Monday, January 9, 2017

2k to 10k by Rachel Aaron

I've heard nothing about good things about this book, and since I spent 2015 building a daily writing habit, I wanted to use 2016 to improve the habit itself - more words, and better words, if possible. I heard nothing but good things about 2k to 10k, so when I managed to get one more month on Scribd, I took the chance to read it. And then I spent 2016 trying to put it into practice which is why this review is only coming out now, in 2017.

The book itself is pretty short, but a really useful read. It's broken into two parts: How to actually write more, and tips for plotting and editing. The how to write more section, which was the main draw, basically boils down to this:

1. Prewriting is very important. Even just sketching out the scene can make a huge difference.

2. Find out your optimal writing time. This may involve writing at different times, tracking the output and quality of the words before you find out.

3. Muster up enthusiasm for the writing. If you're not interested, the words aren't going to flow.

As for the plotting/editing tips - well, I'm not much of a plotter, so the plotting thing wasn't very useful for me. I mean, I do try, and I liked Libbie Hawker's Take Off Your Pants (which I found useful for reworking drafts), but no matter how much prep I do, most of the things I discover about the world invariably take place while I'm writing. So the most I do is to plot a few chapters, then plot more/adjust as I write.

But the editing tips, the editing tips were awesome! I never felt so inspired to edit after reading that section. Basically, Rachel Aaron suggests writing out a scene list (bullet point your novel) and using that to make a timeline. From there, it should be easier to spot the problems, so make a to-do list and tackle the problems from the largest to the smallest, not back to front.

Personally, I haven't noticed a big change when writing (certainly not a five-time increase), but I think I have become slightly more efficient at writing. Plus during on NaNoWriMo, it was easier to hit my daily word count. I really like the tip about prewriting, because it does help make the writing easier. I've actually managed to work that into my everyday writing scene and I can normally get to the end of the chapter without writer's block (how long that chapter is, though, I still can't really control).

Oh, and despite tracking my writing, I haven't really found my optimal writing time. Though I notice that I do tend to write at night, after all my schoolwork for the day has been done.

I would definitely recommend this book. It's pretty useful, and I think that if I was a bit more strict with myself on following her advice, I would have a much greater improvement. Still, the tips are solid and I will probably buy a copy for myself in the future.

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