Well, during one of the longest fiction-writing “droughts” that I can remember, I sat down one night and wrote four thousand words of fiction in about three hours.
I hadn’t written any other stories for months, but I wrote four thousand words of mildly well-written fiction. I wasn’t surprised and I still considered myself to be in the middle of a fiction drought afterwards.
Why? Because I’ll probably never publish any of that story. Why? Because it was written purely for my own enjoyment and would probably have an extremely limited appeal to anyone else.
Since this is a blog for more general audiences, I won’t go into the plot details of my story too much. Suffice it to say, it involved a Mary Sue narrator, an incredibly handsome fictional boyfriend (a fictional girlfriend would have also been interesting, but this seemed more like a handsome boyfriend kind of story) and I’ll leave the rest to your imagination….
Anyway, this delightful experience got me thinking about the whole subject of spontaneous writing. The kind of writing which is so vivid and so interesting that it’s a real struggle to keep typing in time with your imagination. The kind of writing where the stories pretty much tell themselves and you’re only there in order to record it in writing.
Although I can only usually seem to do this with certain types of risque stories, I have been able to do it with a detective/horror story once. It was when I tried unofficially taking the “3 Day Novel” challenge for my own amusement in 2009 and ended up churning out about 8-10,000 words in about seven hours.
So, spontaneous writing can obvious be done in other genres too even if, for me, it only usually happens in one genre.
Anyway, I thought that I’d used the insights I’ve gained from writing spontaneous fiction to provide four tips about how to write lots of fiction very quickly.
1) Genre: As I said earlier, if you’re anything like me, you’ll probably only have one or two genres you can do this in. These are genres which fascinate you in a way that no other genres do. These are genres you could happily daydream about for hours.
I’m not just talking about the kinds of genres you like to read, but the kind of genres that- when you read something in them, you’re gripped instantly and can’t stop reading.
If a genre or sub-genre has this much of a grip on your imagination, then you can write spontaneously in it. If it doesn’t, then you can’t.
2) Recycle an old story: So, you’re in the mood for writing something spontaneously. You know what your story will include, but you can’t work out the exact details of it or exactly how it will happen. Don’t worry. Just take the plotline from one of your other stories and change enough details until it fits into the kind of story that you want to write.
If you’ve already written in the genre or genres that fascinate you, then just try re-writing one of your old stories with a few additional scenes and different characters. Put a new spin on your old story, give it more of a personality, make a “director’s cut” of it. Whatever works.
If you’re in the mood for spontaneous writing, then it’s more important to actually start writing than it is to ensure that your story is entirely new. In fact, if you’re smart, you can even tell the same story over and over again and still keep people interested.
3)Forget quality: If you’re writing spontaneously, then you don’t have time to go back and correct every clumsily-worded sentence – nor should you. If you want to edit your story, do it later. When you’re writing spontaneously, the most important thing should be to actually write or type your story.
If you can’t think of a good way to describe something when you’re writing and you feel like you’re slowing down, then just describe it in the first way that comes to mind (however clumsy or repetitive it sounds) and carry on. You need to keep your story moving, there is plenty of time for editing later.
4) Write it for yourself: As I’ve hinted earlier, the main audience you should be writing for when you write spontaneously is yourself. You should write the kind of story which you, and you alone, absolutely have to read.
If other people might also be interested in it, then this is a bonus. But if you write your spontaneous story whilst you’re thinking about whether anyone else would want to read it, then you’ll slow down. You’ll start to hesitate. It will feel like your entire audience is perched above you and scruitinising every word that you write.
So, when you’re writing, ignore your audience. Just write for yourself.
Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