Friday, March 30, 2012

Fast Writers Blog Series: Nicola Marsh

As promised, here is Nicola Marsh's secrets to fast writing! She's certainly given me some ideas to get the words on screen.

Hi, Nicola,

Welcome! Thank  you very much for agreeing to be interviewed for the new Fast Writers Blog Series. 

·      First, I’d love to hear about your writing day in a quick snapshot. Do you have a special time to write? Or do you grab moments whenever you can? I guess I’d like to know how structured you are.

With young kids, my writing day isn’t structured at all! Usually, I write from 8.30-11pm but with my youngest starting kinder this year I’ve been able to squeeze in a few hours in the morning too, from 10-12.  I’ve been writing at night for 9 years though and still feel that’s my most productive time. Old habits die hard, I guess. 
·       What sort of writer are you? Planner or pantser? 

Pantser. I used to be a plotter for my early books but changed along the way. These days I write up a rough 2-3 page outline before I start, just a basic storyline description and the characters’ motivation, then off I go. I have no idea what will happen along the way, that’s part of the fun! 

·      Can you tell us a bit about the technique you use to help you to write quickly, and how you developed it? 

My guaranteed speed machine is the Alphasmart, a portable word processor that runs on 3 AA batteries! It has a tiny 4-line screen so you can’t edit as you go.  It’s perfect for writing fast. No Internet, no self-checking, just write. I’ve written many books on it, including mainstream novels I’ve completed in a month because of it!  I absolutely swear by my Alphie for speed.

·         Did you always write this way? Or is your method something you picked up along the way?

I bought Alphie at my first RWAustralia writers conference in Sydney 2004 and have written consistently on it ever since.  Love it!

·         How many words do you write per hr/writing session?

I go by page count and on Alphie I average 6 pages an hour, 8 if I’m in ‘the zone’!

·         How many hours per day do you write? And how many days per week?

Total, I probably write 3 hours/day, but spend another few hours doing the business side of things (eg. Promo, answering emails, Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc…)

I write 5 days a week, 6 or 7 if I’m on tight deadline. I always try to have Sundays off and don’t turn on the PC (though I check emails on my phone! And can’t resist the occasional tweet…)

·         How quickly can/do you finish a book? 

My category romances (50K) usually take 4-6 weeks.

Crazily, I’ve written a few mainstream length books in that time length too, but I wouldn’t recommend it! 

·       Do you know what you're going to write each day before you start your writing sessions? For instance, do you draft the scenes/chapters you’re about to write just before you write them, or do you thoroughly outline before you even start the book (if you’re a planner, that is J)? 

No, I don’t draft scenes/chapters before I write them (definitely a pantser). Sometimes I like ending a scene partially way through so I have a good starting point the next day.  Other times I have a vague idea of what needs to happen next and jump straight in.

·         How do you prevent your internal editor/critic from interrupting?

I never edit as I go along.  I write the first draft straight through. Internal editors are not good for speed.  The more you stop and revise along the way, the slower the process. (This works for me, while others can’t write a story without editing along the way. That’s the beauty of storytelling, everyone has a different method that works for them.)

·         Do you have any more tips you’d like to share?

The key to faster writing is…write, write and write some more.

Make it a daily occurrence. Like anything else the more you practice, the easier it becomes.

Writing often breeds faster writing. 

I always find I’m slower after I’ve had a holiday or taken a week off between books, but once I’m in the groove again my fingers can fly J 

Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy day to spend with us. We’d love to hear about your new book, would you tell us a bit about it? 

I’m thrilled that my first mainstream contemporary romance/women’s fiction/romcom/chicklit, BUSTED IN BOLLYWOOD, is being released in mass market paperback this June.

This book released online in December 2011 to rave reviews, including being named in the Top 5 Best South Asian Fiction 2011.

I think the blurb best sums it up:

Shari Jones needs to get a life. Preferably someone else’s.

Single, homeless and jobless, Indo-American Shari agrees to her best friend’s whacky scheme: travel to Mumbai, pose as Amrita, and ditch the fiancĂ© her traditional Indian parents have chosen. Simple. Until she’s mistaken for a famous Bollywood actress, stalked by a Lone Ranger wannabe, courted by an English lord, and busted by the blackmailing fiancĂ©.

