

Sorry for the errors in my last post. Not using my usual keyboard and this one is driving me crazy. Will have a new one in time for Speedbo!

Cara Lynn James said...

Yes, Jullie, you can revise, but not until April. Think of your high word count!

Pam, I really don't know what you're talking about.

Donna, we'll all need some chocolate for SpeedBo. I like Dove dark chocolate. I'd like one now, in fact.

Myra, binge chocolate eating is the best part!

Linnette, why don't you skip over the part where you're stuck and come back later when you figure it out? Just write a note to yourself in red and then forget about it for now. At least that's what I do.

Debby Giusti said...


Healing prayers for your daughter. Try to relax, Mom. She's home, but no doubt, a rough day for both of you!

Debby Giusti said...

Cindy W,

Love your crime scene tape idea. Perfect for a suspense author! :)

Debby Giusti said... electricity?

Storms? Tornadoes?

Anything coming north to GA? This warm weather has me wondering if we'll have storms tonight when the warm front hits cold air from the north.

Moving on to chocolate and SpeedBo! I'll be finishing a book and needing to revise. Don't know how I'll produce pages and edit at the same time. Maybe I'll be able to handle everything in a more timely manner, which would be a win-win for me!

Sharon said...

JULIE, I am a reviser through and through, too. I think it helps me wrap my head and feelings around the story if I can fill out the scenes as I go. Otherwise, I feel like I’m writing with only one eye open—not getting the full view, you know?

I’m about ¼ way through my WIP, too, and finishing by May would be awesome. ; )


Mary Connealy said...

Setting a goal of even 100 words a day accomplishes alot


It's opening that document that's hard.

It's the first sentence that's hard.

That's why setting a very simple goal feels safe and will get your backside into the chair, get the document opened in front of you..."I'm just going to write 100 words." or "I'm just going to write one page" or I'm just going to write 300 words" that gets you started and getting started is the hard part.

set an easy goal. Never write less but don't be surprised if you write a lot more. And you'll be surprised how quickly it adds up to a book.

Cara Lynn James said...

Joanne, I'm sure you'll learn a lot from Margie Lawson.

Hi, Jodie! I hope you can do SpeedBo.

I'm glad you're going to do this, Leanna! It's okay if you let writing interrupt your life for a while. It's always easy to go back to your real life!

Cara Lynn James said...

Mary, you're amazingly prolific, so since you write so much more than I do every day, you have my permission to revise. Aren't you grateful??? Not revising is especially important if it slows down your word count. That's not the case for you! For me it's a different story.

Patti Jo, Silken Sands is being held on Pensacola Beach, Florida in the middle of March. It's always fun and of course the beach is fantastic.

Julie Hilton Steele said...

I am with Helen. If I can be met with grace rather than disgrace, I might be able to give it a go.

I am a panster but I am also an obsessive detailer. So we shall see...

Would love the book.

Virginia, hope the artist is hanging in there. Along with her mom!

Peace, Julie

Julie Hilton Steele said...

Oh, for me, I think the month ahead means no Pinterest and using up all the beans I have stocked up in the pantry. It helps the hubby is going to be working late a lot too!

Peace yet again, Julie

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Oh goodness, yall are making me blush. While I AM a happy person and love to laugh, I am NOT young! I am old enough to have on oldest child married (he's 25) and a 4th child about to start driving. spring chicken here.

And Julie S., while I love your ideas of beans for the month of March, I don't know that I can do without Pinterest!!! Sigh...that's where I've been finding delicious Weight Watcher recipes that are helping me drop some pounds. (14.4 lbs and counting!)

Maybe I should put a limit on the Pinterest...maybe 15 minutes tops? Pretty please?

Mary Connealy said...


MaryC said...

Mary, because

Melanie Dickerson said...

Got a review today that said, "There wasn't a single redeeming quality that I could find. To be concise, this book is stereotypical and weakly written." And then she went on and on and on (not concise at all) about all the things she hated about my book. Who says published authors don't get rejections?


But I didn't read it! Only bits and pieces. But ... Yikes. It was THAT BAD. Mary, even you would have been impressed! LOL!!!!!!!!!!!

Cara Lynn James said...

