Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Writing Tips for Writing Fast!

Debby Giusti and her AlphaSmart
Debby Giusti here! Congratulations on passing the SpeedBo halfway mark. Your reported word count has been amazing so I doubt most of you need to read this blog—although, you might pick up a tip or two that will speed your story to completion even more quickly.

Pooling resources is a win-win, so I asked the Seekers and some other author friends to share ways they increase productivity.

True confession! At the beginning of this year, I tried to give up my AlphaSmart and instead focused on writing picture perfect pages in the first draft. Regrettably, my productivity decreased and my frustration increased. For me, using an AlphaSmart keeps me moving forward. Each of the eight files holds about 25 pages of text when downloaded to my computer and formatted into Courier New, 12 font, double-spaced pages, with one inch margins.

My 55,000-word Love Inspired Suspense manuscripts run about 300 pages, or 12 AlphaSmart files. I start slow and then gather steam as I work through the story. By the last third of the manuscript, I often fill a file in a day. At that point, I’m pushing hard to get to THE END.

The only drawback is that the AlphaSmart doesn’t have a page or word counter so I have to estimate how much more I need to write to fill the file. After all this time, I often get a sense of when the end is near. Then I write as fast as I can until the FILE FILLED message pops onto the screen. 

If I feel stalled at some point, I reach for my kitchen timer and set it for 30 minutes. Then I write non-stop until the timer dings. After a quick break, I keep writing. Some days, I’ll set the timer for 30 minutes and then another 30 and another because hearing the ticking clock pumps up the adrenaline and increases my writing speed.
My old kitchen timer helps my productivity.
Typically, I alternate hero and heroine point of views. By the midpoint of the manuscript, I drop chapter headers and just use scene breaks (* * * ) to speed my pace. Later, I’ll go back and add the chapters.

Naming characters takes time. I work to ensure my characters’ names never start with the same letter of the alphabet. In the past, my editor has requested name changes in the revision stage. Now, I use a document with the alphabet typed down the left-hand side of the page. I fill in the characters’ names, both first and last—but only one name to a letter--to ensure I don’t have duplicates. Choosing names, before I begin to write the story, saves time and keeps me from making changes later.
What type of vehicle shall my hero drive?
I also decide on the type of cars--make and model--my characters drive and what type of weapon my CID special agents carry before I begin to write.

When I’m writing fast, I sometimes forget the name of a minor, secondary character. Instead of stopping to look up the name, I add an identifying noun in caps, such as COP, or NURSE, so I don’t have to stop typing.

Janet Dean offers the following advice: I waste less time if I make sure before I write a scene that the point of view character has a goal that is working toward the book-length goal. Sometimes I even type his goal at the top of the page to remind myself--a good way to jump start my writing the next day. When my characters have concrete goals they're working toward, I won't end up with a pointless tea scene that must either be deleted or rewritten. Once I've written the scene and know if the point of view character did or didn't get his/her goal, then that helps me know what she or he will decide to do next. What his next goal will be. This technique gives me a framework of sorts to hang the story on. 
Janet Dean makes note of her character's goal in each scene.
Janet adds: I have learned the hard way that when my story has a ticking clock/deadline that my h/h must meet, I need to keep track of the timeline. When I don't, I've had to go back and rewrite for accuracy so my story fits the deadline. Not fun and time consuming.

Missy Tippens shared this insight: When I write fast, my southern tendencies really come out. I'm very wordy and write like I talk! :) Writing fast involves turning off my internal editor, writing anytime I have a moment (and not waiting for huge blocks of time), and doing some planning ahead of time on where each scene is going.

A tip from Sandra Lee Smith: When I need to write fast, I always stop in the middle of a really intense scene, and that way I have no problem picking it up and starting over again. Also I leave a Post-it® note of where I'm heading to remind me.

Debby adds: Don't forget to drink lots of water and take frequent breaks.
Water is a writer's friend.
Glynna Kaye offers this advice: When I’m trying to write a scene fast just to get it down on the page and don’t want to flesh something out at the moment or pause to research, I’ll type in “asides” to myself in brackets and highlight the words in red so they jump out at me later.

Such as…. [DESCRIBE THIS] OR [DOUBLE-CHECK THIS] OR [COME UP WITH A BETTER WORD] OR [WHICH DAY IS THIS?] OR [DID I ALREADY SAY THIS EARLIER?] OR [WHAT’S SHE WEARING?]

Lacy Williams uses brackets to turn off, what she calls, the mean old internal editor: I write [and use the brackets] if I can't think of the correct words. Or a research question. Or I think of something that should have been added in one chapter earlier. Then when I go through on my second (slower) draft, I can correct those things within the brackets, but I got through my fast first draft without stressing out and slowing down. (www.lacywilliams.com, First Kisses)

Simiarily, Deb Kastner uses asterisks in her first draft: When I'm cranking on my work, I use asterisks heavily. If I don't remember a name, need to research something or even can't figure out the exact word I want to use, I star the area with three asterisks (and sometimes a word or two to remind me more or less what I was thinking about) and keep writing. Stopping to research or check a thesaurus slows me down. Later, the "blanks" are easy to find and fix. (www.debkastnerbooks.com, Redeeming the Rancher) 

Pam Hillman offers advice on numbering chapters: Mostly, I don't even bother with them until I'm almost completely done with a story. Just use # # # or something and keep going. For scenes that aren't fully fleshed out, put... # # # Bill's brother's house burns down.... # # # (Once you write the next few scenes, you'll probably get the answer to what the scene above is lacking. Maybe... and Bill realizes how fleeting life is and determines to go for his dreams, etc.)
Writers love sticky notes, paper or digital!
Pam adds: I keep excel notes (sticky notes, Scrivener, whatever works) open and handy. When I start to write the scene, I jot down two or three things that really need to be there to advance the plot. If I don't do this, it's easy to go off on a rabbit trail and forget to include those things. Then it's really hard to weave them in without some major rewriting and thinking.

When in doubt, don't be afraid to plow through. Just yesterday, I had a short bit that would have been nice to have in the heroine's POV, but it was really, really short and would have broken up a scene in the hero's POV. Instead of stopping and trying to think of enough "meat" to switch POVs, I added a note: WRITE THIS SCENE IN SAMUEL'S POV, BUT IN REWRITES CONSIDER SWITCHING TO ANNABELLE'S POV.

Ruth Logan Herne shares two tips: One is pre-planning or visualizing the coming scene in my head. While I'm working my day job (or driving, or riding in the car, whatever) I mentally pick up where I left off and wonder how the characters would react. Would anyone else walk on-scene? And if so, who would be most affected by that? That way, when I sit down to write, I've got a pre-planned idea of where I want the new scene to go.

Second, I re-read whatever I wrote at the last session, and that helps me to feed into this new scene seamlessly. I tweak words and sentences as I go (even in Speedbo) because that gives me a really tight first draft. When the book is complete, it doesn't generally need a lot of revising, if any. And that saves me a huge amount of time in the end!

Here’s a tip from Caralynn James that’s one of my favorite timesavers: At the beginning of a scene I write the day of the week and the time of day and whether it’s the hero’s or heroine’s POV in bold red caps.

