My friend Denise Jaden has a new book out, and I can tell you - it's fabulous. Titled FAST FICTION it is a craft book for those wishing to "fast-draft" a novel. But let me assure you it's more than a how-to-get-it-out guide; FAST FICTION has great summary information on all aspects of the craft. Below is a post Denise wrote for this blog, followed by an incredible opportunity to participate in a giveaway that includes a critique of your first five pages, compliments of Denise's agent, Michelle Humphrey from The Martha Kaplan Agency!
Fast-Drafting: But What About Quality?
Whenever I tell writers about my new book, FAST FICTION, they are either very interested, or they dismiss the idea of fast-drafting on the basis of their goal of “quality writing.” I care very much about high quality writing, and I believe in spending the time and effort to discover and bring to life the very best for my stories and characters. I just don’t believe high quality writing should be the main goal of a first draft.
One of my favorite things about fast-drafting is that I can find the story arc of each book very quickly, which helps me discover the path for each of my characters. When drafting new words, my mind is in micro-mode, where I’m focusing day to day on all the small occurrences that are happening in each scene. In that mindset, it’s nearly impossible to see the big picture, so I want to get out of that mindset to a place where I can step away from my finished novel as quickly as possible to properly evaluate it. The first draft, for me, is the part I want to get through quickly, so I can move forward into the real work of a novel—the work that makes it authentically flow and take readers on a journey they won’t forget.
Just because I believe in fast-drafting my first drafts does not mean I don’t believe in deep characters and plotlines either. I do a lot of prep work before drafting to know who my characters are at a gut level. For instance, how do they feel about their mothers and siblings? What’s the worst thing a parent has said or done to them? How do they still carry around some of their most embarrassing moments, and how do these moments still reflect in their day-to-day lives?
Even with this preparation, however, I don’t like to nail anything down in stone until after my first draft. To me, fast-drafting is as much about exploration as it is about finishing a book. Often I’ll get to the end of writing a draft before I truly know what the book should be about. And when I go back to read the draft over, I often hardly recognize many of the scenes or character traits that have shown up. This is the characters at work, showing me who they are, rather than the other way around.
There are a lot of things an author needs to think about when crafting a satisfying novel, but I like to take the fast-drafting phase—only 30 days—and spend that time not thinking. Instead I spend that time simply feeling what is happening with my characters and which directions they want to go, and which directions they’re afraid to go. This quick writing gives very distinct and natural voices to my characters as well.
Fast-drafting goes beyond the conscious mind and lets writers tune into their subconscious, so if we’re talking about quality of writing and depth of characters, fast-drafting is a step that will take you quickly toward both of these goals. Rather than doing a traditional interview-filled blog tour, Denise Jaden is celebrating the release of her new nonfiction writing book, FAST FICTION, by dropping tips about writing quickly at every stop of her blog tour, and offering some awesome prizes for commenting on any of these posts (including this one!)
The more you drop by and comment, the more chances you have to win these great prizes:
Denise's Fast Fiction Tip: Write about something you care deeply about.
The Prizes:It’s no accident that my first two published novels revolve around two sets of sisters. You see, I’ve never had a sister, and I think I’ve always been secretly jealous of people who understand that relationship first hand. I’ve taken that desire and let it fuel me through several novels. The more I start to understand about having a sister, the more complex the relationship seems. That, to me, has always been exciting, and I’ve spent many hours exploring the deep well of the sisterly relationships in my stories. That drive to know more has driven me to be able to write a lot of daily words and pursue finished novels. The more I care about my characters and their relationships, the more I need to tell their complete stories. Think about what it is you care enough about to carry you through an entire novel.
- Compliments of New World Library: They will be giving away A BOX of copies of FAST FICTION by Denise Jaden and GET IT DONE by Sam Bennett (US and Canada only):
- Compliments of Denise Jaden, TWO BOXES of great fiction (US Only). Details on Denise's blog.
- Audiobook copies of NEVER ENOUGH by Denise Jaden!
- A critique of your first five pages, compliments of Denise's agent, Michelle Humphrey from The Martha Kaplan Agency!
All you have to do is enter the rafflecopter for a chance to win (at the bottom of this post, I've included links to all of the other blogs where you can comment for more chances to win).
About Fast Fiction:
Writers flock to National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) each November because it provides a procrastination-busting deadline. But only a fraction of the participants meet their goal. Denise Jaden was part of that fraction, writing first drafts of her two published young adult novels during NaNoWriMo. In Fast Fiction, she shows other writers how to do what she did, step-by-step, writer to writer. Her process starts with a prep period for thinking through plot, theme, characters, and setting. Then Jaden provides day-by-day coaching for the thirty-day drafting period. Finally, her revision tips help writers turn merely workable drafts into compelling and publishable novels.
A portion of publisher proceeds will be donated to National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)
Praise for Fast Fiction:
“Fast Fiction is filled with stellar advice, solid-gold tips, and doable, practical exercises for all writers who want to draft a complete novel.”
— Melissa Walker, author of Violet on the Runway
“Being a ‘pantser’ I have always resisted outlining, but I have to say that Fast Fiction changed my mind! Denise Jaden takes what I find to be a scary process (outlining) and makes it into an easy and, dare I say, enjoyable one. Fast Fiction is a hands-on book that asks the right questions to get your mind and your story flowing. I know I’ll be using Fast Fiction over and over again. Highly recommended for fiction writers!
— Janet Gurtler, author of RITA Award finalist I’m Not Her
“Fast Fiction is full of strategies and insights that will inspire and motivate writers of every experience level — and best of all, it provides them with a solid plan to quickly complete the first draft of their next novel.”
— Mindi Scott, author of Freefall
“Fast Fiction provides writers with the perfect mix of practical guidance and the kick in the pants they need to finish that draft. This book is a must-have for writers of all levels.”
— Eileen Cook, author of The Almost Truth
“Practical and down-to-earth, Denise Jaden’s Fast Fiction makes a one-month draft seem doable, even for beginners, any month of the year.”
— Jennifer Echols, author of Endless Summer and Playing Dirty
“One of the greatest challenges any writer faces is getting a great idea out of one’s brain and onto the page. Fast Fiction breaks that process down into concrete, manageable steps, each accompanied by Denise Jaden’s sage advice and enthusiastic encouragement. And anything that helps streamline the drafting process is a-okay by me! Fast Fiction is a great addition to any writer’s toolbox — I’ve got it in mine!”
— Catherine Knutsson, author of Shadows Cast by Stars
“Forget the fact that this resource is directed at those wanting to complete a fast draft — if you’re out to get your novel done, period, Jaden’s Fast Fiction will be the kick in the butt that gets you there, from story plan to ‘The End’. . . and beyond.”
— Judith Graves, author of the Skinned series for young adults
Where you can find Fast Fiction:
Comment on any of the following blog posts celebrating Fast Fiction's release to be entered to win prizes galore!
(All Fast Fiction blog posts should be live by March 9th, or sooner. Contest will be open until March 15th. If any links don't work, stop by http://denisejaden.blogspot.com for updated links.)
Additional Participating Blogs:
Remember, all you have to do is leave comments to get lots of extra entries to win some great prizes.
Don't know what to comment about? Tell us the name of your favorite writing book!
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