Please, say it isn’t so!!
Well, now that I have that out of my system, February is the month of deep snow (out west), Valentines and love (for all), and the preparation month for Speedbo (in the land of Seekerville). NaNoWriMo (the National Novel Writing Month challenge) is so last year, LOL. Let’s look ahead and prepare for the writing adventure that is Speedbo!
What is Speedbo? Much like NaNo, it’s a month of speed writing to get as many words down on paper (or onto screen and hard drive) as possible towards a completed book. Just blurt it out and fix it later. We can’t fix something we haven’t written yet, right? So in anticipation of Speedbo March, I’m asking you to think ahead – not to plot or create character development or anything deep like that – but simple determine the projected length of manuscript you plan to fit your story into.
Yes, Speedbo is all about the words and quantity, but a little planning comes in handy to guide you along the way. Remember, we’re about to invest an entire month of concentrated writing towards a piece we can than revise and buff up and someday hand over to editors. So, do you know what your target market is? The idea of “let’s just see what shakes out” can be a problem down the road when you’re shaping up the rough draft. Why?
Because length matters.
The length of a manuscript, be it measured in words (10K – 150K) or by style (category, novella, single title) determines many different facets of story development. If you head into a dedicated month of writing and you’re not certain what line or manner of book you’re targeting, you’re starting out the gate with an unnecessary handicap.
Let’s start with pace. I don’t know if you’ve heard, but some of the Seekers recently contributed to a pair of novella collections, Hope For The Holidays – contemporary and historical (couldn’t resist the blatant plug). This was the first time I had attempted to write a novella. 65K contemporaries? 100K historicals? I’m fine with the confines dictated by these lengths. But a 15K – 25K novella? I’ve got to admit, it turned out much more difficult than I thought. I don’t know how many times my CP, very gently, reminded me that novella must be all about the romance. If you’re going to complete a rough draft in a month, don’t waste time on unnecessary details, or in the other direction, make sure you weave in all of the subplot points from the beginning to ensure continuity.
Depending on the length of the targeted word count, your style will change, too. Take time to dabble in all the description and mood setting you’d like if you’re writing 100K book. The interior designer in me loves painting a picture around my characters which I have license to do in my historicals. Talk about fun! But, if you’re whipping out an idea for a category romance, don’t meander too much. 60K goes by in a rush!
Writing short or long also determines how and when you introduce important facts, clues, people and of course, the black moment. Going back to pacing for minute, don’t be fooled by the amount of words you have when you’re writing a single title. Every word, every action, every plot point has to count, and they all have to tie together in the final version. At the end of your writing time each day take a quick look over what you’ve written, not with an eye toward revision, but with anticipation of upcoming plot points and issues. In a way, this will help you determine ahead of time what to write the next day. I realize we’re writing fast and sloppy in March, but if you keep your story elements in the back of your mind and make note of them while you write (the writing program Scrivener gives you options and places to make note of details while you write so you don’t forget them), when April comes and you’re ready for revising, you won’t be looking back and saying, “now why did I say that?”
Same holds true for novella length and short category. Read over your words at the end of the day. Let your mind mull over the new twists and turns for the next time you sit down to write. My brain needs a little bit of a warm up before starting my writing time. I’ve never been able to journal to get the creative juices running. But if I write down a couple of notes at the end of my writing session, my brain starts to churn over the possibilities and the words come easier and faster the next time I sit down to write. Of course, I probably toss and delete many more words and ideas than the average person, but the system works for me.
And isn’t that what it all boils down to? What works for you. We want you to achieve your goals and beyond during our month of Speedbo. Comradery, cheering, prizes, and of course, FOOD all play into the upcoming festive month of writing. A little planning ahead of time never hurts.
So, has anyone thought over a project for Speedbo? Share! Let's work together!
And for a little incentive to get those creative juices flowing, leave a comment and your name will be tossed in the cowboy hat for a $10 Amazon card!
Check out this weather -- Tuesday we had temps hit 62 degrees, yesterday we had a snowstorm, today we're expecting a high of 65 degrees. Crazy, eh? So, celebrate the diversity that is the Front Range of Colorado, I have a spread of fruit and yogurt parfaits for those who would like to think spring, and a walnut, cranberry, orange peel oatmeal for those living in the dregs of winter.
And of course, bottomless coffee, tea and hot cocoa!!