Barbara Phinney listens to classical music as she writes.
Barbara Phinney often holds her own Book In A Week challenge and offers the following insights: Don't worry about scene setting in your initial draft, and don't write in the fussy little details, even if they are needed for the plot. Just write a note about them and highlight them. Make your chapters short so you get the sense of movement, and this will spur you on. End your day's work on a cliffhanger with a few lines to let you know where you want to go the next day. If you like music when you write, choose fast classical styled music, which is said to organize your brain. Don't push yourself too far into the night. Try to get adequate sleep. In your dreams, you will often sort out your plot. (www.BarbaraPhinney.com, Deadly Trust)

Pamela Tracy says: I'm a night writer and write on the fly... I write until I have 1000 words. When I get to 500 words, I have permission to get a drink or snack. Not until. If I have to go to the loo, suddenly getting 500 words happens pretty fast. If I'm blocked after 1000 words, I edit. I have a family of dolls (similar to Barbies), and they role play to keep me going. (www.pamelatracy.com What Janie Saw) 
Pamela Tracy role plays with dolls when she's stalled.
Terri Reed suggests the following: Have a well developed plot/synopsis and character sketches. Write the bare bones of the story, using he said, she said, little to no setting or descriptions or emotions. Rather than crafting the story as you go, get it out, then go back and layer in the craft. Make your chapters short--they will expand in the layering stage. Don't go back and edit. Editing is done once you have the story out. (www.terrireed.com,Treacherous Slopes) 

Patty Smith Hall creates her first draft with pen and paper: It's no secret that I turn out pages faster when I write in longhand. For those who have a particularly hard time turning off that internal editor, writing longhand allows me to just go with the flow--it gives me permission to “mess” with an idea and see if it really works.
Patty Smith Hall writes her first draft with paper and pen!
Secondly, I dictate my first draft into Pages via Dragon Dictate--it gives me the opportunity to “hear” if the story is working and edit as I go. By the time I'm finished with dictation, I'm ready to polish. (www.PattySmithHall.com, Hearts in Flight)

Dana Mentink says: Kick your inner editor to the curb! Write fast and furious and know that whatever you produce is the starting point, not the finished product. When you stop fussing over correctness and such, the words really start to flow! Also, I'd suggest turning off all email, FB and Twitter for an assigned period of time. It's incredible how much these cool techno tools can undermine productivity! (www.danamentink.com, Force of Nature)

Larissa Reinhart suggests using a blackout screen: I write in Scrivener which has a blackout screen. Pages does, too. I’m not sure about other programs, but those screens keep your eyes focused on the page and block any email or social media popups.


Watch your word count. This helps me, encouraging me as the numbers tick higher. If it causes you anxiety because the words aren’t coming fast enough, don’t use it. Scrivener has a word counter. Pages and Word show the word count at the bottom of the screen. (www.LarissaReinhart.com, Death in Perspective) 

Debby adds: While searching the Net, I found Rachel Aaron’s Pretentious Title blog. The June 8, 2011 post--How I Went From Writing 2,000 Words a Day to 10,000 Words a Day—was especially insightful and focused on three factors--Knowing, Enthusiasm, and Time—to increase productivity. Click here to read her blog.

Share your tips for writing fast and let us know what’s been the most help to get you speeding through SpeedBo. Anyone leaving a comment will be entered into a drawing for my March Love Inspired Suspense, THE AGENT’S SECRET PAST, and a digital copy of Rachel Aaron’s book, 2,000 to 10,000. How to write faster, write better, and write more of what you love.



Grab a SpeedBo Breakfast at the buffet bar. Today’s selection includes scrambled eggs and biscuits, assorted pastries and bagels, ham, sausage, sliced fruit and grits. Don’t forget to fill your coffee mug. Tea is available, either hot or iced, sweet or unsweetened.

I’m looking forward to finding new Writing Tips for Writing Fast so be sure to share what works for you.

Wishing you abundant blessings,
Debby Giusti
www.DebbyGiusti.com 

THE AGENT'S SECRET PAST
By Debby Giusti

THREAT FROM HER AMISH PAST 

Eight years ago, a drifter destroyed Becca Miller's ties to her Amish community—and murdered her family. Now a special agent with Fort Rickman's criminal investigation department, Becca knows her past has caught up with her and doesn't want to relive it. She's convinced that the killer, who supposedly died years ago, is very much alive and after her. Special agent Colby Voss agrees to help her investigate. Yet the closer they get to the truth, the closer the killer gets to silencing her permanently. 



Book Signing to Benefit our Wounded Warriors 
Thursday, March 27, 4 PM to 6:30 PM 
Omega Book Center 
100 North Peachtree Parkway 
Peachtree City, GA 30269 
770-487-3977 

Call in your order and autographed copies will be mailed to you 
with proceeds benefiting our military heroes.
 
Day 19 of SPEEDBO!

173 comments:

Jennifer Smith said...

Just put down PAM HILLMAN'S "Claiming Mariah" for some much-needed sleep, even though I would love to read all night. Such a great book! (And now here I am online--go figure.)

Anyway, thanks to all of you for these great tips. I am saving this list!

Carol Moncado said...

Great stuff!!! I love my AlphaSmart [and am taking it with me while I sub tomorrow]. I have the Dana which stores a lot more per file and you CAN scroll back but it's not terribly easy to do and hard to tell where you are - not good for editing at all but maybe to double check something. And it types in whatever I have my Word doc set up in :). Love!

Someone [Myra?] mentioned keeping a timeline. I found Aeon Timeline during NaNo and LOVE it. I keep a paper calendar too, but I really really enjoy this one - and you can set it up to start from day 0 or hour 0 or week 0 or particular real days. If you write Spec, you can create your own calendars too.

It's been slow since last week [the 13th...] but I'm at about 38K. We'll see how I do during specials tomorrow :D.

Marianne Barkman said...

Whooweeee. Great Stuff, Debbie!!! I think I'll stick to reading books by Seekerville authors. They are the BEST!!!
Thanks, Debbie for the encouraging words. I'd like to join in on encouraging those diligently writing. I've got cinnamon rolls and peanut butter cookies on the go!

Helen Gray said...

Got home late this afternoon from my sister-in-law's funeral. Too tired to think, much less write, I crashed.

Got another funeral this week, and a book signing, so progress is erratic.

But this evening I worked on the outline part of my Speedbo goal. So, I now have two chapters and a full outline. One chapter to go.

Coffee's ready.

CatMom said...

Great post, Debby - - loved these helpful tips you and the other authors have shared with us.

Sometimes when I feel stalled while writing, I take about a 20-minute break and play my piano or do needlepoint (making sure to first stretch and do some physical movement for my back). Then I return to my computer with a fresh cup of coffee and often I'll feel the words start to flow again.

But for me that physical movement is so important (it's hard to feel creative if you're hurting from sitting too long, LOL).

Thanks again for sharing--this is definitely going into my Keeper File!
Hugs, Patti Jo :)

Courtney Phillips said...

I write faster when I stopped in the middle of a scene the previous day. Starting a new scene is the hardest part for me, but once I'm grounded I write faster.
I can't imagine writing a first draft with pen and paper. My laptop is my best friend!
I made my daily goals for the past two days (this has been an earth - shattering month in my world) so I'm happy :)
Thanks for the tips!

Natalie Monk said...

Way to go, everyone, on your Speedbo goals!!!

Today I shaved my MS down to where I only have a few scenes to revise and one new one to write. Yay!

My AlphaSmart becomes my security blanked during a draft. Got it based on several Seeker & Seekervillian recs and LOVE it! And I only paid like $15 for it on Ebay! Best writing investment I ever made.

When I need to write faster, I set four 15 min. timers and stretch in between. And the tip about stopping in the middle of a scene works!

When I'm stuck, I visualize the scene like a movie, explore a few possible futures, then choose a random one and go with it (should probably choose based on some grand plotting knowledge, but maybe that'll come in time, haha!)

