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View Full Version : How to write a book in five days



fivetoesten
11-21-2013, 09:28 PM
Book sprint at Google Summer of Code Doc Camp (http://opensource.com/life/13/11/book-sprint-doc-camp-2013)

Have any of you guys ever participated in a book sprint?

jjdebenedictis
11-21-2013, 10:53 PM
No, but I did the three-day novel writing contest once.

That was brutal enough and not really enough time to write much more than a novella.

Five days would be enough time, but I think I'd lose it. I was already running out of sanity and endurance by day three.

MookyMcD
11-21-2013, 11:03 PM
Nanowriteweek?

oakbark
11-22-2013, 12:06 AM
Nanowriteweek?

:hi: I haven't started mine yet! It has evolved into a procrastinational experiment.

sassandgroove
11-22-2013, 12:13 AM
I haven't quite done that but for Nano I count on the thanksgiving break to do the bulk of my writing.

EMaree
11-22-2013, 12:57 AM
Man, I couldn't do that. I did a first draft in 21 days (while still working full-time) and that sapped my energy for the entire month afterwards.

Persei
11-22-2013, 01:04 AM
Yeah, you write a book in five days and spend the rest of the year trying to assemble energy to write again. At least that's what would happen to me. I never push myself too hard or else I'll regret it later ):

But I am waiting eagerly to hear stories about such feats.

AshleyEpidemic
11-22-2013, 01:26 AM
The sound of that is just so unappealing to me. I can only imagine a dazed, hungry, and sleep deprived me wandering blindly on the street, muttering about how I only had 50k left. If I have no obligations, a lot of drive, and even more sleep I can manage 6k. Maybe even 7k (I did 6.8 once and felt like a dead person for a few days after). That adds up to 21k max. No way I could write a whole novel. That would require a writing performance drug.

Pterofan
11-22-2013, 01:56 AM
Such a drug exists. It's called caffeine.

EMaree
11-22-2013, 02:37 AM
I wish caffeine had that effect on me. Or anything. I've had half a tub of Ben & Jerry's tonight and all I can do is listen to pop music over and over and over.

Xelebes
11-22-2013, 02:57 AM
I wish caffeine had that effect on me. Or anything. I've had half a tub of Ben & Jerry's tonight and all I can do is listen to pop music over and over and over.

The dog goes bow wow but what does the fox say?

benbradley
11-22-2013, 03:44 AM
Book sprint at Google Summer of Code Doc Camp (http://opensource.com/life/13/11/book-sprint-doc-camp-2013)

Have any of you guys ever participated in a book sprint?
This appears to be a group effort (yes, I read the link) to write a non-fiction instructional book (which jibes with the Google Summer of Code thing), pretty different from the usual novel thing. Also, I'm guessing each person only wrote a fraction of the book, even if all participants read it over.

I know people who have done the #50kday November 1 for Nanowrimo (by having quite good typing speed, and staying up and writing for 24 hours), and then go on to write another 50-200k for the month.

A couple years ago I wrote 9.7k the last day of Nanowrimo to hit 50k. With what I've written so far, I'll need at least four of those days this month.

fivetoesten
11-22-2013, 04:57 AM
Also, I'm guessing each person only wrote a fraction of the book

by the end of the five days they wrote three books, which is even more impressive. A colloborative effort like this could produce a novel, couldn't it? It would be cool to see how such a novel would turn out.

Ok, you write this. You write that. Go!

gothicangel
11-22-2013, 12:21 PM
I have no interest in doing that. It takes me about three months to write a first draft. I do a minimal outline, and like to spend hours daydream about plot twists etc, most get binned, but now and again I have one that is awesome. I need to be absorbed in the story to get that.

Becky Black
11-22-2013, 01:28 PM
The most sprinting I can do is for NaNoWriMo. I did 107k for it one year (note to self - never attempt this again unless I no longer have the day job.) But even that was only maybe a couple of thousand words on work days and extra on weekends and holiday days, which isn't all that much. I'm a slow typist with a day job and I got there.

