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What is the best way to write a 40+ page story in 3 weeks? The story I am writing has to be spot-on and close to a professional level and is totally fictional.

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  • Is there a word count or are we going by standard MS Word page (8X11 ins)?
    – hszmv
    Commented Jan 17, 2019 at 22:40
  • @hszmv We are going by standard MS Word page
    – jUbjuBbiRd
    Commented Jan 17, 2019 at 22:41
  • I'm not clear on what exactly you are asking. How to figure out if your story idea would produce a story of the required length? How to make yourself sit down and write the needed X hours per day? Commented Jan 17, 2019 at 22:52
  • @Galastel I am asking for advice on how to sit down and write the required amount of pages each day
    – jUbjuBbiRd
    Commented Jan 17, 2019 at 22:58

2 Answers 2

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So I've found that you set an average writing goal that you will consistently add x amount of words per day.

Given a standard MS Word page is about 500 words (give or take... it can be less than that if you have fast dialog but more if you have standard discriptions. Generally this is the space for a fomatted 5 paragraph essay). A 40 page document will thus be about 20,000 words, which given 21 days in a full three week period, results in about 950 words per day goal to make it by deadline. Depending on how well you have planned your story, this isn't a difficult goal.

I wouldn't commit to writing this quota in one go... but if your on a roll, keep rolling. But, I've found that if you set aside two times a day where you can give yourself 30-60 minutes in each period, sit down, and write the next segment of your story to the tune of about 500 words give or take. Go in order as you want it to appear. Write to the nearest point you want to complete (i.e. if you go over, but the scene is almost done, go to the end of the scene and stop. If you're close but not quite there and the chapter has ended, feel free to stop. Most writers hate math and I'm getting too mathmatical as is.). Try and put significant time during these sessions (I do one at breakfast, one at lunch, and one at dinner... I also go for more words in slightly more time).

Now, while I said 950 is a goal, it is soft. You want to write to a good stopping point even if that means coming up short or putting yourself over quota (doing this is good). I also recomend you keep the full story in a master save, but write the new segment in a freshly opened word doc. The reason for this is that it resets the word counter at zero which means you don't have to find your next start. When your finished, copy paste into your master and save there. Word also does frequent autosaves just in case something accidentally deletes your entire effort (I'm old enough to remember when a power outage as you finished your research paper was the bane of people who didn't Ctrl+S early and often).

This may seem rather daunting, but you'd be surprised just how fast you can write 500 words, especially if you love your subject... and what writer doesn't love his or her subject?

Also, you're gonna find as you near completion of the story, you will over write... the climax is the best part (IMHO) because everything you've been setting up is now paying off.

Finally, if you found mid story you're not sure what the next step in the story should be, write "Suddenly Ninjas lept through the doors and windows". Then describe your characters reacting to the situation and trying to make it out in one piece. If you can't get a page and a half of dialog along the lines of "WTF, Ninja's?" out of your characters (especially if your out of genre... say in a Tsarist Russian Court) then maybe writing isn't for you. I mean, this isn't even the fight... this is just acknowledging the ninjas.

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  • @ hszmv and @ DPT Thank you so much for the valuable advice and I will use it in my future writing pieces.
    – jUbjuBbiRd
    Commented Jan 17, 2019 at 23:13
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    You've left no time for editing, revisions etc. Very rarely the first draft is a finished product. Commented Jan 18, 2019 at 1:45
  • @Galastel: I'm aware. My focus is purely for getting words on paper (the ninja advice bit is space eating but not necessarily something of substance to the narritive). Obviously editing is something that I put aside for later. I do NaNo, so my goal is to meat deadlines. Typically I have a month off for Christmas and start Editing the year afterwards.
    – hszmv
    Commented Jan 18, 2019 at 15:02
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Welcome to the forum.

First, to put your mind at ease, each November, many writers participate in a mad rush of writing that averages 1600 words per day per writer. (50,000 words in a month, about 200 pages of standard margin, double-spaced 12 point font text.) You have three weeks and need forty pages (at standard formatting, about 10000 words). You can do this.

I can't speak to the quality of your storytelling, but it's certainly possibly to write forty pages in a week and polish it up. I suggest creating a framework first, to make the writing easier.


Question: How to write 40 pages of a story in three weeks?

Answer: Here is one possible way.

Week 1 (best to do this in ~four days instead of seven, because you might need the cushion at the end):

Identify the story and structure you would like to most closely pattern after. If you create a sense of the 'route' you are following, you'll be able to keep making progress. Think of it like a map. You want a map through the wilderness.

Identify characters and a general story structure--the outline. Write a few scenes to 'limber up' but don't commit to keeping them. You want to get to know your characters, and the story. What is the central conflict? What is the goal of each character? What is each character actively doing to achieve their goal?

Week 2:

Crush out 1400 words per day; roughly six pages per day. (better to hit 1500 words per day because you will likely lose words in revision, which will be week three.) Force yourself through the story. It will feel rushed, and awkward. Don't worry. When you hit a patch you are unsure of, put in a few (xxx) or other indicator that allows you to get past the speed bump and keep going.

At the end of week two, plan to have fifty pages or more of a complete story. Don't worry if it is bad.

(If typing is a physical issue, you can use tools, like the voice-to-text dictation software in your Word or other processor. Fifteen hundred words a day for a week is doable, but it will be major thing in your life for that week. Do it.)

Week 3:

Revise. Every day, work through your story to clean it up. Check the arc, the dialog, the language, the motivations and goals, the tension, the conflict, and so on. Balance dialog, setting, action, plot. This is the week where you clean up the thing you created in weeks one and two.

If you have days at the end of your three weeks, give yourself a rest day and then read through the whole thing in one sitting. Out loud, printed on hard copy.

If possible, get feedback from a friend at the beginning of week three.

Good Luck.

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