As far as the internal editor, like Lacy Williams I use the brackets. But I rudely yell at myself. With frequent exclamation points and bouts of "UGH!!! give me some visual layer in senses" "PUH-LEESE fix diologue, this is ridiculous!!!!!" & "BORING, zzzzzzzz -_- >>>ratchet tension." :)

Gets out some frustration and gives me a big laugh later when it's time to edit.

Thanks for this treasure chest of tips, Debby! I'm saving this one to a file for my next draft.

Natalie Monk said...

*Seekervillagers

I don't know where I came up with Seekervillians, lol. But it looks a little too much like villain for my taste. Ha! Oops.

Kav said...

Ooohhhh...this is great info, Debby! Very encouraging...I thought all you author types wrote perfect scenes all the way to the end! I'm going to implement some of these ideas and see if I can't get back up to my word count goal. I've been good about not looking about and refraining from editing but I think (after reading this) that I'm spending way too much time grappling with getting the write word, getting the scene or dialogue just right etc. I like that bracketing idea and lots of the others too. I 'm jazzed but now I have to rush off to work. Bah! Oh and don't enter me in the drawing. I have your book! Loved it.

Kav said...

haha -- knew I should have proofed that before posting but I'm racing to get out the door. Let's just say that I'm embracing the speedbo no-editing mantra in everything I write this month. :-)

Jackie said...

Good morning! The breakfast buffet looks wonderful.

Thanks for sharing these great tips. I like that you plan the h/h cars. I do too.

I use Scrivner for all my notes but write in word flipping back and forth. I still don't know all the great things about Scrivner, but I find it useful anyway.

I keep a calender beside me for the story I work on.

What a great post today. I hit the disaster in my story last night. Finally. I hated to put my heroine through all that trauma. I hope to gain speed again as I get her through this and to her happily ever after.

Have a great day!

Larissa Reinhart said...

Great tips! It's fun to see what other writers use and how so many of these tips and tried and true. Good luck Speedboers!

Piper Huguley said...

I love all of the tips you've gathered here, Debby, and I especially love Janet's board for writing down her hero's goals!

We have Alphasmarts all over the place here--my DS has fine motor issues, so he gets accommodations at school to use an Alphasmart to do his school work. I tried a Dana, but unlike Carol, I'm not fond of it, and I had to take a step back to a Neo. I got my new Neo on Ebay, just like Natalie--and paid a little more for it because it came with a snazzy little case with a strap! I think there is more love out there for the Neo--they are harder to find on Ebay than the Dana, but keep looking! The only problem that I have with it is that it may not translate to Scrivener and I'm looking to get into Scrivener soon. I may just have to put the Alphasmart text into Word somehow and get it into Scrivener, but I hear that's hard to do. Change can be difficult....thanks for the great post Debby!

Glynna Kaye said...

Love hearing all the 'write faster' tips, Debby! I find it interesting, too, how the styles vary for what works for different writers. Writing is very "customized" for each author and there are some great ideas here for us to test out and see which ones fit into our own repertoire! Thank you!

Rose said...

All great tips!

I went over the halfway mark on my rough draft last night! Yay!

I'm still behind where I should be, so I'm hoping to have a steller writing weekend.

Debby Giusti said...

Grabbing a cup of coffee! Jennifer, I hope you're sleeping.

Isn't Pam's book wonderful!

Glynna Kaye said...

I tend to use my Alphasmart Neo more for brainstorming at the beginning (before I start the first chapter) and when I'm going to be away from home. Resorting to Neo or writing longhand on a lineless, newsprint pad (the kind you can get at the dollar store)is also handy when I get "stuck" in a story and need to break away and write without "boundaries."

Anne Love said...

Great tips. The main theme through all the threads is to plow through w/o pausing for the little stuff; and keep from interruptions like the internet.

Debby Giusti said...

Carol, you are never slow! LOL!

Thanks for sharing the tip about your timeline. I'll check it out.

My Alpha is old. I'll need a new one soon. Glad to hear you like your Dana. They don't sell my old model any longer except on eBay.

Write fast!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Debby Giusti said...

Marianne, you know we love readers in Seekerville.

I'm reaching for a cinnamon roll. They smell divine!

YUM!

Debby Giusti said...

Helen, glad you're home. Again, so sorry for your loss. Take time to grieve and rest.

Although seems you're already working hard on another book.

I know your signing will be fantastic.

Hugs and love!

Debby Giusti said...

Patti Jo, how wonderful that you play the piano and what a wonderful way to prime your writing well! You don't just listen to music, you create music!

I agree about physical activity helping inspiration. I often take a walk when I'm stalled. Vacuuming works as well, but I'd rather commune with nature rather than clean my house. LOL!

Janet Dean said...

Debby, thanks for sharing the excellent tips for writing fast. I need to try using my AlphaSmart again.

Can't wait to read The Agent's Secret Past!

Bless you for all you do to help the Wounded Warrior cause!

Janet

Debby Giusti said...

HI Courtney,
You're in sync with Sandra Lee Smith who stops in the middle of a scene so she can pickup where she left off.

Glad you're setting goals! Perfect!

I've written openings and blogs longhand but never an entire book. Patty Smith Hall is unique!

Debby Giusti said...

Natalie, you've got me laughing this morning about your internal editor using brackets! How funny!

Only $15 for your Alpha and it was in good shape? A used model? Maybe I SHOULD check out eBay! Any tips as to what to look for?

Thanks for sharing the strategies that work for you. Sounds as if you've got your writing routine down pat! I'm impressed!

Although Villagers always impress me! :)

Debby Giusti said...

Kav, thanks for posting the wonderful review! You're such a special friend to all the Seekers and your reviews are so appreciated!

Like you, I was amazed at all the comments concerning writing short to write fast. Terri Reed's was a surprise...to shorten chapters to get the structure with everything else filled in later. I'm going to try that on my current WIP!

You're right...so many inside secrets to learn about how writers write! LOL!

Annie Rains said...

I've read Rachel Aaron's book and LOVED it! I'd recommend it to anyone. And I especially liked her advice about plotting out each scene until you had something you were excited about. This works really well for me.

Great tips in here! Thank you!

Debby Giusti said...

Jackie, good for you inflicting pain on your heroine! The readers will love it! HA!

Keeping a calendar as your write is a great tip. One I need to use.

Thanks for sharing.

Seems we're thinking alike about the cars!

Hugs!

Debby Giusti said...

Hey Larissa...

Loved your blank screen input. You must use a Mac. Not sure if I have that same capability with a PC. Does anyone know?

Debby Giusti said...

Piper,

So I should get a Neo instead of a Dana. Got it! Thanks. Need to check out eBay!

Hugs!

Debby Giusti said...

Sorry I have to leave for a bit. Bible Study this morning.

I'll bring lunch when I return.

Keep writing.

Keep sharing tips!

Love you all!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

I'm over-the-top in love with the Barbie doll line-up on the couch!

THAT'S THE BEST!!!!! Laughing at that image of Barbie, dishing with her buds about what to do with Ken...

Barbie, honey!!! Dump him and latch onto G. I. Joe!!!! What are you thinking, girlfriend????

Larissa Reinhart said...

Hey Debby,
I'm not sure if Word has the black out screen, but U use it in Scrivener, which is available for Mac or PC. And it's only $20 right now! (Or at least it was). It's a great software program for writers. Good for organizing, writing in scenes instead of one long document so you can move scenes around. Also great for keeping research and all kinds of other things. But I bought it for the black out screen! LOL

Sandra Leesmith said...