I have written 10k in one day and then 7k the day after. But I can't really sustain that for long. A steady 2 k a day, sure. 10 in a weekend, fine. But if I try to get 6, 7, 8k for too many days in a row I burn out and can't write for a few days. My brain just turns to sludge and I need a couple of days off to recover, do I don't really gain much.

Pisco Sour
11-22-2013, 03:18 PM
Wow. Sounds impressive, but what is the quality like for a book written so quickly? If someone can write a full-length novel and not compromise on texture and depth in such a short time then I take my hat - and everything else - off to them!

I type very fast, and my first 2 novels were written in under one month. They ended up being paired down, re-drafted, re-written, edited and re-edited ad nauseum for the next 3 months. Drove me nuts, but at least they were picked up by a good publisher.

With current wip I am forcing myself to take it slower, hoping I will produce a more thoughtful, better written first draft. One which will need less re-writes and therefore inspire less tequila-fuelled meltdowns.

EMaree
11-22-2013, 04:06 PM
There's some ridiculously impressive NaNoWriMo wordcounts happening over in AW's NaNo Overachievers (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=280724) thread. Ashley has a goal of 150k this month, Gena 100k, and quite a few others at the 75k-80k mark. They all seem to be on track as well.

I dunno how they do it, but I suspect they might all be magical, superhuman beings. Possibly demigods.

PulpDogg
11-22-2013, 04:29 PM
I dunno how they do it,

At a guess I would say lots of preparation and a high typing speed.

NeuroFizz
11-22-2013, 04:46 PM
Have any of you guys ever participated in a book sprint?

I can't think of a single reason why I would want to do such a thing. Writing is a cerebral, creative activity. It isn't a race that goes to the swift. I put a lot of thinking time into my stories, and I like to think through every single scene before a sit down to write. Unless I have a deadline for a project, I reserve ticking clocks for inclusion WITHIN my stories, not in their construction.

Persei
11-22-2013, 04:48 PM
At a guess I would say lots of preparation and a high typing speed.

For sure. Having the whole novel figured out really helped me to achieve a high word count.

Cathy C
11-22-2013, 04:52 PM
The best I've ever done is 18 days. I had been bitten by a brown recluse multiple times and was on heavy drugs and unable to walk on the leg. If I didn't the book to the publisher on time, we would lose our pub slot for the season. It wasn't a pretty few days, but it was a complete 100K book.

bookworm92
11-22-2013, 07:40 PM
The most I've ever written in one sitting, as someone who's just starting out. About 4 pages on an A4 notebook, maybe more. (My laptop wasn't working at that time).

I'm quite proud of it, as I tend to have small handwriting. And when I typed it out later, it came close to 1k words.

Nowhere near any other other counts I see on this thread.

WriterBN
11-22-2013, 07:50 PM
NaNo is hard enough (actually, not possible for me this year) so I can't even begin to imagine what a sprint like that would require.

If I could put the rest of my life on hold for a week, maybe...

lilyWhite
11-23-2013, 08:08 AM
I honestly think I could pull that off. But in order to do that, I'd have to do nothing but writeŚno girlfriending, no gaming, no surfing, no going out, nothing.

Which brings me to the biggest question regarding something like this: why? Why rush to write a book? Does finishing a book in five days make it better than a book that was finished in five months? Or five weeks, even? The only advantage to writing a book in five days seems to be being able to say, "Teeheehee I wrote a book in five days!"

Then again, I suppose it's like people who memorize glitches and fastest routes through levels to speedrun games, even when the game doesn't give you anything of any sort as a reward/bonus for speedrunning. Some people must find that fun, I suppose. I just don't see how.

jjdebenedictis
11-23-2013, 08:44 AM
I'm quite proud of it, as I tend to have small handwriting. And when I typed it out later, it came close to 1k words.

