Ghost Novel: The Process of Writing A 70,000 Word Novel In 10 Days

OnceUponATime-Final-960x960Bestselling author Dean Wesley Smith just finished a 70,000 word novel in 10 days. In my previous post I commented about how slow I write. The truth is, if you put butt to seat and stay there and work, it is quite possible to churn out something lengthy and wonderful without rushing it. You don’t have to do it in 10 days, of course, but then, the ten days isn’t the real story here. It’s about how discipline and consistency in your daily routine can produce desired results.

Prior to starting the “ghost” novel project, Dean wrote a post in which he debunked the myth of fast writing. You can read about it here. The following parts resonated with me:

“I am the world’s worst typist. I use four fingers, up from two, and if I can manage 250 words in fifteen minutes I’m pretty happy. I tend to average around 750-1,000 words per hour of work. Then I take a break. I am not a “fast” typist, but I am considered a “fast” writer because I spend more time writing than the myth allows.

That’s the second thing that makes this myth so damaging to writers. It doesn’t allow writers to just spend more time practicing their art. In fact, the myth tells writers that if they do spend more time working to get better, they are worse because they produce more fiction.

Writing is the only art where spending less time practicing is considered a good thing.

In music we admire musicians who practice ten or more hours a day. Painters and other forms of art are the same. Only in writing does the myth of not practicing to get better come roaring in. We teach new writers to slow down, to not work to get better, to spend fewer and fewer hours at writing, to not practice, and then wonder why so many writers don’t make it to a professional level.”

Dean Wesley Smith has written more than a hundred novels and probably well over two-hundred short stories. The man’s résumé is impressive, and he’s writing speed is legendary. You can read more about him and his work on his blog. Just know that he has written a lot of stories under various pen names and his advice comes from years of experience. But that is not why he decided to share the process in writing the “ghost” novel. The idea was to present a revealing insight into his writing process and to show how achievable the seemingly unachievable can be. Obviously, writing includes research and preparation, but that is a different discussion. And again, this isn’t for everyone. It’s all about what works for you today. It’s about choice.

The link below will take you to a page that contains all ten posts beginning at day one. Pay special attention to the comments and Dean’s answers to some of the questions asked. From a writer’s perspective, especially for someone in my shoes, it was incredibly educational. Sometimes words are cheap, and sometimes you have to lead by example.

Read the rest here: Ghost Novel

The beautiful image I used in today’s post was generously provided by Drew Melton. You can read more about him and see his talent in action, here and here.


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