Writing a Novel in 3 Days – An #LTUE2016 Panel Review

Written by Willow Dawn Becker

February 25, 2016

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One of my favorite panels at #LTUE2016 was given by the fantastic Leslie Muir, author of over 60 novels including the Ghosts of Culloden Moor romance series and the Secrets of Somerled paranormal YA romance series. She puts out a 40k to 60k book EVERY TWO WEEKS.

Needless to say, she knows all about being prolific.

In this segment, she borrowed ideas from Michael Moorecock and Lester Dent to create her very own method to write a book in 3 days. And, because you couldn’t see her presentation, I’m sharing it with you here.

I know it sounds crazy. Writing a novel in 3 days? What am I, some kind of magic book fairy? Not unless you like scary fairies who make you write until you cry.

Understanding the Underpinnings of the “Grand Experiment”

The 3-day book experiment came about when Muir and her critique-group cronies discussed the idea of attempting a plan outlined by Michael Moorecock. This pulp writer had a formula that he used to write every single one of his books that became bestsellers.

According to his biography Michael Moorcock: Death is No Obstacle, the author published in his early career books that were written in “three to ten days” each. In order to complete work this fast, he says that, “If you’re going to do a piece of work in three days, you have to have everything properly prepared.” This means preparing everything – from plot to pacing – well in advance before sitting down to the keyboard.

Now, this is not to say that you need to spend a huge amount of time on this preparation. Remember, he was finishing books in a week. But, it does require some foresight and a belief that you can accomplish a large task in a small amount of time.

The Grand Experiment

After learning of Moorecock’s structure, plotting, and pacing techniques, Muir’s group decided to try it. They did a couple of things to ensure their success. These were the “Rules” of the experiment:

  1. They couldn’t tell anyone you had done it until it was done.
  2. They promised themselves a wonderful reward (and horrible punishment) if they did (or did not) complete it.
  3. They would not talk to a single outside human for the duration of their 3-day excursion.

They met together a few months later with staggering results.

  1. 70% of the group had attempted the challenge.
  2. 100% of those who had attempted it had completed at least a 40,000-word novel.

 

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