Speedbo is about writing FAST.
I am not fast. (Interpret that any way you wish.)
When I was in school I loved ciphering matches and spelldowns, and had only a couple of serious competitors among my classmates. But that speed doesn't apply to my writing. I am in awe of those of you who can produce a book in a month. But I can’t do it!
I have two passions—writing and music. I love gospel and sacred music, cantatas, octavos, and a good concert or marching band. Oom pah pah!!! I also love a well written book. And I see parallels between writing and music.
Presto - very fast
Allegro - fast, but not as fast as presto
Allegretto - a little faster than moderato
Moderato - medium
Andante - moderately slow
Adagio - slow
Largo - very slow & broad
I read somewhere that most good writers think faster than they can type, and most bad writers type faster than they can think. Oops! I’m in trouble. My tempo falls somewhere between moderato and snail's pace—with frequent fermatas (pauses) and rests.
Here's my typical tempo through a book.
1. I begin with a basic idea, setting and time period. Then I I develop the beginning of a basic story line.
2. I write a chapter, at largo tempo,which is slow and broad. It means a more intense application of energy, a slow pace that can be a pace of wisdom. I allow myself as much time and revisions as needed. Once I’m satisfied that I’ve covered all the necessary elements—GMC, who, what, when, where, why, and established the setting and main characters—I move on. I don’t edit any more until I have a complete first draft, but I keep a check list for when that time arrives.
3. I write two more chapters. By now my tempo is adagio, which means at ease. It implies not only a tempo but a quality of movement. A correct balance and flow of energy and crativity can be achieved here. I set myself a quota, typically a chapter a week. Yes, I realize that you speedsters will find that very modest, but it works for me. If done consistently, it will result in a Heartsong length book within 3-4 months. And it’s doable without stressing the joy out of writing for me.
4. When I have three chapters, I stop and develop a skeleton outline for the rest of the book. Then I set my sights on the complete story and continue writing.
5. About the time I reach the mid-point, I start building speed poco a poco (little by little). Andante is moderately slow but flowing, at a walking tempo. Walking is the means of going from one point to another, placing one foot before the other and ultimately completing a journey. So is the walk of writing. Place one word after another, and you will eventually have a book.
6. Moderato. Allegretto. Allegro, which means cheerful. I’m picking up speed. I have my characters firmly in mind now, and I'm like the cows on the way to water. When they smell it, they begin to run. When I "smell" the end, I hit allegro, then presto. I crank out multiple chapters a week.
When the first draft is finished, I draw a deep breath, put it aside and tackle a major task totally unrelated to writing—like cleaning my house. Then I move back to snail’s pace and start editing. But a snail’s pace is not necessarily bad. Although a snail moves at a “sluggish” pace, it has the virtue of perseverance. According to the apostle Paul, perseverance is a key component in character development. He explained that “tribulations produces perseverance” in Romans 5:3. And upon that building block go character and hope. The original Greek word “perseverance” means “steadfastness, constancy, and endurance.” God doesn’t ask for a fast finish, only persevering progress.
We all have different methods and tempos, and that’s fine. The thing that’s important is that, as Christian writers, we write so that our works will glorify our Father in heaven.
Set a tempo that’s reachable so you won’t develop a pattern of failure that will discourage you. But make it a tempo that will challenge you.
Be consistent. Persevere and finish! Finished projects result in submissions.
My debut release, Ozark Sweetheart, took about six months to complete. Of course, it was written to fit the LIH guidelines, and the completed manuscript was 73,500 words. Cutting it to 50,000 was such fun. (touch of sarcasm there) The book is dedicated to my mother, whose notes about her experiences growing up in the depression provided the inspiration for the series.
The sequels took about four months each, but by that time I had the incentive of writing to the instructions of an editor. And I find writing sequels faster because I already have so
much backstory and setting researched and established.
What tempo works best for you? Share with us.
CALLIE BLAKE CAN'T AFFORD TO FALL IN LOVE
She's too busy helping her family survive the Depression. When she returns home to their Missouri farm, she sees her childhood crush, Trace Gentry, and it stirs up old dreams she tries hard to ignore. Trace is kind, handsome and wealthy. He'd never be interested in a poor girl like her—would he?
Successful businessman Trace is crazy about Callie, and he knows she thinks she's not good enough for him. But he's clueless how to woo her. Until he devises a plan that will prove his love to Callie and make all her dreams come true.
Ozark Sweetheart can be found here.
Bio: Helen Gray lives in SE Missouri with her pastor husband of 49 3/4 years. A retired business teacher and church music director, she happily spends her time making up stories--which makes her three grown children think she's slightly nuts. But that's all right. She's growing old graysfully.
Today Helen is giving away a print copy of her debut release, Ozark Sweetheart to one commenter. Winner announced in the Weekend Edition!
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