Writing a book is generally quite a long process for many writers, but it is definitely possible to write a short book fast. If you want to write a shorter book, there are some tips and advice for you here on doing it more quickly.
You can write a book fast by following a plan with clear steps. Start with brainstorming and writing a clear outline before you start to write and then use this plan to quickly produce a very rough draft of each chapter. Use short iterative writing to go from plan to complete draft quickly.
Brainstorming Your Ideas
Step one to write a book fast is to start by brainstorming what you want to include in it.
Brainstorm lots of ideas first before doing any actual writing, as this way you can come up with more material than if you just started writing straight away.
It is much slower to create and write simultaneously, so make sure to do this step first and thoroughly.
Generating lots of ideas first is very important because you want a long list of ideas and options to choose from for the next steps.
To do this, sit for a planned period, such as 30 minutes, and write down every single idea that you have. Don’t analyze them yet; just write down what you think of. Just letting the ideas flow leads to more while doing some evaluating as you go can stop this flow.
After you have a long list of ideas, you can now go back through your list and separate the ideas that you really like or that stand out in some way from those that do not.
Keep the rest but move them to a different list for possible use later, maybe as the inspiration of another book.
Repeat this process as many times as needed to get a long enough list for your book.
You should now have a good list of ideas to work with.
Create Your Outline
An outline is essential because it is the planning process that will lead to faster writing. The outline will allow you to see what you will need to write about and how it all connects together.
An outline doesn’t have to be complicated.
Start by adding your list of brainstormed ideas from step one and put them in order to create a general story.
Next, create one or two chapters for each idea in your story and add them to the outline.
Now review what you have created so far and make sure that you are happy with the order of the ideas. Check that each idea follows nicely from the previous one.
Make changes as needed until you have a nice flow to your story.
Finally make sure you add a strong opening chapter that will pull readers in, an ending chapter that leaves them satisfied and some linking chapters to connect all the central storyline items you created.
This is your outline. Once you have this, you know what you need to write about and how it all goes together.
This will be your roadmap, so you know what you need to write about next as you progress.
You can make each outline as detailed or as simple as you want it to be. Of course, the more you put into the outline at this stage, the less work will be required later on, but some writers are better with very little detail on their outlines.
Like brainstorming, some writers are better by only writing down bullet points, while others prefer full sentences describing each in a little more detail.
You can now move onto step three, which is writing a rough draft.
Start With The End in Mind
As you write your draft, you should keep in mind how you want to end the book before you start writing. This is very important because it guides you through your writing.
If you have an ending in mind as you write, the book will more naturally build up to it.
Think about what you want the reader to learn, how you will finish the story and any other thoughts on your ending you can think of.
If you don’t know the ending of your book, progress can often end up being vague and not satisfying for readers once they reach the end.
So decide on how you want it to end before starting to write while doing your brainstorming and outlining steps, as this makes it easier to write a flowing story that builds consistently to the ending.
Many writers underestimate how vital the knowing ending of the book is as you write, so make sure to know yours right up front.
Write a Rough Draft of Each Chapter
Time to start writing.
If you have done the steps thoroughly so far, you should now be ready to write much faster than before because you already have an outline for your book.
Begin writing the rough draft of each chapter in the order they appear in your outline.
Your aim is to write a rough draft fairly quickly. Of course, the length of the rough draft will vary, but it is usually best to aim for a finished draft that is around 75% or more complete when you finish.
If you can get the first version of each chapter to at least 70 – 80% of what you need and leave only key details and finishing touches for later, then your book should be much quicker to write for the first complete draft.
This is why it is crucial to create an outline before writing because it will allow you to concentrate on getting all your ideas, important details and links sorted out while leaving the little things for later when they are easier to add in.
Don’t overthink it, Just write!
Just writing is important at this stage.
You don’t need to worry about editing or perfection; just write down what you think of.
Again, flow is vital for this process, just as it was earlier during brainstorming. Don’t do anything more than some very light editing as you write. Letting the ideas flow is more important than aiming for finished prose at this stage.
Editing is very obviously important, but by its very nature, it is a slow and tedious job that is best done when you have a more complete draft. Doing this as you write will take you out of the flow and make the entire process a lot longer.
