How to write a book in three days

This sort of advice pee’s me off. I have only read one of his books and considered it derivative, stereotyped. Perhaps thats the answer. Write the same work again and again. … l-moorcock


I’m sure that some people writing genre books that are short in length, formulaic by design, and part of an established ‘world’ can churn out reasonable standard works in a short space of time. ‘Pulp’ fiction in the most affectionate use of the term.

The problem I have with these sort of articles is that to achieve this you need to be a very experienced writer whose first draft prose requires minimal rectification. Yet the articles are clearly aimed at seducing people who have never written anything more involved than a shopping list but have always considered writing a novel as “money for nothing”.

These are the same people who sit at home watching reality tv and think to themselves “y’know MTV should totally make a show about me, it’d be brilliant”, despite the fact that all they do with their evenings is watch the telly.

Usually this advice is about throwing down a first draft to start revising - some writers can take 3 years or 3 decades to do that :slight_smile:. I usually crank my first draft out in about 28 days (no zombies in it) and then take several months to a year to revise it.

Vancouver has a 3 day novel contest which allows you to plot up a storm before the event. I am not sure I would be interested in a book that was written so quickly unless it was well revised.

And then there are the people who submit their NaNo novel in December to agents an publishers.

I’ll end on the - time spent writing the novel doesn’t matter, time spent revising it is the most important. Three days (shudder!!!).

In the 60s when it became fashionable to create all kinds of stuff very quickly, a British Bond-clone thriller was published whose selling-point was that it had been written in a fortnight. Out of interest, I read it. It was… not very good.

I do remember the author’s name, but I won’t mention it. :laughing:

I’ve been thinking about it, and three days is nothing. It’s rubbish. Easy.
Three days is the slow option. The one taken by wimps and amateurs.

The trick is MANPOWER.

I reckon that with 50 or so reasonably literate individuals we could get a decent novella written in a day.
24 hours. Not a minute more.

Here is the plan:

  • I come up with a skeleton story outline broken into 50 chunks.
  • People sign up below to take part.
  • When we have enough people, we set a date to GetItDone.
  • At midnight on the morning of The Day, I send a Private Message to everyone with their own chunk to write. (People can sign up to do more than one chunk, but will need to commit to getting them done in the timescale - we will not have time to make good on missing sections)
  • Everyone writes AT LEAST 1,500 words on their chunk. More if you like, but at least 1,500.
  • Write in your own style (it’ll be part of the charm). But make it grammatically correct. No typos.
  • Chunks MUST be submitted by, say, 8pm the same day. (So that’s a word every 48 seconds)
  • I’ll collate all the chunks into a single document in Scrivener, and then compile it.
  • I’ll then post it on the site as a file for everyone to read and enjoy by Midnight the same day.

Everyone will retain full copyright in their own section, but will grant others the right to distribute for non-commerical use. L&L should be able to use it on their site, I guess, but not for sale.
Everyone contributing will get a credit showing which bit they added.

Who’s IN?

EDIT ////
The following people are in:
-xiamenese (if we can get our act together by the end of August)

oh, and me makes 7.
Or 10,500 words. More needed, we’re not looking at writing a short story here!

You’re on. I want to do the bit with the capering dwarf and the naked-except-for-Swarowski-crystal-collars women bearing bottles of Clive Christian perfume on trays beaten from the recovered copper-sheeting from sunken men-o’-war. That bit. That’s the bit I want to do? Okay? You’re on. Tell you what: I’ll throw in an extra dwarf, gratis.

Seriously: fun idea. Count me in.

Sounds fun. I’ll sit this one out (my supervisor would kill me if I directed writing time to anything other than my thesis this year) but will read the result with interest.

Possible annual event? If so, I can dream of 2012…

Count me in too. Only I’m not Michael Bywater. My last published piece of prose was a pissy and pretentious review in the Haringey Observer (or whatever it was called) of some nice old lady doing a one-woman play about the nurse from Romeo and Juliet. (I still want to kick the me that wrote that.) And a review of Fight Club, with the last (devastatingly incisive) paragraph cut off because I waffled too much. But if that doesn’t count me out, then, er, count me in. I’ll be omitting all commas and leaving those to Mr Bywater, though. Not that I’m still harping on about that, oh no.

Oh dear, I seem to be drunk. I like this idea though. Ask me again in the morning. Not that you asked me in the first place. Wait, I think I smell sherry.

It’s positively MMAD*, I tell you! But an exquisite corpse, no lie.


  • (Massively Multi-Authored Diversion)

Sign me up! That’s a fantastic idea. I apologise in advance if my section sounds like a tutorial on how to compile an e-book. :slight_smile:

I’d be in, too! Fun idea!

Just wonder how to work out the time zones between everyone.

Yeah, hitting 8pm CST or whatever, in New Zealand, might be difficult even on the best of days. As fun as it might be to have a compiled copy at the end of your day, basing the project in the U.S. probably isn’t the best for the rest of the world. Maybe 8pm JST?

Sorry, I might be guilty of stereotyping based on that cowboy hat. Heh. You could be in Malaysia for all I know.

What the heck. Sign me up.

As long as there are swords. Or spaceships. Or, ideally, both.


I’m actually in London! The hat is a rare example of me following my own advice…

It is always said that C.S. Lewis wrote each of the Narnia books in a weekend. I guess it shows!

As for this … if it’s happening in August, sign me up as I’m on holiday — just trust to a day when the family don’t take me over. If it is later than that, I’ll be back in LotGFW, and won’t have time.


[i]…almost embarrassingly modest portals of the titanic interstellar cruiser swung clumsily open and a group of unshaven, crapulous men stumbled out, peering blearily around them. “Men!” shouted what appeared, from his short, bristly moustache, to be the sergeant; “Present… ARMS!”

“What?” muttered the men.

“Arms, you assholes. Present ARMS.”

“He means wave our swords around, I think,” said one of the men.

In a single perfectly unsynchronised movement, the men, with varying degrees of effort and ineptitude, pulled swords, in varying degrees of disrepair, from their belts and waved them around for a bit.

“Form… ARCH OF HONOUR!” shouted the sergeant.

The men split into two lines and raised their swords. There was a clang as one of the blades fell off.

“Leave it, Baxter,” sighed the sergeant.

Part of a feeble fanfare sounded from the cheap sound system of the battle-cruiser before the tape stretched and broke. Then, in a tremendous gust of olfactory niceness, Bungo the Dwarf capered down the ramp surrounded by a bevy of women, naked except for Swarowski crystal collars, each holding a glittering salver of exotic Clive Christian perfumes.

“Those salvers look as though they’ve been beaten from the copper plating recovered from sunken men-o’war” said Tony the Occasionally Tactless from behind his Cam-O-Tree™.

“If they spray us, kill them all” said his subaltern, Nigel the Very Cross. “If Old Spice was good enough for my Dad, it’s good enough for me.”[/i]

… etc. That the sort of thing you’re thinking of, Katherine?

Rather fewer naked women, thanks. And men who bathe more or less regularly, though shaving is optional.


There’s egalitarian feminism for y’! :wink: :smiling_imp:

Mr B. A tape on board an intersteller liner? Are we per chance a technophobe, or are we, in your thirst for sex and violence, eschewing authenticity?
Take care Mr B
Ah Mr B. I’m being prodded into awareness. ‘A cheap sound system’! :blush: But we do push the boundaries, sometimes, don’t we Mr B?

Sorry Keith, if we didn’t hold people to stuff the agree to when they’re drunk we’d have no accountability in the world. Or in my house, in any event.

I’ve added a list of who is confirmed IN to my earlier post.