Novel writing intensives
are great ways to
build yourself as a writer
I recently got back from a novel writing intensive with acclaimed authors Steven James and Robert Dugoni. It was amazing.
The intensive was held on Whidbey Island in Washington, which was a beautiful place for a writer’s imagination to go wild. Or as Anne of Green Gables would say, “So much scope for the imagination.” I love quoting her.
Old school. I print out the book I’m working on and then make changes by hand, type those in, then go at it again. I find that when I edit on the computer screen, I just don’t catch as much and my prose becomes bloviated. I do some free writing on my keyboard, but all of my editing has to be done by hand or my story suffers.
2. While on a deadline, how do you stay on top of your edits?
Well, over the last decade I can’t think of a time when I haven’t been under a deadline, so I suppose this is an easy question to answer—I work as hard as I can and try not to sweat it. I have a sign in my office that says, “Focus on progress not deadlines.” And I suppose that’s my philosophy—keep plugging forward and don’t let stress interfere with the story.
3. About how many chapters do you aim to finish in a day?
I typically don’t go by word count or chapter length, rather, I time myself and shoot for a certain number of hours. (The goal each day varies on my other obligations and where I’m at in the project, but it’s usually 5-8 hours.) I actually have a stopwatch and when I get up to get a cup of coffee I stop the clock and only let it run when I’m actually working on my manuscript. In addition to this writing and editing, I work in my other obligations (like answering blog questions, email, interviews, etc…). I write most days
4. How long (week wise) do you edit for?
This isn’t meant to be a smart-ass answer, but until the book is done. When I can’t improve a book anymore, then it’s done, then I’m through editing. If I can improve it then I make the necessary changes. Most of my books take me between six and eighteen months writing full-time, depending on how long they are.