I am thrilled to finally be able to show the full book jacket for FAST FICTION. It has snippets of blurbs from endorsers on the back (the full endorsements will be on a teaser page in the front of the book).
I couldn't be prouder of how this looks and all the wonderfully kind words included here!
I'll have the full book jacket to show you tomorrow, but I have the full list of blurbs. I'm absolutely thrilled (and humbled) by this wonderful list of endorsements!
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
— 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
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
— 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
Even though I'm a big advocate of fast-drafting a first draft, I don't believe in rushing the entire process of writing a novel. Brainstorming my plot and character ideas, for example, will often take months or even years.
Once I finish a fast draft, I'm also not in any hurry to send it off to publishing professionals. Sending out messy, incongruent, unpolished writing will only give you a bad name in the business of publishing, because people in this business are very, very busy.
After a fast draft, I recommend taking some time to clear your head from the project. Generally, my books take over a year from conception to a point where I feel they are ready to sell. Much of that time is due to the process of either head-clearing or waiting for beta readers to get back to me. The best thing you can do for yourself is try to align those two chunks of time.
When you send your book to a beta reader, don't look or even think about it while you're waiting for feedback. And when you receive feedback, unless you're decisively clear about how to take that person's criticism and implement it to make an infinitely-better book, then sit on the suggestions for two weeks and then read them again before making changes. Sometimes our brains need time to rest, and sometimes they need time to digest new directions.
So, yes, there is a time to go fast (I even complete revisions quickly when I'm very clear about what I want to do) but there's also a time to go slow and let your mind have lots of resting space.
Are you a list maker? I am. Sometimes I make lists of things I've done or am about to do, just for the pure joy of crossing them off my list. If you're not a list maker, is one of your characters? And if not, could they be, just for today?
Wherever you're at in today's writing and/or revising stop and make a list for your main character. There are lots of things your character could list (in his or her own voice), but here are a few ideas to start you off:
1. List everything that is wrong in his or her life right now.
2. List everything that is GOOD in his or her life right now - a thankful list.
3. List five things that no one else knows about your main character.
4. List five things your main character is proud of.
5. List ten people your main character values most and why he or she values them.
Well, it's that time in the publishing process again. Advance copies of my next book, FAST FICTION, have gone out, and I'm panicking because what if it's not actually well-written or insightful or even readable? Despite the fact that I've already received several endorsements from authors I respect, honestly, the thoughts that go through my head daily range from "YAY, a good blurb! Maybe the book is actually good!" to..."This person is probably just being nice." to... "What on earth makes you think you're some kind of writing expert, Denise?"
In the past, I've done a few things: I've regularly talked to other writers about my insecurity. This is a HUGE help, because right away I'm reminded that I'm really far from alone in this horrible emotional state. Besides that, writers KNOW what to say to other writers.
Another thing I've done in the past is spent some time on GoodReads. I know what you're thinking...isn't that COUNTERPRODUCTIVE to finding any kind of security? But, no, I don't go on there to look up my own books. Instead, I head on over there and look up some of my favorite books. Then I scroll down to find the one-star reviews. Of course I completely disagree with these people who obviously don't know what they're talking about. But seriously, the whole process is a great reminder for me of how subjective the reading process really is. No book pleases everybody.
One other thing I've done for many years now is keep a "Happy Emails" file in my email program. Anything good and positive that makes me smile gets filed away in there. When I need a reminder that my writing has been enjoyed by some people out there, I head over there and re-read a few emails (these are from readers, yes, but also from friends and critique partners, and many of these date back to before any of my books were published).
Besides the above things, here is what else I've been doing lately: I've been reminding myself why I wrote FAST FICTION. With my other non-fiction writing book, WRITING WITH A HEAVY HEART, the book grew out of a workshop presentation I had put together, and then got expanded on exponentially when I experienced a great deal of grief in my life. It was a very personal book, and I remember saying after I published it, "No, I'm not really a non-fiction writer. I doubt I'll ever write another non-fiction book. This one just came from a special place in my life and my heart."
