My Writing Strategy

I spent January revising and editing Movemind (now available for pre-order). Since February, I’ve had a target of writing 250 words a day during the week and 500 a day on weekends. It’s really worked for me and I rarely write only the target for the day. 250 words is manageable – roughly 15-25 minutes. I know some authors go for a thousand or 750 words a day. When I try that I invariably fail; the time required interferes with my day job and family too much. 250 words also happens to be roughly the amount of words of one page of a book. The feeling of continually making progress is rewarding. I also like that by the time I get to write again, I’ve spent so much time thinking about what comes next I don’t get distracted and write efficiently.

As a result of this practice, I’ve just finished the seventh story of a planned nine story collection. I’ve written 42,000 words since February, with a rough estimate of 10,000 to go for the last two stories. With a bit of luck, I’ll have the book out early next year, which means I’ll have published two books within a year!

Some stories are based on a well-plotted out plan, some from ideas that have percolated for a long time, but not necessarily written down, and some just on a single sentence. The latest story (called The Storyteller) was a total “pantser.” I had a one-sentence idea: ‘An arsonist sets fires so he can write a story about who tries to stop it.’ That was it. I think it was an idea from a dream I had roughly four years ago. I really like how the story turned out and had a heap of fun writing it, probably because I had no pre-conceived ideas about where it was going. Firmly setting the story in Perth helped the story develop as it led to some plot points coming from local landmarks. The resulting plot become the closest companion story I’ve written for Incite Insight in terms of content.

The collection is tentatively titled: The Colours of Death: Sgt Thomas’ Casebook. It’s detective fiction with my usual sprinkling of science. The main character in the stories is the detective from Incite Insight. The stories are set after the events of that story, and Sgt Thomas is now an extremely effective detective. Each story has a colour based theme. For example; the victims turn blue, violet is the name of a drug, a uniform colour is indigo and so on. I’ve based the colours off the rainbow (ROYGBIV) and added black and white. I still have white and green to write. White is a ‘percolated’ story — one I’ve been thinking about for a couple of years and green will be another ‘pantser’ where I only know it will involve a code being broken (although,  I’ve already worked out how).

It’s not my only project at the moment, as I’m also writing a short story for an anthology which should come out around Christmas time. More on that project in another post.


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