• March 16, 2015

The Secret To My Writing Speed is Simple – It’s The Process

The Secret To My Writing Speed is Simple – It’s The Process

781 394 Greg Dragon | Author

It’s amazing how fast time flies. Around this time last year I was on a blog tour for Anstractor, taking bad advice and doing all the things that I was told to do in order to sell my book. Today I’m five books in and the feedback has gone from people being amazed at me writing a book, to people wondering how it is I keep pumping them out.

The question concerns me. I wonder if behind it is a question of quality or my heart being into this as an art and not some sort of money scheme. The thing that I would love for people to understand is that I am the same guy that kept five articles up on a blog weekly for five years straight without missing a beat. I am a grinder by nature, I write A LOT, and when I write I push out about 3,000 to 7,000 words in one sitting.

This is why I can’t compare myself to others, I come from a different world, I am a space alien compared to the author that takes it slow. But that is the world of 2015 isn’t it? If we aren’t comparing one thing to another—despite it being apples to oranges—we just aren’t being human are we? But I don’t compare well, trust me, while I’m no special cookie, or the next best thing, I am a bit of an oddball, and the same can be said about my writing style.

So many spaces on the web have authors arguing styles and business practices as if it is a one size fits all, but to be honest, some of us are just squares in a circular world. Sure, what works for Pete may work for me, but if I try to be like John over there, I will fail. Writing fast works for me, it’s what I’m comfortable doing, so when I have a short story, or a novel, I grind it out until it’s complete, but then I pay professionals to help me get it to a point where it won’t annoy my readers.

How Do I Write So Fast?

Author’s Note: I am going to pinpoint without dollar amounts the areas of the process that costs money. So that those of you who think that this is a cash cow or anything near it will realize that it is actually an investment.

The Rough Draft

I am a student to a lot of Stephen King’s methodology. I write a story until it ends, and when it ends I tend to chop about 20-25% of it before sending it off to a content editor. I love writing scenarios, like when it’s late and I am worn through from the day and seated in front of the laptop, I will read where I left off and determine whether I want to keep it going or do something fun. The fun for me is to write out an argument, a confrontation, or a fight that is coming up, or it may come from some other inspiration where I just want to describe a scene in detail.

About 50-60% into a story I will get struck by an idea for the ending. If the urge is strong enough I will just do the final chapter and then go back to the middle to fill in the gaps. For Re-Wired this was awesome, I knew that I wanted to make a twist, and when it came to me it was so hot, that I turned off my phone and spent a couple of hours writing it down. Too bad I thought it was lame a few chapters later—then changed it, but this is how it goes.

Once I consider a story done, I am piecing things together, chopping the excess, and then rereading it over and over.

Content Editing

For the super-critical readers in my life that know and like my work, I give them the rough. It’s normally nerve-wracking to wait for this step, so I push on to another story in hopes of divorcing myself from the one being read, so that when I get the critiques I am able to behave like a businessman.

Once the beta readers are finished, I send the manuscript to a professional (which costs a sizable chunk of change) then I am waiting for a month or so while I continue the rough on story #2. By this time the new story is my baby, I don’t care much for the one being copy edited anymore as I am now nurturing a new tale.

Once the manuscript comes back from the copy editor, I read through, agree and disagree on the notes, rewrite what I can, add what’s suggested, and chop the excess. I then read it in its entirety again… and I normally hate it now. I hate it because it is a lengthy story, it’s keeping me from writing my new baby, but it is a task that must be done.

Copy Editing

Once I am finished tweaking, adding, and chopping, I send the book off to a professional to have it copy edited (this costs a decent chunk of change). I keep on writing my new story, loving on it, imagining that it will be my favorite, until the old book comes back taking me away once again.

I fix the things that the copy editor found funky—most copy editors will pick up on things in the story even though they are judging sentence structure and words—I will change what needs changing and then run spell-check one final time (sometimes extra letters or quotations slip in during the polish). I then place the book into a text to speech program and have the robot read it to me.

Formatting

I won’t go into detail here, but let’s just say that I find it important to have the guts of a book be as pretty as the skin.

This is where I cut some cost, passing on a professional formatter to layout the eBook in a way that I like, then I test it on my phone and Kindle device. Once it looks good, I take it online, then work at the finer details of the paperback and hardcover versions. By now its product, I am over it, I want to go back to my new story, but there still remains the cover (which I normally have designed by a professional—another chunk of change—as I write.)

People who don’t see me grinding it out will only see the last step, which is where I’m all like, “hey, pre-order Phasers of Anstractor, it’s the follow-up to that other book.” Then a couple of months later, when that sexy new book is published and I’m all like “here’s a copy of my novella, read it and tell me what you think.” It gives the perception that I am a machine, when in fact… it’s all in the process. I don’t twiddle my thumbs during the waiting period, I’m still writing.

How long do you plan to keep doing this?

This is another question I get a lot that strikes me as odd because I’ve always written… I’ve just now started to actually put my stuff out in book form. I’ve written and emailed stories since the nineties and I have blogged hardcore for years upon years. Why would I treat writing as a phase when I am in fact a writer? O_o

I will continue to write as long as I am inspired and have a story to tell, and I will continue to publish as long as I can present a professional product that is worthy of your money. Why would I ever discount that?

Flux with me people, I am not going anywhere barring death. This isn’t to say that I won’t slow down at some point but my muse is here and she is hotter than hell. I am going to push it out if it’s in me, so no worries on the intent. I’m just doing what I’ve always done.