Nowhere near any other other counts I see on this thread.I find it pretty challenging to get a thousand words per day written. I've managed it for a few weeks at a time, but that took a lot of discipline and planning and it didn't feel like a natural pace for me. You should be proud of your 1k. :)

MookyMcD
11-23-2013, 10:13 AM
King writes 2,000 words a day, minimum. Hemingway ran about 25% of that. Charles Hamilton cranked out a million and a half words a year (writing under 20 odd pseudonyms), Erle Stanley Gardner of Perry Mason fame was another million a year guy. Tom Wolfe and JRR Tolkin wrote between 100 and 300 words a day.

They did what worked (or works) for them.

Old Hack
11-23-2013, 01:26 PM
I've written 60k or so in five days. It was over twenty years ago and I still have the RSI to prove it.

If you're going to participate in such a marathon, learn about RSI before you start and do all you can to protect yourself against it. It's a horrible thing to have, and it doesn't always go away with rest and care.

bookworm92
11-23-2013, 05:21 PM
King writes 2,000 words a day, minimum. Hemingway ran about 25% of that. Charles Hamilton cranked out a million and a half words a year (writing under 20 odd pseudonyms), Erle Stanley Gardner of Perry Mason fame was another million a year guy. Tom Wolfe and JRR Tolkin wrote between 100 and 300 words a day.

They did what worked (or works) for them.

I usually try to write 100 words per day. Sometimes, when I'm inspired, I can go up to 200. The 1k words count I mentioned earlier was an anomaly.

But the million words a year thing? That's like 2740 words per day. Even more intense than NaNoWriMo.

ladyleeona
11-25-2013, 11:01 PM
I'm in awe of people who can do stuff like that. I start a project for NaNo every year, but I never try and 'win'. I push myself to get ~15-20k over the month of November, and I try and have the first draft done by the time school starts in January. For me, that's being really productive. The most I've ever managed in a day was around 7k. It took me all day, I never moved, and I'm just happy I didn't end up with DVT. (Most of those words ended up getting cut, too.)

I've a friend who not only writes lightning-fast, but his rough drafts are gorgeous. Thing is, he's a plotter to the core. He knows every step of the way, because he's spent at least a couple weeks considering every. single. move. in the book.

I can't do that. I've tried. So I just cheer him--and all the other fast-drafters--on from the sidelines. Write on, folks. At whatever speed that might be. :)

MookyMcD
11-25-2013, 11:10 PM
I work from a rough outline, but my narrative arc is set before I start. I can type faster than I can think (i.e., dialogue unfolds in my mind more slowly than my fingers can put it on the page). In theory, I could write 10,000 words a day. But I write satirical humor. There is a massive drop-off in quality after about 4 hours. It's unrelated to the number of words I actually get out in that 4 hours, the time spent seems to be what puts up a barrier to quality for me.

It feels almost like I go into the process transferring the world onto the page but, after a certain amount of time, I run out of stuff from the world, and it's just a guy who writes writing. If that makes any sense.

StephanieZie
11-27-2013, 09:39 AM
I don't think I'm the type of person who can write a book quickly. I get an idea, start to flesh it out, and then I need to let it stew for a long time, changing and evolving and gaining depth, before it starts to take form.

I'm working at a reasonable speed of about 5k words a week on my current WIP, but I got the general idea for it years before I ever started to seriously work on it.

In short, I envy people who can crank out multiple good-quality books a year, but I am not one of them, and as long as I keep putting words on the page, I'm not too concerned with the speed of my progress.

Ferret
11-28-2013, 11:40 PM
I don't think I could do this, and I'm quite sure I wouldn't want to. Even NaNoWriMo is too fast-paced for me. I usually take about three to six months to produce a clean first draft. I like to edit as I go, and although I know some people advise against that, it works for me.

I can see how this sort of goal might be a good motivator for some people, though. Just not me.