The Fastest Way to Write Your Book

Chapter 1 - Introduction

Welcome to The Fastest Way To Write Your Book. Here's the plan: we're aiming to spend one week coming up with The Big Idea, researching it, planning the book and creating an outline. We'll then spend three weeks writing the first draft. That's zero to finished first draft in under a month. Not bad, eh? We'll still have to edit it and polish it of course, so allow another week or two for that. And then we have to sell it - as quickly as possible. That, in a nutshell, is what this book is all about.

You'll need to undertake a certain amount of preparatory work. That doesn't mean preparing the book in advance; it means preparing yourself. You might need to learn a new skill, such as touch-typing, or improve an existing skill, such as learning to type faster.

This book will guide you through over two hundred techniques that will allow you to write a book in the fastest possible time. The process won't necessarily be an easy one, but it will be fun, and the potential rewards are enormous. Imagine writing ten bestselling books in a year. Or twenty in two years.

You certainly won't need to use all the techniques in this book. Around twenty should be enough if you choose the right ones. Somewhere in this book is the perfect combination of techniques for you. It's up to you to decide what they are, then study them, master them, and put them into practice.

This book is for:

  • Those who would like (or need) to write a book but can't seem to find the time.
  • Writers who want (or need) to build up a large body of work very quickly.
  • Writers who don't want to spend several hours a day slaving over a word processor.

You can use this book whether you're an accomplished writer or a complete beginner. Everything you need to know is explained as you go along, so you don't need any previous knowledge or writing experience.

Although the book doesn't set out to teach you how to write, it does cover many of the essential skills. If you'd like to develop these skills further there are plenty of excellent writing tutorials and courses available. You'll find details of some of these in the Resources section.

If you'd rather let your story develop slowly and find its own way while you write at a leisurely pace then this book isn't really for you. But you should still find most of it interesting, and hopefully you'll pick up some new tips.

* * *

Back in the mid 1980s, I wrote two novels. They weren't very good, and the three publishers I sent them to rejected them. Each book took nine months to write. Since then I've started and abandoned two more - and learnt how to write. The first draft of my fifth novel is just about finished. It needs an extensive rewrite but I don't have time to do it. The whole thing is sitting in my head getting in the way of other thoughts. I need to get it written and out of my system.

The idea of starting was that I could run the website in only one or two weeks per month, leaving the rest of the time free for writing. It didn't work out that way of course. ideas4writers is in constant development and I still don't have any free time for writing. But at least I now get to choose my own working hours.

Meanwhile, not only is this fifth novel cluttering up my brain, but I've had a great idea for a sixth one too - and a seventh and eighth. But novel number six is topical - I need to get it written and published before a certain forthcoming event happens.

It was obvious that if I wanted to write books and run ideas4writers and still have a life then I needed to find some other way of doing it.

I'd already read about people who had written their books quickly. According to The Guinness Book of Records, Barbara Cartland wrote twenty-six books in 1983 - that's one every two weeks. And according to the Encyclopaedia Britannica she wrote a staggering 723 books in her entire career. Ray Bradbury freely admits that he completed the first draft of Fahrenheit 451 in nine and a half days. According to Terence Blacker in his book Kill Your Darlings, Jack Kerouac wrote The Subterraneans in three days. Georges Simenon allowed himself six days to write a Maigret novel. Walter Scott finished two Waverley novels in three weeks. Ernest Hemingway, D.H. Lawrence and Evelyn Waugh all completed a novel in six weeks. These examples prove it can be done. I've mentioned other examples later in the book.

Then there's National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), which takes place each November. The aim is to write a 50,000-word novel in thirty days. That sounds great, but most entrants just abandon their lives for the month and "write like hell". Only fifteen percent of entrants actually finish their novel by the deadline. The other issue I have with NaNoWriMo is that the organisers freely admit writing this way is "stupid" and the result will be "crap". According to them, "aiming low is the best way to succeed". I disagree in the strongest possible way. If I'm going to spend thirty valuable days writing my novel then I expect it to be as good as I could possibly write, regardless of the timescale. I'd also want my novel to be a full-length one - 80,000 words or more - not a 50,000 mini-novel that would be virtually impossible to sell. I'm obviously going to need a better strategy than "writing like hell" and "aiming low".

Even more extreme is Canada's three-day novel writing contest, but that's just plain crazy. I can't offer you any help there except "write like hell". Or don't do it.

A poke around the internet revealed several websites offering courses and manuals telling you how you - yes, you! - could write a book in fourteen days or twenty-one days or twenty-eight days. All would be revealed in return for an enormous fee. Further research revealed that most of these were scams.

That made me even more determined to find the secret - or secrets. I'd already discovered some of the basic techniques while researching ideas for ideas4writers. All I needed to do was to put all the pieces together - and come up with a lot more ideas. Then I wanted to actually write a book using these methods to prove to myself that it worked.

Well, I'm delighted to tell you that it does work. This book took just twenty-three days from initial idea to completed first draft. And I managed to achieve all that without making any changes to my lifestyle.

I'm certain that if I can do this then so can you. So I offer you this book, which serves as proof that the methods within it really work. I hope it brings you great success - please let me know if it does.

By the way, if you want to enter the next NaNoWriMo do bear in mind that you'll have an unfair advantage over the other entrants.