I am lucky to be in a course on SavvyAuthors run by Lori Wilde. It is a Fast Track Novel Writing Class that goes for six months. It's wonderful, and Lori is a great teacher. That being said, the agony is that every day, five days a week, each of us has to turn in 1500 words of writing. If you do the math, that's about six (ds) pages per day, 7500 words a week. If you are short or miss a day, you've got to make it up by week's end. We signed a pact. Produce or else!
This is terrifying to me. In order to do this, you've got to be able to do several things. The first is, you have to have a plot for your book! You've got to know where you are headed to be able to crank out 6 pages a day! No fa-la-la-ing around, no I-think-I'll-start-in-a-different-place today, or I-think-I'll-take-a-day-for-research. Biggest fear: what if my brain is too little to wrap itself around such a big plot? My plot seems bigger than my brain right now!
I read on Lauren Willig's website that she generally stays about 5 chapters ahead on her outline, and has a general outline to guide her, even though things may change as the characters behave outside the lines. Five chapters ahead! Egads, I'm a paragraph ahead!
You need to leave the perfectionism behind. This is by far the most difficult thing for me. The first few days last week, I had difficulty even turning the pages in, even though only my class can see them and surely no one cares. But they're awful! Did I actually let the hero say that? It's ridiculous! How to turn off that nasty internal editor long enough to turn my homework in? (Must close eyes and hit send button before one can criticize onself.)
Lastly, you need the research to be done. My book takes place in 1832 London, really after the Regency period. I've never written beyond the Regency, and I've never done a romance with a lot of historical intrigue. But how do I research when I can't even get my homework turned in?
I'm happy to say I did make my word count last week, despite being on the road for 3 days and having kids home all week. I really hope I can do this, because what Lori is teaching us is how to write like a real author. It's not enough to BICHOK all day--I've got that part down. This is where you roll up your sleeves, research, create, produce, and crank.
I know that completing this course will take my writing to a new level...if I survive it!