Wow, What a treasure trove of tips for writing fast. Great going DEBBY. Thanks for all of those.

I'm like you and love my Alpha Smart. But my favorite tip is Pamela's. Having dolls sounds fun and is so Pam. lol

I'm going to have to get some.

Wilani Wahl said...

I love the tips. There is so much to learn.

I am writing my book on Word Perfect and have to count my words manually.

I have been wondering if there is a program that writers use that does the word count for them and that will set up the manuscript.

I am enjoying my visit with my parents. They have a bird feeder so it is nice to sit near the deck and see everyone come in for breakfast. I am waiting for pileated woodpecker to come in to the feeder. My mom named him Oscar. It is a nice spot to write and read.

Have a great day every one.

Missy Tippens said...

What a great post, Debby! And thanks to all who added their tips.

I really like what Barbara said: Make your chapters short so you get the sense of movement, and this will spur you on.

Missy again… Yes! That sense of movement is what keeps me going. It's like a speeding train, racing for the station. Especially as I near the end of the story.

Missy Tippens said...

Jennifer Smith, I hope you got some sleep. :)

Julie Lessman said...

HOLY COW, DEB, this blog is absolutely AWESOME!! WOW, did I get TONS out of it and can't wait to apply it.

The one thing that shocked me to pieces was the fact that Ruthy and I write alike in that we both visualize the next scene in our heads ahead of time while doing other things like cooking, driving, etc. And secondly, we both reread the last scene to set us up for the next one and "tweak and reword sentences as I go" as well, which blows me away because Ruthy is SUCH a fast, prolific write and I'm basically ... uh, not! :)

But these tips today have gone a LONG WAY in setting me straight, so thanks Deb, SO MUCH!!

Hugs,
Julie

Connie Queen said...

I have tried pretty much everything mentioned except for Alpha Smart and the dolls. LOL.

Instead of asterisks or brackets, I use comments (Under the review tab) instead. They "stick out" better. When I go back to edit, I use comments again pretending I'm critiquing someone else's work. Then I go back and implement the changes. Sounds time consuming but it actually makes me feel like I'm moving faster which motivates me.

Love all the ideas.

Melanie Dickerson said...

Oh, Debby, I think I'm just not meant to write fast when I'm working on the beginning of a story. Sigh. If I were to push to get something, anything, down on the page, it would be a disaster. I would end up having to rewrite. And I can't not do research at the beginning. If I were to ignore some of the things I end up stopping to research, my story might end up having to be rewritten, because I would have something in there that wasn't feasible. With the first few chapters, I simply HAVE to write slowly, I think, for my own sanity. If those first chapters aren't right, I just couldn't write the rest of the book. But when I do get those first few chapters done, I can usually write really fast. I will put notes in brackets about things I need to research. I will put Xxx for the name of a character I can't remember or a place name that I need to invent. And even in the beginning, I will put notes to myself in brackets about scenes I need to write later.

One thing I have done this time more than other times is I have done more characterization and plotting. But it's still hard for me to put anything in outline form. I actually have notes written in several different places. Not very efficient, but ... somehow it keeps my creativity flowing to not be organized. Hahaha!!! That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

So far my SpeedBo total is 6,736 words. Yes, that's terrible, I know, but I took several days to work on characterization and plotting. I doubt this will work for anybody else! (Sometimes I panic and think it doesn't work for me either!) But most of the time, I am having fun. Really. I promise.

Connie Queen said...

One more thing that helped me was writing in single space. I can see more of what I've written without having to scroll and that just makes writing and reading on the laptop so much easier.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Helen, my friend... You are going through one of those weeks when life and time are at odds.

Funerals do that.

Sick kids do that.

No money can do that.

I'm giving you a nice pot of tea and I was thrilled with the success of your book signing last week, and hope tomorrow's is peaceful, fun and wonderful!!! God bless you, dear woman!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Deb, you and I have talked Alpha Smart before. You work so well with it and I had EPIC FAIL!!! stamped across my forehead.

But that's the beauty of this business, we're free to find what works for us as we walk this path. And it took me a little while (bossy thing that I am!!!) to see that years ago, but once I did, I realized that writing for adults is a lot like learning processes for kids...

It varies by person and recognizing that helps our success ratio.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Okay, and now on to the IMPORTANT STUFF!!!!!

I'VE FINISHED MAX AND TINA'S EXCELLENT CHRISTMAS ADVENTURE!!!!! AND I GAVE AWAY OVER 20 BOOKS LAST WEEK!!!!!

Happy dancing!!!!! I need to do a read-through in a few days, but now it's on to crafting my new proposal for Love Inspired because that was the last book of the current contract....

My Speedbo goal was to nail both, the book complete and sent in ahead of schedule and the proposal signed, sealed and delivered....

So that's my 12 day goal now, to complete the proposal.

I LOVE SPEEDBO!!!!

Myra Johnson said...

Wow, I loved reading all these tips, Debby! Thanks to all the contributors!

CAROL, I make an Excel calendar for every book, beginning with the month the story starts and continuing with as many months as the story requires. After writing each scene, I enter a short recap on the appropriate calendar date. If I know an event is coming in the future, I jot it in the calendar as a reminder to work toward it in the story.

Cara Lynn James said...

Thanks, Debby! We can sure learn from each other. It's so much easier than reinventing the wheel.

Crystal Ridgway said...

Well, I have to admit here that I've never heard of an alphasmart before. AHEM... I mean, GREAT POST, DEBBY!!!

I've actually never done any of the things listed, but they are great suggestions. For me, there doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to when I write fast and when I don't. Some scenes flow really well, and others come out like pulling teeth. Just gotta go with it.

When I get REALLY stuck, I'll push the laptop aside and pop in the next episode of whatever TV show on DVD that I'm working my way through (Currently Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman). That'll usually start me up again once the episode goes off. If my children aren't begging me to watch another. :)

Have to smile at Missy Tippens' description of herself being very wordy because she's southern. It is so true. Down here in the south, all us southerners like to talk. We tend to ramble on about anything and everything. *Grin*

My speedbo the past few days has been pitiful. I'm sinking low in my seat as I admit I haven't even turned on the laptop since Sunday. But, I suppose it's acceptable since I've been busy packing. We learned a while ago that we have to move. So, I may not be getting my usual word counts for the rest of the month.

Myra Johnson said...

I must have needed an excuse to ditch my Speedbo goals this week. My poor little MacBook Pro is nearly 7 years old, nearly full, and getting slower every day. It was really time to upgrade, so I went to the Apple Store yesterday and picked out a new one!

Today both Macs are going back for data transfer, which will probably take until tomorrow. In the meantime, I will be having severe withdrawal!!! I feel absolutely useless without my laptop!!!

If I'm smart, I will take a tip from RUTHY and use this time to think about the next scenes I need to write in my wip.

Or go shopping.

Mary Hicks said...

Wow! that's a lot of information, Debbie! Thank you for compiling it into such a neat package.

Another keeper file.

I find that all of the info posted by Seekervillian's is good info, and worth hanging onto! :-)

Liz Flaherty said...

This is so interesting! I've given up trying to write fast, but wish I'd had (or paid attention to) all this information 20 years ago!

Tina Radcliffe said...

This is fabulous. I love it, love it, love it.

Barbie dolls to the rescue.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Carol the Aeon Timeline link doesn't work and I want it to BADLY!!!

Natalie Monk said...

Tina, I don't know how to do a clicky link in a comment, lol, but here's the site link: http://www.scribblecode.com/

Natalie Monk said...