But, of course, that wasn't the case. With FAST FICTION, as the title suggests, the idea and structure of the whole book hit me very suddenly. I based the whole thing off of my own experience in fast drafting and what has worked for me, as well as fast-drafting successes and failures that I've discussed with writer friends. From the very beginning, I knew there are many methods to drafting a book, and what I was writing would only be one of them. I hope it will be helpful to a lot of people, but I knew from the onset that it probably won't be for everyone. However, I used the actual laid-out plan of FAST FICTION for my own #NaNoWriMo project this year, and I had hit 50-thousand words by November 16 - my fastest year yet! And I'm happy with the story I just wrote.
So, yes, there are ups and downs. If we are going to put our writing out there for others to read, there will always be ups and downs. There will always be subjectivity. There will always be outside forces that threaten to come in and shake up our view of ourselves, our giftings, and our purposes in the writing world. This is just how I'm dealing with mine...so far.
I'd love to hear thoughts from other writers on this, because I know from experience that this is just the beginning of the insecurity I will face with each book..
So how do you deal with writerly insecurity? Please, please, please share all of your tips and tricks!
It's very very close to the end of National Novel-Writing Month, and so I wanted to write a little bit about the whole idea of The Big Challenge. It is big. It can be stressful and even depressing. But it shouldn't be.
Some of you will have met your goal for the month, but some of you--probably most of you--will not have met your goal. First of all, congratulations to everyone in either category! Whether or not you wrote 50,000 words (or met some other goal) this month, if you set a goal and tried to challenge yourself, you are way ahead of most people in this world. There is no reason, no matter how far you are from your goal, to think of this year's NaNo as a personal failure.
The other downfall I've seen with people who complete any amount of their goal during NaNo is that they tend to beat themselves up over the quality of their new manuscript. Don't do it! Instead, take some time away from your new draft. Let your mind relax and change from micro-thinking mode to where you can truly look at the bigger picture of your manuscript and will be able to recognize its great points. This often takes time. If you come out on the other end with anything good, it's probably more than you would have otherwise found in only one month.
We are still over twenty-four hours away from the official NaNoWriMo deadline, so first off, I'd like to say that if you're close, or even near the range where you COULD complete your goal, I encourage you to stop reading this, turn off your phone and Internet, and do everything in your power to make it happen. You see, people who meet goals increase their likelihood of meeting future goals. So this is important, not just for this goal, but for your future. It's only one more day. Why not at least try to give it everything that you have and attempt to sprint to the end?
If you're not near your goal, I have some advice for you too: DON'T GET DEPRESSED. I mean it. You have done something wonderful for yourself by actually setting a goal in the first place and trying. Next time you set a goal, you will be more prepared and will go into it with more realistic parameters. Plus, chances are good that even if you didn't get close to meeting your goal this time, you probably wrote more this month than you would have without a goal. Maybe setting too challenging of a goal actually made some small inner part of you decide to rebel. Maybe your next goal should be to take the project you started and complete it over the next three months. Think of NaNo as a jumping off point and keep moving forward. However you want to approach the future, I encourage you to at least keep your focus there. Don't get stuck thinking about today and yesterday and the goal that didn't quite get completed. You are a person who moves forward in life and improves. Keep doing that today, tomorrow, next week, and next year.
If you did complete your goal, congratulations! Of course you should spend some time basking in your accomplishment and eating lots of chocolate. But besides that, I recommend taking a moment to think about what you learned during this year's NaNoWriMo. I learn something new every year. Because of that, I feel like the process of fast-drafting does get easier and easier for me. I still would NEVER call the process of drafting a book easy! But there are things that can help. Look for the help and take note of it.
No matter where you're at on your project, don't let yourself get discouraged. Know that you have improved your life by setting a goal and making an attempt. Plus, writing is a lonely enough process. Why not join in on these group goal-setting efforts and see it as a chance to have some fun with other writers? If you want a second chance at this, make sure to stop back by here in March for my March Madness Writing Challenge (I'll be looking for blog hosts soon). If you haven't discovered that fast-drafting CAN be fun yet, keep coming back and I'll help you see it. I promise.
Today's prompt: Take your protagonist's vision away using some method--maybe the power goes out. Maybe he or she gets something temporarily blinding in his or her eyes.
How does this affect the way he or she perceives the world around them? Are there more sounds to be heard? More intonations in people's voices that they didn't notice before? Does your character suddenly notice new sounds or see the room differently from having to feel his or her way around?
This is a regular prompt of mine, and I used it at least once while I'm writing a manuscript to remind myself to use the five senses. I hope it works for you too!