Melanie, I feel for you. I've gotten those kinds of nasty reviews too. I confess I read them, but then forget them. The person must be having a bad day. It's not my book!!!!!!!!! It's them.

Debbie, someone's car hit some electrical things and knocked out the power. But hopefully it's all fixed.

Tina, the Novelist's Boot Camp is a Writer's Digest Book.

Natalie Monk said...

So excited about the Speedbo Cara! Freezer Crock-Pot Meals--that's how I plan to prepare. :)

I'm a little over halfway through my story, but last week I realized something about the characters that takes the story in a different direction and I'm not sure where it's leading. All I have to go on are a couple scenes at a time that I know need to be written. I REALLY plotted with this story and stuck to the plan until now. I feel sort of like the fisherman who was jerked into the water by what he thought he'd just "caught". :)

Ruthy! I don't mean to beat Julie to the punch about your "Beau" question, but I couldn't leave you hanging. In GWTW, Beau Wilkes is Ashley and Melanie Wilkes' son--the one she almost died birthing. And Bo Duke??? *sigh* Oh yes. ;)

Linnette R Mullin said...

Cara, I might do that. I'll know once I read back through what I have. I set it aside for a while because I had one sick person after another and have been working on preparing my other ms for Genesis. I'm hoping Speedbo will be just the medicine I need. :D

Annie Rains said...

I've never even heard of Speedbo. It sounds interesting. I've always wanted to do book in a month, but haven't yet. Maybe I'll try this instead.

Thanks for your post!

Cara Lynn James said...

Thanks for stopping by today! I hope to see you doing SpeedBo in March and feeling satisfied about participating in April.

Stephanie Rae Pazicni said...

Must opt out of Speedbo because I'm going to crawl out of the writing cave for an entire week in March. Imagine! I'm developing a hump from typing so much, but I keep patting it because I'm churning out massive amounts of words daily. *pat pat pat*
I could use boot camp though. Or a boot. I have trouble with that don't edit part (does that apply to going back the next day and hacking out everything you wrote yesterday?)

Virginia? So sorry about your artist's broken hand! :( Here's to fast healing, and a cast in cool colors and awesome artwork drawn on that cast AND learning to draw with the other hand too.

AND here's to giving up Facebook for Lent - except for when you post a new blog - or when you MUST check your messages there - I'm only human you know.

Margay said...

I love challenging myself to output more words per day, so I can't wait for this!


Missy Tippens said...

I"m sorry I missed the fun yesterday! I loved the acronyms. LOL!

Cara, sorry about your power being out! I'm afraid we're going to get some of your weather today.

Jodi Janz said...

Thanks Cara for drawing my attention to this. I haven't heard of Speedbo. I'm assuming it is much like Nano. I will research it.
I am like Vince. I do a story run through from start to finish in my head before I even start to write. It works like a DVD in my head really. I see setting, clothing, facial expressions, characters interactions, dialogue - the whole thing. I would be lost without it, I think.
I agree that it also makes the first draft really more of a second. I am a pantser in the literal sense of not outlining - on paper at least. Yet I have never had to do a complete rewrite because my first draft doesn't have holes and loose ends. (Just a lot of writing oopses.)

Thanks for the post. I would love to be entered in the draw for the book. Sounds intriguing and helpful!



Patty Wysong said...

The timing of Speedbo is just right. Maybe I'll do better in March than I am in February. =]

patty {at}

Nancy C said...

Yippy! This could not come at a better time for me ... well, for my WIP. I can't promise not to edit ... well, I could but I'd break the promise. Re-reading at least part of what I wrote the day before helps me return to the 'feel' of the story.

What a lovely reason to let the dirty laundry go untended ... and ignore the dust on the piano!


Amanda M said...

Hi everybody! First off, I'd like to be entered for the book!
Second and third:
I have not heard of SpeedBo before, though I have heard of similar write-in-a-month things. I am not a writer - I'm a musician and nanny - but I think I'll try something. I know I won't finish a story, but it'll be interesting to see what I can do.
And Mary, I love the acronym!

BBTaylor said...

I'm going to try. This is a good opportunity to get my novel finished.

Amanda M said...

Whoops - forgot to put my email address with my comment!
Here it is: admurphy[dot]musician[at]gmail[dot]com