For Aeon Timeline, I mean.

Natalie Monk said...

Debby, I think mine was from a school. It's a 3000. They had upgraded to laptops or Neo or something. The seller refurbished them.

The main thing is to make sure the keys are neither sticky nor hard to press down. I had one previously where the space bar took a bit of effort. My thumbs got sore! :)

Myra Johnson said...

TINA, I just Googled Aeon Timeline and found the website. Wow. Interesting program!!!

CAROL, we want more details about how you use this!

Meghan Carver said...

Great tips, ladies! Thank you! I do the brackets and then highlight them in yellow. That makes it easy to go back and figure out whatever is needed. When I only have a few minutes, in between my children's homeschool subjects or when something is in the oven, I scroll to the next bracket and see if I can fix it in that time.

Love the dolls role-playing. I think I'll try that next time!

Carol Moncado said...

Thanks for posting the right link!! My laptop was being stinky last night and I'm subbing today but I'll be back after dinner. (Some how once I managed to make my hero born in like 19something bc and finding it was hard...)

Aeon was a sponsor for Nano last year which is how I found it. I'm still learning. It does have a way to have separate story threads esp if you have two that don't meet up until later but need to keep times and places straight. I'm contemplating a blog on it - mostly because my local group wants me to teach a class on it one day this year :p.

But like I said am subbing now so after I get home and ditch the headache... (I am using my alpha smart during music though ;). I also happen to know a local speedboer friend of mine just got one ;D. She got one like mine - it does have a word count feature which is cool.)

Tina Pinson said...

thanks for the tips.

Writing longhand has always been the best way of getting words down for me. If I really get moving I can write a lot. Of course, if I get too fast it can be a pain to come back and decipher some of it too.

I've tried Dragon for dictation and found it a pain more so than not. So I write and then, usually, type my writing for the day in as soon as I can.

Sometimes I'll wait and just keep writing pages and pages before I get back to putting it into the computer.

Debby Giusti said...

I'm back. Great Bible study. Galatians.

I've returned with pizzas from Papa John's! All types of toppings. What's your favorite?

Dig in.

Debby Giusti said...

Whoo-hoo, Rose! Congrats on passing the halfway mark on your manuscript. You're on a roll and heading to the finish.

I bet you'll take home the GOLD, in Olympics-speak!

Good for you.

Debby Giusti said...

Hi Glynna,

It is interesting to see how different folks tackle their own manuscripts in different ways.

Another vote for the Neo! I think often of how you use that unlined tablet in the beginning to flesh out your story structure. Thanks, again, for sharing.

Did you get lunch?

Debby Giusti said...

Anne, you nailed it. Write fast. Turn off distractions. YES!

Debby Giusti said...

Janet, you have your writing routine by now. I bet trying to go back to an Alpha won't work...just as I couldn't step away from mine.

Let me know how it goes.

Thanks for your support of our military heroes!

Hugs.

Debby Giusti said...

Hi Annie,

Rachel's mention of finding the "excitement" in the story hit be between the eyes when I read her blog. Often as I pull ideas together for a new story, I don't have that enthusiasm and only "get it" when the story starts to take shape. Wish I could start with the excitement. Looking forward to reading her book. Good to hear that you found it worthwhile.

Debby Giusti said...

Ruthy...

GI Joe is always the hero in my books! LOL!

Did you notice the Barbies in my photo...looks like a love triangle on the right. Who gets the guy?

Jan Drexler said...

Oh, Debby, thank you for this great post!

My Speedbo numbers have been dismal. Does anyone else's brain shut down when you put yourself under pressure?

On another note, I did get the house cleaned last week :)

But some days have gone very well. I just need to make those days happen more often.

I'm going to be implementing some of these techniques. Rachel Aaron’s blog was fantastic, too! I'm trying to imagine writing 10K a day on a regular basis.

Debby Giusti said...

Larissa, thanks for the info about Scrivener's sale price. Only $20. Fantastic. I need to consider getting the program. Wonder if I would find it useful.

Anyone want to chime in?

Do you like Scrivener?

Debby Giusti said...

Sandra...
I'm keeping my dolls close by too!

Debby Giusti said...

Wilhani,
Enjoy your visit with your parents. How wonderful that you still have them. Give them a hug for me!

Did Oscar show up? I've got bird seed if he does. Let me know. :)

I transfer my AlphaSmart files to my computer and use Word, which has a word count option that I love. Seeing my progress is a great motivator.

Debby Giusti said...

Missy, I like the short chapter tip as well. A great way to get the story structure in a timely manner.

Debby Giusti said...

Hi Julie,

I've enjoyed learning how everyone works and have picked up so many great tips.

Thanks, everyone, for sharing!

Debby Giusti said...

Connie,

Finding a way that works for each of us is the key, isn't it, Connie. I like your comma idea. Thanks for sharing.

Debby Giusti said...

Mel, glad it's fun for you. That's huge!!!

My first three chapters and synopsis--the proposals--alway take longer than I would like. For my current WIP, I couldn't "get" the hero so it took me even longer than usual. Once I "saw" him and understood him, the words started to flow.

Glad I'm past the proposal stage, which can be painful when the characters don't reveal who they are in a timely manner! LOL!

Debby Giusti said...

Connie, what an interesting tip...write in single space.

I'll try it!

Thanks!

Debby Giusti said...

Ruthy, you're forever the hare.

I am the tortoise plugging away on my AlphaSmart.

You have finished a book.

I'm still slugging along to get to the midway point.

We are all so different. Guess that's the way God made us. But we can pick up tips from one another, which is good.

Debby Giusti said...

Myra, love your excel calendar. Especially important for a story that takes place over a long period of time.

Mine usually take place in a week or two. BUT, I still need to keep track of what happens each day.

Myra, would you share the story playing cards you've mentioned before? I'd like to try them. Lenora Worth uses them as well.

Debby Giusti said...

Cara, your tip of noting the POV character at the beginning of each scene has helped me so much!

THANK YOU!

Debby Giusti said...

Oh, Crystal, a move is a huge Speedbo stopper! Is this a good move? Hope so.

Sending prayers for packing and finding a new home, making the transition, etc.

No time to write, I'm sure.

As an Army wife, we moved a million times (yes, an exaggeration. LOL!) Never easy. Always took about three months to get settled and back into a routine. But change is exciting and meeting and making new friends is a blessing.

Keep us posted!

Debby Giusti said...

Myra, congrats on the new computer. I need to shop for one too. Not a Mac. I don't want to have to learn something new. LOL!

Who likes Windows 8?

Debby Giusti said...

Hi Mary,

There's always something new in Seekerville! It's mind expanding! LOL!

Hugs!

Debby Giusti said...

Liz...it's never too late!

Debby Giusti said...

Natalie, thanks for helping Tina with the timeline link.

Agreeing with Myra...Carol, share more info. Pretty please!

Debby Giusti said...

Natalie,

The keys on my Alpha require more pressure than my laptop...but still workable.

Thanks for the info about your Alpha Neo!

Debby Giusti said...

Meghan, I like your tip on highlighting the brackets in yellow. Great idea.

Thanks!

Debby Giusti said...

Thanks for the info, Carol! Hope the headache eases.

Talk to you later.

Mary Connealy said...

I'm sorry I didn't contribute to this. But I just didn't know what to say.

1000 words a day-5 days a week.

That's it. Slow and steady wins the race.

I've upped my production in March for Speedbo but all I've done is try and write MORE than 1000 words a day-7 days a week.

I don't have any real tricks.

