How I Went from 1,000 Words a Day to 7,000 Words a Day

by Guest Blogger on June 27, 2013 · 2 comments

in Contemporary, G-I, Guest Blogger, Writing Tips

sophie hill summer girlGuest Blog by Sophie Hill, author of Summer Girl

Hi, I’m Sophie Hill, author of the New Adult romance “Summer Girl.” I’m super excited to be a featured author here! Today I’m going to write about a subject near and dear to my pocketbook, which is:

The Need For Speed

There’s a truism for authors who are struggling to market their book. It goes: What’s the best advertisement for your new book? Answer: your next book.

Or: Your front list sells your back list.

You get the idea. Readers are voracious, especially romance readers, and if they like what you’ve written, they want more. If you’re an author who’s trying to make a living with your writing – and aren’t we all – then you will want to make sure that your readers have plenty to choose from.

Now, for many years, I was a newspaper reporter, pounding out copy every single day for my voracious editors. Three to five stories a day was my average, usually on a wide variety of subjects.

So, you’d think that it would be easy for me to churn out thousands of words a day without blinking an eye, right?

Well, up until recently, not so much.

I wrote a series of BBW romances under another pen name, and it was a struggle for me to write at a pace that I found acceptable. And profitable. It was taking me a couple of months per book to write fairly short books. And as more and more authors join the self-publishing revolution and more and more books flood the Amazon marketplace every day, I found that my books would drop in ranking faster and faster. I needed to find a way to pick up the pace to maintain a decent sales ratio.

Now, I used to be firmly in the “pantser” camp. I’d avoided plotting my works out in advance for years, but I finally decided to take a stab at plotting my stories from beginning to end. It was stressful. Sometimes it made my head hurt. But, finally, desperate to increase my output, I made myself take the time to plot out the entire book from beginning to end. And the results were magic.

No more writers block, no more 300-word days, no more writing myself into a corner and then scrapping 10,000 words. I literally averaged 6,000 words a day and finished a book in a freakishly fast two weeks. (Note: this doesn’t count editing time.)

Now, “plotting out the book in advance” means different things to different people. Alexandra Sokoloff has an excellent book on plotting, which involves index cards, among other things. I do it a little differently. For me, I identify my main characters, their backgrounds and how it’s affected them and made them the person they are today, what they want to accomplish, what’s standing in the way, the “all is lost” moment of the story, and any timeline issues that I need to get straight. Then, I write at least a sentence or two for each scene of the book. When I run into an obstacle, I make myself stop and figure it out at the plotting stage, rather than realizing 30,000 words in that I’ve got a major plot hole.

Another tip: I set a time for 20 minutes, write like crazy for that 20 minutes, and always try write at least 600-700 words in that time. When the 20 minutes is up I usually get up and take a break for a few minutes, walk around, jog in place, take the dogs out...I come back refreshed, and start over. It helps keep me focused. During that 20 minutes I don't let myself surf the internet, check email, move from my seat; I just type.

And that is how I finished “Summer Girl”, currently ranking no. 98 on the New Adult/College Romance bestsellers list on Amazon, in ten days.

Do you have any tips or tricks to get more writing done? I’d love to hear them!

Visit my website: http://www.authorsophiehill.blogspot.com.

Book Blurb: The girls of summer never stay, and that’s just how Slade Monroe likes it. Every summer the tiny beachside town of Hidden Cove, North Carolina is flooded with wealthy tourists, with their money and their arrogance and their promise of casual flings. And to Slade, bouncer, brawler, heartbreaker, they’re the perfect way to drown his pain and quiet the demons roaring in his head.

But Heather Tremaine is different. Quietly beautiful, deeply hurt, she’s a mystery that Slade finds himself desperately needing to solve. When he realizes that she’s on a quest for the truth about her past, a quest that will take her into dangerous territory, he’s determined to protect her at all costs. But Heather not the only one with secrets…and the last time Slade tried to protect someone he loved, it cost him everything. Will he fight for his love, or will his Summer Girl fade like the seasons?

By the end of the summer, Heather will find out that the truth is more shocking than anything she’d ever anticipated…and she’ll make a choice that will change all of their lives forever.

Buy: Summer Girl

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Helena Newbury June 27, 2013 at 4:08 AM

Awesome post. I underwent pretty much the same transformation once I started religiously plotting everything out in advance. It completely gets rid of “writer’s block”. I don’t think I could pants-it if I tried.

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2 Angie Sargenti June 27, 2013 at 12:23 PM

Hi, Sophie!
I really enjoyed reading your post. I, too, have struggled with the issues of low output and writer’s block. I’ve avoided doing the plotting thing, because it seemed boring and a waste of time, but your article has inspired me to give it a try. Thanks for the help!
Angie

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