Remember, just writing really fast without overthinking anything is what will get your first draft finished in the shortest time possible.
Just keep in mind the overall story outline and your ending and you should be fine.
Quick Review After Each Chapter
One step that does take you out of the writing process but is important, is performing a quick review after you finish writing each chapter.
After writing a chapter, check against your outline that you have covered all the points you wanted to. If it seems like something important is missing, go back and add it in.
This might seem counterproductive to our discussions of “flow”, but stopping briefly at the end of a chapter is valuable.
You do not want to drift too far off the outline without a good reason. Now is the time to either resolve any significant issues with the chapter you just wrote or, if you have a better idea, to tweak the outline to fit the new direction.
After doing this, you should be clear that you are on track and can jump right back into writing the next chapter.
Take a Break to go Faster
If you find yourself stuck or having trouble with some of the ideas in your story, then take a break and come back to it later when you are rested.
If you find yourself having trouble writing a particular chapter, there is no point forcing it because you will lose your flow of ideas and won’t write as well as you could on other parts of the book.
Sometimes walking away for a few minutes or even until the next day will help you get the ideas flowing for whatever chapter is giving you trouble.
Forcing yourself to write when your mind isn’t ready is pointless and wastes time that could be spent writing more in your flow when you are doing well.
Everything will come together in time. Just keep thinking about it while taking breaks until you feel refreshed enough to continue.
Be careful though!
This can become what we call writers’ block, so give yourself a brief break but do not procrastinate by taking too long of a break.
A nice break is good but do not let your mind wander to other things, come back quickly and put your thoughts on the book you are writing again.
The quicker you can go back into flow with your ideas, the more time you will save.
Eliminate Distractions during Writing
Distractions can be devastating to writing flow and should be eliminated as much as possible.
Turn off the TV, radio and any other media that might take your attention away from what you are working on. If it isn’t necessary, leave it out of sight so you won’t turn your head.
That includes the mobile phone, which should be on silent and nearby only if you need it for emergency calls.
Distractions take your mind off the story and what you are working on, forcing you to try to refocus each time they come up.
Even worse, distractions can cause your writing flow to be broken for hours or even days, depending on the amount the distraction that pulls you away from focusing on your work.
So give yourself the best chance possible to be as productive as possible by eliminating as many distractions as you can.
Write a Full Draft
Once you finish writing the first draft for each planned chapter, you should now be at around 75-80 percent complete with your first draft.
This means that at the very least, you have written down an overview of how each story element will be resolved and you are done writing most of your original planned chapters.
If there are extra chapters that were not planned initially but added later, add them to the outline and make sure that they work correctly within the book’s overall flow.
If this all looks good, go through the whole book with the aim of adding all the details and complete a 100% draft.
Your first quick version likely was missing a lot of the descriptive text that really gives your book life and depth, so this is where you will spend the bulk of your time with all the extra details.
This draft should be more in-depth and have all of the main story plot points resolved.
This draft will evolve over future writing drafts when you can still add more detail or work on specific scenes, for example, but the aim with draft two will be to write a draft as close to 100% complete as you can.
Edit and Revise
The last major step in the writing process is to do a complete edit and revision pass going through draft 2 with a fine-tooth comb and edit as much as possible into a final form.
This includes building on descriptive detail, making dialogue sound authentic and interesting, adding more emotions, checking for consistent story flow and so on.
You should aim for this draft to be in a form to give to someone else to read.
The last step in writing a book is sharing it with others and their feedback, so make sure you are giving them the best version possible for this.
As you can see, there is no magic formula to turning out a book quickly, but there are steps you can follow to make the process go much smoother and faster.
Having a clear plan upfront will help you quickly go from a new idea to a final draft.
Don’t ignore these steps just because they sound familiar. I include them because they work and have been used by many writers time and again.
It can take a bit of practice to get used to this writing method, especially if you are one of those writers that typically prefer a more free-form method, but it is well worth it for the time saved in the long run.
Writing fast is not about writing poorly or just going quickly, but more about putting your mind into a different mindset that can help you increase your flow.
Let us know in the comments below if you successfully complete writing fast book. We would love to hear what worked for you and what tips we can include in a future update.