Moorcock on How to Write a Book in Three Days (via @ozzywood)

Tim Dedopulos at his Ghostwoods blog posts a lengthy article by Michael Moorcock about writing a book in three days, followed by another about writing a book in more than three days.

[Moorcock] has often commented on the craft of writing, but one of his most unique and interesting techniques is his plan for writing a book in three days. He was talking about sword-and-sorcery at the time, the fantasy inheritor of pulp fiction, and the books in question were typically 60,000 words, but even so, there’s a lot to be said for his methods.

This article explains how to write formulaic pulp adventure stories, which obviously isn't for everyone. The question for those who don't want to write this kind of novel is: what take away tips are there in this article for general writing? Moorcock advises to set aside a day or two for planning, prior to the three day writing sprint:

  • The whole reason you plan everything beforehand is so that when you hit a snag, a desperate moment, you’ve actually got something there on your desk that tells you what to do.
  • Once you’ve started, you keep it rolling. You can’t afford to have anything stop it. Unplug the phone and the internet, lock everyone out of the house.

It's long but really cool. Leave cynicism at the door, because we're talking formula and pulp fiction here: http://www.ghostwoods.com/2010/05/how-to-write-a-book-in-three-days-1210/

Once you've finished that, have a look at the follow up article, which includes Michael Moorcock's Rules of Writing, from which Tim has helpfully trimmed the overlap (first three excerpted here):

  1. My first rule was given to me by TH White, author of The Sword in the Stone and other Arthurian fantasies: Read. Read everything you can lay hands on. I always advise people who want to write a fantasy or science fiction or romance to stop reading everything in those genres and start reading everything else from, Bunyan to Byatt.
  2. Find an author you admire (mine was Conrad) and copy their plots and characters in order to tell your own story, just as people learn to draw and paint by copying the masters.
  3. Introduce your main characters and themes in the first third of your novel.

You can find that article here, with writing tips by Jack Kerouac to boot: http://www.ghostwoods.com/2010/05/how-to-write-a-book-in-more-than-three-days-1217/