I don't think so anyway.

What's cool is seeing WHAT WORKS FOR YOU!!!!!!!

Debby Giusti said...

Tina, I didn't realize you created in longhand.

A wonderful doctor in my area of Georgia--Ferrol Sams--wrote a number of books that are delightful stories about growing up in rural Fayette County. He wrote his stories longhand each morning before he headed to his medical office. His cousin typed for him.

Didn't Shelby Cook, of Civil War TV documentary fame, write in longhand too?

Glad it works for you. I do short pieces, such as blurbs, in longhand, but not my stories.

Debby Giusti said...

Jan, my word count hasn't been great and my house still needs cleaning.

Celebrate your successes wherever you find them. LOL!

Glad you found Rachel's blog helpful. It spoke to me as well.

Debby Giusti said...

Mary, you're doing everything right.

Sybil Bates McCormack said...

Good afternoon, ladies. I'm at work, so I just popped by to skim today's goodies. Looks like I made a timely visit. Thanks for all of the excellent tips! Blessings!

Eva Maria Hamilton said...

Great list Debby! Lots of techniques to try :)

Debby Giusti said...

Hi Sybil,
Good to see you! Glad you could visit on your lunch break. Have a lovely afternoon.

Debby Giusti said...

Hi Eva,

I'm going to try some of the shared tips for sure!

Thanks for visiting today, Eva!

Jackie Smith said...

Hi Debby,
I enjoyed your post about writers' tips....and I especially enjoy reading the great books you writers produce! Please count me in the drawing.
Thanks~

Nicki Salcedo said...

This is great info, Debby. I'm about to enter the fast draft stage so I may try out a few of these good tips. I can also see how I may save some of these ideas for later in my big bag of writing tricks. Thanks for sharing.

Melanie Dickerson said...

Connie, Wow! I do like your ideas about putting notes in "comments" and writing single-spaced! I might have to try that.

Angel Moore said...

Great points! Speedbo has helped me. I set a timer and go as fast as I can, determined to get the word count in every day. So far, so good.

Piper Huguley said...

The awesome Nicki Salcedo is in Seekerville!!!Yay!!!

Because I don't own a kitchen timer, I go to mytomatoes.com to set my timer on the computer. One day I'll breakdown and get a timer...:)

I'm trying to find the place where Scrivner is only $20 for a few more(maybe 2?) days. They give you a trial for a month, but then you have to pay beyond that..still searching....

Debby Giusti said...

Hi Jackie Smith!

Thanks for your kind words about Seeker stories! You're in the drawing.

Piper Huguley said...

Found it! It's www.appsumo.com Scrivener will be on sale for $20 until the end of tomorrow (Thursday).

I did buy the Aeon Timeline software the other day, Carol and I'm looking forward to getting help with straightening out my historical timelines, so thanks for the affirmation on that one. It will probably get more use than Scrivner...:)

Debby Giusti said...

Hi Nicki,
Thanks for visiting Seekerville. Did you get a slice of pizza? Take two..or three! :)

I have picked up so many new tips from those who have shared. There's always something to learn.

Come back soon!

Hugs and love!

Debby Giusti said...

Changing my "comma" to "comment" in my reply to Connie.

Thanks, Mel, for the heads up! LOL!

Debby Giusti said...

Angel, you're a timer gal too! It works, doesn't it! Speeds me along like nothing else.

Debby Giusti said...

Piper, how do I change the time on the mytomato timer? It's at 25 minutes and I can't change it. HELP!!!

Wasn't it fun seeing Nicki!

Larissa, where did you find the sale price for Scrivener?

Debby Giusti said...

Thanks, Piper, for finding the Scrivener link.

Olivia said...

Thanks for the buffet! Had to clean and cook a send off meal for hubby as he takes a week away from Toddlerville. Will write after said toddler is down for nite as his mom is out of town too. I write to timed intervals as this grandma goes to the bookstore to write while others care for toddler. Please enter me in the drawing for those great books!

Olivia said...

This blog is added to my ever growing blog notebook . Turning off the "editor" seems to be a common technique and I am game to try several! Thanks again seekers!

Piper Huguley said...

Glad to help Debby!

And I've never tried to change the tomato because 25 minutes was always okay for me, so I don't know...I don't see a way to change it either. Sorry! :)

Pamela Tracy said...

Lots of great suggestions. I used to use my Alpha all the time, but now my iPad is a laptop. The Alpha is better, though, because no Internet. The iPad is better, though, because I can research on the Internet.

I'm so confused.

Chill N said...

Good tips, Debbie! Do I understand the book blurb correctly that the heroine grew up Amish but doesn't live in an Amish community anymore? Did anything in particular spark the idea for you? It sounds very interesting.

Nancy C

Chill N said...

DEBBY. Not Debbie. DEBBY. What was I thinking? And I can't even blame spellcheck for changing it LOL

Nancy C

Carroll Pellegrinelli said...

Thanks so much Debby. There were several ideas I'd like to try when I write next time.

DebH said...

wow. all kinds of cool ideas for speeding the process. the [BRACKET] thing sounds especially useful since I do see how that brings my progress to a screeching halt.

i tend to scribble longhand on scrap paper when an idea hits my fancy or when my toddler commands my laptop for some ABCmouse time. i also tend to talk to myself and "act" out a scene in my car between home and work and try to write it out as soon as I reach my destination (either work or home). for mental blocks, i go play with my son - his imagination helps jump start mine.

when typing, I just use my mac and OpenOffice (since $ is tight and it's free). i email the progress I have to my work addy and open up the files in Word at work just to double check formatting,etc.

i like the short chapter idea and not labeling things in chapters until all is said and done.

stayed home today so hubby could catch up on sleep since toddler hasn't been cooperative this week so i've got about 750 words so far today.

please put me in the draw for books. never wish to miss out on opportunity. :)

Kathryn Barker said...

Wow Debby, this is a great post! Our writers group was just talking about having a meeting where "someone" gives some tips on writing productively...your ideas...and those of the commenters are so perfect!! Thanks for sharing!

Jeanne T said...

I had an all day field trip with my youngest today. This morning was spent running around like a crazy woman preparing everything for my very restricted diet. Hence, no time to stop by here.

But, I'm here now. :) Great post, Debby! I loved all these tips.

When I'm trying to write fast, I have the major points of my story already plotted out. I also spend some time pre-planning the scene. I interview my character about what just happened and how they might respond. Then, I think about the character's goals, obstacles and story world for the scene. Then I write. My goal is to write 1,000 words in an hour. I usually get close to twice that when I low where the scene is going. This helps me a lot.

I love how many different ideas there are for what works to help people write fast!

Debby Giusti said...

Olivia, we love grandmas in Seekerville.

Good luck with the writing. Hope the little one sleeps well tonight. :)

Glad the blog helped. Yes, turn off the internal editor until after you get pages written. Of course, then you need to revise and edit.

Debby Giusti said...

Not a problem, Piper! I'll put the 25 minutes to good use.

Debby Giusti said...

Laughing with you, Pamela! Did you see how many people commented on your dolls? They were a hit!

Next Christmas, we'll all be asking for Barbie dolls! :)

Debby Giusti said...

Waving to Nancy!

I wanted the heroine to fall in love with my hero, and I didn't want him to be the reason she left her Amish community. Thus...something had to happen to her earlier in life.

Debby Giusti said...

Carroll,
So glad you stopped by...and left a comment!

Hugs!

Debby Giusti said...

Hi Deb, thanks for sharing how you work! I like the shorter chapter idea too. Must give it a try.

