Guest post by Amber Page, author of All’s Fair in Lust & War
Impossible, you say? Not at all. Insane, yes. But not impossible. I did it…and the manuscript sold (no one was more surprised than me).
Of course, in my case, there were extenuating circumstances. I entered my first chapter in a contest put on by Harlequin and then proceeded to…well, procrastinate. That’s what I do best. After all, there was no way they’d pick mine to go on to the next round!
But they did. And as much as I wanted to write back and say, “Wow, that’s great, butimnotdonesomaybenexttime,” the part of me that had always wanted to be published refused to give up so easily.
And so I wrote a book in five days. And you can too!
First, you’ll need some supplies.
For the writing:
- A yellow legal pad and pen
- A computer
- Scrivener (or other novel-writing software that lets you break things into chapters)
For the surviving:
- An easily accessible coffee pot
- Yerba mate (it’s like tea, but helps you focus better)
- Wine (or the alcoholic beverage of your choice)
- Red Bull (for when all else fails)
- Chocolate (duh)
- Tissues (there will be tears)
Once you’ve got your stuff, it’s time to set up shop. You will become an unbearably growly mess, so if you can isolate yourself in a hotel room or office, that would be best. But if you can’t? Well, my family made it out alive.
Now it’s time to get down to business.
Step One: Ready, Set, Outline!
Get out that yellow legal pad and outline every scene in every chapter. You might think this sounds like a waste of time, but believe you me, you don’t want to hit day three and realize you have no idea how to end the damn thing.
Outline. Every. Scene.
Step Two: Build the Framework
Using Scrivener, or Word, or Google Docs, or the word processing program of your choice, create folders for each chapter.
Then, within each chapter, create sub-folders for each scene. Once you’ve done this, transfer your handwritten notes from each scene into the folder.
Why? Because by day four you’re going to be so tired, you won’t be able to find your notebook. Even if it’s on your lap (says the voice of experience).
Step Three: Write, Writer, Write!
Before beginning, do whatever you have to do to silence the panicky voices in your head insisting what you’re about to do isn’t possible. It is. You can do this.
- Do set a timer to go off at one-hour intervals. It’s important to get up and stretch regularly.
- Don’t overthink it. It’s incredibly easy to go down rabbit holes looking for the perfect word or expression. Don’t.
- Don’t edit. It doesn’t matter what the words say at this point. You just need to get them down.
- Don’t let writer’s block have its way. If you find that a certain scene is refusing to be written, skip it and go on to the next one. You can come back and do it later.
- Don’t forget to eat. You need to keep your body functioning. Try not to give in to the urge to binge on junk food either. The last thing you need is to descend into a carb coma.
- Do let the emotions flow. You’ll get mad. You’ll get sad. You’ll be completely convinced that you are the worst writer on the planet and this is all an exercise in futility. It’s okay to feel the feelings. Just don’t let them stop you.
- Do create target word counts. Figure out how long your manuscript needs to be. Then divide that by five. That number is each day’s target.
- Do sleep. Even if it’s just for a couple of hours at a time. Your brain needs time to recharge.
- Do finish. That’s the whole point, right?
Once you’re done, celebrate a little. You achieved the nearly impossible! After all, most people take months to write a book. You did it in five days. Go you.
Then go get some sleep. You’re going to have a lot of editing to do in the morning.
Need some inspiration to get started or finish up? Check out my debut novel from Harlequin Kiss. It’s called All’s Fair in Lust & War and you can learn all about it, including how you can get your hands on it, on my website, amberpagebooks.com.
What happens in Vegas…is even hotter in New York!
After a fling in Vegas that was so wild even she can’t believe it happened, copywriter Becky has finally gotten her mojo back. Time to get back to New York and win that promotion!
But things veer catastrophically off course when her new coworker Mark saunters in…and he’s much too familiar. Even worse, Mark and Becky will be competing for the promotion—and he’s just as good in the boardroom as he was in bed! So what’s a girl to do when Mr. One Night becomes Mr. One-Desk-Away? Stand her ground, of course—if there’s going to be a war, she’s going to make sure she enjoys it!