Monday, March 03, 2014

Learn the RIGHT way to fast draft with Denise Jaden's FAST FICTION (and win some awesome books)!

I'm especially thrilled to introduce Denise Jaden's new book, FAST FICTION, because I'm reading it now!

I've never had much luck with fast-drafting (usually defined as writing a novel in a month or less), but when Denise told me she had written a book on the subject, I decided to give it one more shot and maybe this time, oh, I don't know, get HELP instead of trying to figure it all out on my own?

Two pages into FAST FICTION, I discovered where I went wrong: I DIDN'T PLAN ahead of time. I would leap in and start writing frantically the moment I was struck with an irresistible idea.

It was the equivalent of hopping into a car spur of the moment to drive to "I Don't Know--Somewhere Cool!" Because getting there is half the fun, right?


This is what happened on a typical journey:
  • I would change the destination (plot) on a whim as I went.
  • My travel companions started off as total strangers to me and each other (didn't have a handle on my main characters for the first 25-30K words).
  • I didn't bring enough money for food or gas (tried to fast-draft during a month with lots of prior commitments).
  • I had no map (nothing but the vaguest outline, which was thoroughly untested for logic)!
  • I didn't understand the terrain (no time for research, which left huge gaps in the book and led me down unrealistic plot paths).
  • I became obsessed with distance traveled (wordcount), regardless of whether it was in the right direction. By that point, I knew the book had major problems, so racking up words was the only thing I had to feel good about.
The one time I actually succeeded in writing 50K words in one month (a New Adult novel last August), the result was a disaster. Just this week I brainstormed ways to fix it and realized it would take much less time and energy to start something new. So I abandoned the project.


Which is a shame, because it was a book that meant a lot to me. It might've rocked your socks off. But I killed it with my stubborn devotion to an unrealistic goal. Sorry.

(It wasn't a total loss: the heroine's backstory intrigued me so much, I'm going to turn it into an amazing YA novel someday.)

Here's the part where I go all ALL-CAPS-Y ON Y'ALL.

DON'T DO WHAT I DID. If you want to try NaNoWriMo or Camp NaNoWriMo, or do your own fast-drafting at a time convenient to you,  I highly recommend picking up Denise Jaden's FAST FICTION at least SIX WEEKS before sitting down to write. She lays out a simple but thorough pre-writing plan that even an easily distracted, impulsive brain like mine can follow. And during the drafting period, she has a tip and inspiration to follow each day.

Because without a plan, you will waste gas, time, and energy. You might even damage your car (manuscript) beyond repair. DO NOT TOTAL YOUR BOOK. It deserves better.

So without further ado, here's Denise to talk about FAST FICTION!

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: Use Personal Heroes!
Who are your personal heroes? And, more importantly, why are they heroic to you? The heroic qualities which are most important to you will always evoke passion within you. That’s why we tend to love to watch movies or read books with a certain type of characters. Do you gravitate to characters who are selfless or extremely talented? Keep these heroic qualities in mind as you develop your own plots and characters. Finding what makes us passionate about our characters can help carry us through as we motivate ourselves to tell their most important stories.
The Prizes:

  • 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:

Help an author out:
Can't get a copy of FAST FICTION right now? I wonder if you'd consider helping out in other ways. I'd really appreciate any way that you can help!

  • Ask your library or bookstore to bring in FAST FICTION
  • Leave a review on Amazon (the more books are reviewed on Amazon, the more they will show up as suggestions for readers).
  • Mention FAST FICTION on Facebook, Twitter, your blog, or pin a link to Amazon on Pinterest
Blog Tour Stops:
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 for updated links.)

GCC Blogs:

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!

Share this widget here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Or, if the Rafflecopter Giveaway doesn't seem to be coming up on this blog, access it here:

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I loved reading about your "road trip" process, Jeri (and the pictures are priceless!) I'm thrilled to hear you're getting so much out of Fast Fiction! Thanks so much for spreading the word.

Posted by: Blogger Denise Jaden at 3/06/2014 10:38 AM

REally want to check this book out since I'm about to draft. My ideas always seem good in the beginning but at about 20k I'm left going, "Huh? I don't even know what this book is about anymore..." Thanks for sharing, Jeri!

Posted by: Blogger Kelly at 3/06/2014 10:47 AM

Great advice, Jeri! When I talk to students about writing I use the 'road trip' analogy. You have to have a destination in order to get there, but it's okay to take a few unplanned, fun side trips along the way!

Posted by: Blogger Trudi Trueit at 3/06/2014 11:30 AM

This book sounds fantastic. Reading through all the Nano novels I've written and trying to figure out how to edit them into something semi-coherent has been so discouraging because of what a mess they are. (Even if I'm not sure I want to actually publish anything, I still want to write and finish something that I'm proud of.) I'm putting this book on my "must-buy" list. Maybe it will even help spark my muse (who seems to be on permanent vacation).

I'm sorry to hear about the NA novel. :(

Posted by: Blogger Judy (shellseeker93) at 3/06/2014 11:46 AM

Denise, your book came along at the perfect time in my life. I've been struggling with finishing WIPs as I keep hitting roadblocks (oops, there's the car analogy again). It will feel really good to have a solid first draft by the middle of May. And thanks for the March Madness, too!

Kelly: Exactly! That's usually the point where I realize, "Oh, this book is actually about THIS, not THIS." and then 20K words and weeks of time have been wasted. (Of course, no effort is truly wasted, because we learn with every word we write, but when writing puts food on one's table, one has to learn to do it more efficiently.)

Trudi: I agree! I'm very prone to detours and side trips, so I know that even if I have a solid outline, I'll still be open to changing things up if they fit the story.

Judy: Please do check it out! The chapters are short and straightforward, but Jaden also includes suggestions for outside resources (for instance, she suggested an iPhone brainstorming app called A Novel Idea).

Yeah, I was bummed to "break up" with the NA novel, but like I said, I will get a great YA novel out of it one day, and I learned a lot about myself as a writer from trying to pell-mell my way through that manuscript. Now I just have to find something to do with all that stuff I learned about Ireland. ;)

Posted by: Blogger Jeri at 3/07/2014 8:42 AM

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