I know your little one enjoyed having Mama home! 750 words. Good for you. Squeezed in between play time, no doubt!

You're in the drawing!

Debby Giusti said...

Kathyrn!

Great minds think alike, right? Glad to provide some food for thought today. My thanks to all those who shared their tips. They made the blog fun and information.

Debby Giusti said...

That would be informative instead of information. Bet you all caught that typo! :)

Debby Giusti said...

2k in an hour! WOW, Jeanne, that's fast...Speedbo fast. Good for you.

Love how you plan ahead.

I bet you had lots of fun on the school field trip. Tired?

Linda Marie Finn said...

I enjoyed this ! Ruthy and Jules, so long as you don't visualize while driving !
Or use the wrong ingredients when cooking...oh my !

I have to be honest, life got in the way, I got sick, then I am dealing with some drama in my older kids lives. Please Pray for my Daughters to be able to get my granddaughter back and bring her home. They are headed south, not far from Melanies , down near Birmingham and headed back north through TN. My son is in TN. Well just pray, I will get back on writing soon. I am 9k shy of my goal, but I will get there ! Never going to give up.
Have you all taken a look at my new website ? I would so appreciate it if you would and follow me there. I so need it to be a success and as good as my blog is. www.faithfulacres.net
Praying and asking the Father to bring Becca home to us really soon. Pray she can get my 4 totes of stuff from TN also...I really need it.
Oh Ruthy, I saw you liked my ideas on a post, Icannot even find my way back to it lol. thanks for the books you sent my dear friend. Jules somehow I can see you envisioning things while cooking ! Babe have I got something I need to make you ! Smokin Hot !!! lol
Do you ladies like scrivener alot ? I am going ot look it up. currently using Word.
Hugs
Linda Finn
faithfulacresbooks@gmail.com

Wilani Wahl said...

Debby,

I just discovered that Wordperfect has a tool for word count!

Oscar did come twice today.

I am so thankful for my parents and that I can still be with them. They are 85. I can see some slowing and decline but they are still doing really well.

Debby Giusti said...

Linda,
Sorry you haven't been feeling well. I'm sure you're so upset about your granddaughter. Praying for all!

Loved your website. It's lovely.

I'm wondering about Scrivener too!

Debby Giusti said...

Wilani, glad you found the word count function! YAY!

Enjoy your time with your parents.

Bird seed for Oscar!

LoRee Peery said...

My goodness, what a treasure of wisdom and great, great stuff. I bought a Dana years back and took ill and when I tried to make it work, it was proven to be a lemon but it was past warranty so that's my Alpha Smart story.
Speedbo is working for me because for the first time ever this proofreader is not editing as I go. I've always wanted to do a rough draft this way and what its proven is that I haven't lost the "honeymoon" stage of loving my story.

Audra Harders said...

Debby, I always appreciate tips on writing quickly. So many great comments and ideas. I've jotted down a couple of them that I haven't tried yet...can you imagine that?

Good to know I can call in and order books from your booksigning! You support such a great cause. You go, girl!!

Audra Harders said...

Patty Smith Hall, glad to hear you use Dragon Dictate. I received a copy from my daughter for Christmas and haven't used it yet. I'm excited to program it and start talking!

Audra Harders said...

Larissa Reinhart, I tried Scrivener once they issued it for Windows and was hooked. It's so easy to open a page and label what the scene is going to about and keep track of progress while I'm zipping through Speedbo. It's great!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Pizza.

I'm so in.

Sausage, pepperoni, peppers and onions with extra cheese.

Please. :)

Carol Moncado said...

I. Am. Wiped.

After all day with 3rd graders [it wasn't too bad but way more than I'm used to], followed by house hunting with my sister, four houses and back to the one she was pretty sure she wanted but wanted to see the others before deciding for sure. It's um .4 miles from my house. Like 90 seconds depending on traffic on the semi-major-2-lane-road [it's a smallish town - but the main east west drag]. Oy. Then the bank and the store because you know bread and such. She and her realtor are off making an offer now...

And now I'm ready to nap. But I did write about 800 words on my AlphaSmart and two full front pages handwritten and 1/2-3/4 of both backs [2 different scenes], but wide ruled lined paper. I need to get that transcribed and transferred...

But now - off to look at Aeon timeline and make a few notes to share here...

Dianna Shuford said...

Hi, Debby. Busy day, but I wanted to stop in to say "Hi" before the end of the day.

I enjoyed reading your post, and I did see a few tricks I'm going to try to see if they work for me. I agree with Sandra Lee Smith in that I try never to stop writing at a logical place. I've found that if I begin that next scene or chapter- even if it is only a paragraph or two- then I'm able to get started writing faster with less staring at the computer wondering where to begin.

Another thing that helps me is outlining each chapter in the story first, then the synopsis is a snap and I have a guide for the rest of the book. Even if that outline changes a little, I still have a chapter by chapter summary of where I need to take my characters.

I'm not a fast writer, but so far this month I have written around 8K words, finished novella 1, outlined and wrote a synopsis for novella 2, and started writing chapter 1 for novella 2. I'm hoping to make a great addition to my word count this weekend.

Jenny Blake said...

Im still amazed at Patty, If I write anything long hand I spend the next several hours wondering what I wrote!
Oh I am told I would have written wonderful essays if the teacher could read my writing!
My mind was faster than my writing and it wasn't easy to read at the best of times. I can actually type faster than I write but still often miss words.

Right now fingers are sore (someone's been in the jungle although its looking more like a garden now) I figure lovely day (been doing for a couple of weeks) but lovely day and it helps to distract me from my pain. Well I can dream anyway (sorry bad pain day). Saw the dr and got news they found something in the gall bladder besides stones and we are still working out what tests he wanted (although we think one was chest x-ray which we have done and it was clear). Also being referred to another specialist but she was still trying to find out who so the visit kinda went of topic. I was hoping for a change of med or something to help but will have to wait till next time and just handle it like I have been. But I digress. On a plus side trying something new for the neck pain and it seems to be helping.

Dianna Shuford said...

By the way, Debby, I'll try to show my face at your booksigning. I've written it down so I won't forget. I'll have my grandson with me so you'll get to meet him.

Autumn said...

Thanks for the fab post and all the tips, Debby!

I've been using Scrivener for a few months and LOVE it. Being able to have all my research in one place, plan the story out more, and make all those notes in the Inspector for each scene is great.

I also use an old Alphasmart bought cheap on ebay, add a £1 kitchen timer and it's perfect when I need to write fast draft and want to bypass my usual bad tendency to edit as I go.

I still like Word for some things too, those note bubble things are so cool for editing!

Piper, I haven't tried seeing if I can download straight from the Alphie into Scrivener, it may be possible as my understanding is that the Alphie should work with any word processor or text editor. But it's not hard to import from a Word file into Scrivener, there's an "Import file" option.

Carol Moncado said...

I'm trying to be coherent enough to write up some points about Aeon Timeline...

1. It annoys the daylights out of me that it doesn't do recent files when you pin it to your taskbar ;). Yeah. I know. Minor details. But it does :D. Annoy me that is.

2. If you have a Mac, you can use it with Scrivener. Since I don't use a Mac, I'm not sure how it works, but you can import the data into your Scrivener program.

