Fast Fiction: A Guide to Outlining and Writing a First-Draft Novel in Thirty Days, by Denise Jaden, published by New World Library 2014, paperback, 193 pages.
I discovered Fast Fiction last year while jumping from blog to blog. Something inside said, “This book will help,” and I am so glad I listened.
Jaden is a veteran of Nation Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and has developed her own process for outlining and fast drafting her novels. Fortunately, she decided to create a book about it and share it with other writers.
I used this book extensively for my 2016 National Novel Writing Month novel with wonderful results. Not only did I finish the 50,000 word challenge, but I didn’t have to go off course to pump up my words.*
Jaden’s book is divided into three parts; 1. preparation; 2. day-by-day prompting and encouraging; and 3. editing advice.
The preparation stage includes thinking seriously about theme, specific words, symbols, protagonist/antagonist, sly used of subplots, inspiration, structure, etc.
The second section is 30 tiny chapters that encourage, inspire and suggest what your character should be doing right about now. This section was a huge help to me. Last year I would read the three pages for that day’s writing and get a pretty good idea of where I needed to go. It changed the direction of my novel, kept me razor-focused and increased my enjoyment of looking forward to each new day’s writing. That is what novel writing should be about – being surprised at what your characters do!
I am also following the advice of the third section, Revision Techniques. There are so many good ideas including gathering three groups of four beta readers. I’m in the process of awaiting comments from my first set of beta readers and I am experiencing first hand the wisdom of this advice.
Fast Fiction has increased my joy of writing that first draft.
I love NaNoWriMo! I look forward to it every year. It’s an excuse to drop everything (unless it’s a paying gig, of course!) and have fun with new characters and new places. I have several novels sitting in various states of finished-ness in my files birthed in the month of November. When I have an opening in my writing schedule I pull one out and add to it. Maybe this is precocious, but it works for me.
Check out Denise Jaden’s novels here https://www.denisejaden.com/
Join me at National Novel Writing Month here https://nanowrimo.org/
*Note: Everything counts in NaNoWriMo, including large paragraphs of drivel, nonsense, conversations from a coffee shop and long, boring descriptions of the evil megalomaniac. The purpose is to finish a story of novel length and type the words “The End” on November 30.