Life is less complicated in New York.

Or so she thinks, until the entourage of crazies follows her to the Big Apple and that’s when the fun really begins. Shari deals with a blossoming romance, an addiction to Indian food and her first movie role, while secretly craving another trip to the mystical land responsible for sparking her new lease on life. Returning to her Indian birthplace, she has an epiphany. Maybe the happily-ever-after of her dreams isn’t so far away?

Thanks for sharing your method with us, Nicola. It was lovely to have you join us today :)

Readers, you can pick up a copy of Nicola's new romcom chicklit from any of the links below:

BOOK DEPOSITORY (free postage worldwide!)

USA TODAY bestselling author Nicola Marsh writes flirty fiction with flair. 

She’s had 30 books published with Harlequin Romance and Presents series and sold over 3 million copies worldwide. Her first mainstream contemporary romance, Busted in Bollywood, ‘Sex & the City’ meets ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ released with Entangled Publishing December 2011.

            She’s also a Waldenbooks and Bookscan bestseller, has finalled in several awards including the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, HOLT, Booksellers’ Best, Golden Quill, Laurel Wreath, More than Magic and has won several CataRomance Reviewers’ Choice Awards. 

            A physiotherapist for thirteen years, she now adores writing full time, raising her two little heroes, sharing fine food with family and friends, and her favourite, curling up with a good book! 

            She also loves interacting with readers. 

            She blogs daily at

            Tweets incessantly

            And chatters on Facebook
I'd love to hear what you think of fast writing. Do you have a secret method that works? Then share! :)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Ever wondered how prolific authors get so many books out there while you're still struggling with one? I often wonder this myself, so I've been on the hunt for these amazing writing! I've had a number of authors who are willing to give us the lowdown on writing fast.
As from Friday this week, March 30th 2012, I'll be interviewing a prolific writer about her/his methods on writing fast.

If this is a subject you're dying to find out more about, do come and hang with me here each Friday when I'll be interviewing a different author.

My first interviewee is Nicola Marsh, she writes for Harlequin Mills & Boon and has now expanded into chick-lit. I don't know about you, but I can't wait to hear what she has to say on the subject of writing fast!

Don't forget to come and visit with me and Nicola on Friday.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Looking For Fast Writers

How fast do you write? Are you willing to share your technique?

I'm looking to develop a series of blog posts featuring methods to help authors write faster.

I'm looking for authors who are willing to let me interview them about this subject. If you write fast or know of any authors who do, please email me at

As a thank you to the authors I interview, I'll feature your latest book and buy link, plus your short author bio.

Looking forward to hearing from you :).

Monday, March 12, 2012

How To Fight The Doubt Monster

After living through many emotion-draining months, and finally burning out, I pulled myself together and got back to writing. Only now I find myself facing the doubt monster. You know the ugly, hairy, big-tooth beast, who creeps up on you when you find yourself staring at a blank page, after a break from writing, and whispers in your ear, "You haven't written anything in weeks! You know you've lost your talent, don’t you? Don’t even bother to write anything today, you’ll only have to rewrite the whole thing anyway. Wait until you get it perfect in your mind!" Or words to that effect.

The only sure weapon I know to use when I need to smack the doubt monster over the head and send him on his way, is to refresh my mind with the craft of writing.  

We can never know too much about the writing craft, and I try to take time out several times per year to learn new writing skills and reinforce what I already know.

The past few days I've been doing just that. I've learned some amazing techniques which I can't wait to use. One of them is a way to increase my writing speed--which I'm dying to try out! :)

If you follow this blog, you'll know one of my great desires is to be among those authors who can write 2,000+ words per hour. This new method promises me the opportunity to do so.

I need to tweak the method a little so it fits me. If it works, I'll blog and share the method with you.

Meanwhile, I'd love for you to share your process of getting rid of the doubt monster.

Do you ever take hits from this negative emotion? How do you get rid of doubt? Does it affect your writing when it attacks?