3. You can add characters and tell at a glance how old a character is at a certain time. In one of my manuscripts, I had to figure out a whole bunch of stuff - like how long my hero had been in New York and if it was even possible based on what I'd already said. And if it was possible [if he was 20 in September 2001 and still 20 on Christmas 2001 - so if he moved right after high school, when did he move there?] when [roughly] would his birthday have to be for him to graduate which year [did he have a mid-summer birthday, so he was actually 17 when he graduated? Or was he nearly 19?]. By just changing one data point [his birthday - the 2001 dates were already set in stone] a few times, I could figure out how long he lived in NYC before moving home Christmas 2001. And so on.

4. With those characters, you can mark who is involved with the event. Who is at it and who is observing [I use observing for who is mentioned].

5. There's one 'global' timeline, but you can also break it down by storylines. So if you have a main story for your h/h and a secondary story for the bad guy - but they're never in the same place at the same time, you can see where your hero is while your bad guy is doing x. Do you accidentally have the heroine at the hardware store while the baddie is there? May not be a big deal because they could be there at the same time and never see each other, but you'd probably rather not have your heroine buying new flowers while your bad guy looks for duct tape and shovels. Or at least know the bad guy needs to be avoiding her.

6. I'm told [though I have done so], you can do a sort of select all thing and drag/drop the whole timeline. Say you've got the events spaced the way you want them but instead of spring, it should be fall. You can drag them along the timeline and it'll move everything you've selected.

7. I'm also told if you're like me and don't really need the separate storyline deals, you can use them for different books with the global one as your overall timeline. So you don't accidentally end up with your heroine from book 1 announce her pregnancy in book 2 and still be pregnant with baby #1 at the end of book 3, 18mos later... [In fact, if you add the baby as a character [and observer at different events], it'll tell you s/he's -4mos old etc.]

How's that? I'm probably better equipped to answer questions tonight than come up with info of my own ;).

Carol Moncado said...

I also "ran into" Glynna Kaye at Walmart tonight...

And she jumped into my cart ;).

Debby Giusti said...

Yay, LoRee. You've been able to turn off the internal proofreader. That's huge. Glad you're enjoying the journey. :)

Debby Giusti said...

Dianna,
I like how you start the new scene or chapter and then stop for the night/session/whatever. Good tip!

A brief outline helps me too!

Sounds as if you've been succeeding at SpeedBo. Congrats on your progress on all fronts.

Looking forward to seeing you on the 27th...and your little one too!

Hugs!

Debby Giusti said...

Jenny, sending prayers for your pain. Sorry to hear you're having problems.

Hugs!

Debby Giusti said...

Autumn, another AlphaSmart user!!! And a timer girl! YAY! We're thinking alike.

Thanks for the info about Scrivener too!

Glad you found a couple writing tips to use.

Hugs!

Jenny Blake said...

thanks Debby I dont need to be entered for this book as I have it.

I am just having a bad day today but it will pass. I just have to keep thinking im one day closer to answers also HOPE (Hold on pain ends)

Jeanne T said...

DEBBY—In answer to your question: EXHAUSTED. :) But in a good way. :)

Mary Curry said...

What a great post, Debby. Thanks for all the varied suggestions. I'm particularly in need of a fast write tonight because I just got home from a long day of parent-teacher conferences (at 9:45) and still have my Speedbo goal to meet for today.

Honestly the idea of jumping from 2k to 10k terrifies me. I'm bookmarking that site to go back and read later. Thanks!

Debby Giusti said...

I'm having wifi issues...

Carol, thanks for the info about the timeline program. Sounds amazing.

How fun that you saw Glynna! Oh my gosh. I didn't know you two lived close.

Debby Giusti said...

Jenny, thanks for getting my book. I'm HOPE-ing for you too.

Hugs!

Debby Giusti said...

Ah, duh. Carol, I must be tired. Re-read your comment about Glynna. LOL at myself!

Debby Giusti said...

A good Mommy exhaustion, right, Jeanne!

I remember those days. So much fun. Enjoy...and get some rest.

Debby Giusti said...

Mary, you're so dedicated. Parent-teacher conferences and still determined to make your quota!

I'm cheering you on!

Terri said...

Thanks for these great tips! I have to stay away from email and Facebook. If I'm not careful I spend too much time playing and not enough writing. Have a word count goal really motivates me.

Wilani Wahl said...

Woohoo my word count is now at 12,000. I just finished writing a wedding scene which was so fun to write.

Thanks, Julie for the way you write and how that has influenced me in the words I used while describing the wedding kiss.

This whole experience is wonderful. Thank you all for your encouragement.

Emily Neyer said...

Debby-As a newbie to the writing world I am not sure I have any words of wisdom on being fast. I don't feel like I am fast. I did have a couple of days that were good days, but those have been few and far between. And today I am getting nothing done. However I loved all of the tips and I intend to keep them in mind when I get going again. Thanks for the tips.

Oh, I did get an alphasmart but ihabrnt tried using it yet. Maybe this weekend when I am at my niece's Winterguard competition.

Debby Giusti said...

Hi Terri!

Social media does demand time. Better not to even log on when I've got work to do! :)

Debby Giusti said...

Congrats, Wilani, for being so productive!

Debby Giusti said...

Emily, let me know what you think of your Alpha after you give it a try. Remember you just keep writing!

Hugs!

Carol Garvin said...

I'm a slow-but-steady writer and long ago came to terms with not chalking up large word counts at each sitting. Yes, I'd love to write faster, but just managing 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo (less than 2000/day) leaves me frazzled at the end of the month. All these tips are great, however, so I'm going to give them a try.

First, though, I have to get some of that Speedbo breakfast for an energy boost -- maybe just coffee and a biscuit with a slice of ham. Seekerville has the greatest hosts!! :D

Mary Preston said...

As a reader it is fascinating to read through all the different processes.

Janet Kerr said...

Thank you for a great compilation of tips!
Jan

Debby Giusti said...

Hi Carol,

So glad you're a Seekerville regular. Always good seeing you here. Congrats on the NaNoWriMo success!

Debby Giusti said...

Hi Mary and Janet,
Thanks for stopping by the blog.

Joanne Hill said...

What a terrific post, some of the best tips on writing fast I've seen. Thank you!! Will be needed if I get further in Killer Voices.
I have an Alphasmart but I just never really have taken to it, not sure why, really, when I wanted one for so long before I got it.

Debby Giusti said...

Joanne, good luck with Killer Voices! Let us know how you do.

Patricia W said...

Great tips, everyone. Scrivener is helping a lot. I wrote my outline in Word, then copied it into Scrivener, but I'm writing the scenes in Scrivern. Having it keeps me focused without having to look too far ahead. Yet, I'm not writing as fast as I've done in the past during NaNo. Taking a little time to think through where I am in the story and what needs to happen next feels like it's leading to better words on the page than just plowing ahead. Add a semi-not too comfy working environment, pitcher of water, and one or two small snacks handy, just in case.

May the K9 Spy (and KC Frantzen) said...

Super neat stuff, Debby.

I'm a research junkie - still wondering how to reconcile all this together.

More planning needed obviously!

Change is HARD for me, but will definitely save time. Thanks for gathering this info into one spot. :)

Edwina said...

I use the highlighter feature to indicate where I need to go back to edit, add more info, etc. I'll also make notes in the margins to help me remember what I was going to change at that point in the story.

Sabastian Medina said...

Your Alphasmart *DOES* in fact have a "word count" feature -- press the "control" key + "W".

You're welcome.

:)

Sabastian Medina said...

Your Alphasmart *DOES* in fact have a "word count" feature -- press the "control" key + "W".

You're welcome.

:)

Sabastian Medina said...

NOTE: Your Alphasmart *DOES* in fact have a "word count" display feature -- just press the "Control" and "W" keys.

You're welcome!

:)

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