I want to talk about the five day challenge.
Cursed was written within a span of five days, where the final chapter "A Full Moon" was posted online for my friends on Halloween night. So, how did I manage to write a publishable story in such a short time period? I will share you some of my techniques and insights in the hope that you may do the same. Here's to all the aspiring writers. A fair warning there may be some spoilers revealed down below for Cursed, so tread lightly.
1. Have a vision
Being a visual learner and somewhat of an artist, I have the ability of envisioning scenes through moving pictures. For instance, I could imagine the layout of Blackthorn Campground quite vividly, including the old cottage that Damian resided in on the very edges of a dense pinewood forest. If you can see the layout of your story in your mind's eye, it will be easier to depict that same scenery through words. If I experience any difficulty imagining an appearance of a character or a landscape I tend to go on Pinterest to gather some inspiration. Fortunately, most of the background scenery was based on the uncharted wilderness where I live, so most of the layout was taken from areas that are close to my home.
2. Find your optimal time for writing
My greatest writings tend to occur in the early hours of the morning, so I am talking about the break of dawn. In the month of October I had an extremely busy schedule since I was working part-time while finishing up my last year in University. My time was demanded between these two social spheres, but I was determined to get this story out to the public before Halloween night. It meant sacrificing any time to sleep in, so that I could write a short chapter every day. Admittedly, it was hard to wake up and immediately start writing, but once I had a good cup of tea and some music (mainly soundtracks) it helped to put my thoughts down onto paper. I once heard that the best-selling writers tend to write a chapter everyday. It is a good routine, because after a while your body adopts to it, and quickly types up the next segment of your story without much mental requirement on your part.
4. A hard deadline
My last advice if you want to write a story in a short time period is to come up with a hard deadline. I decided to write this story very last minute, admittedly. I mentioned it online to a few of my friends that I wanted to write a Halloween story, and they got immediately excited at the prospect of it. When I posted the first few chapters I never told anyone that it was a werewolf story, I wanted them to figure it out for themselves. My plan was for them to become a detective like Sara, and slowly put the dots together. As each day passed by, I put in a few more red-flags, hoping they could catch onto the mysterious problem with Damian, and the reason he is so determined to not have anyone outside after dark. It wasn't until the last chapter that everything is revealed to the main characters. I specifically recall staying up until three in the morning typing away at the last chapter because it was the longest one I had ever written thus far, but also because it had the big reveal of Damian's truly sinister identity. The deadline gave me no choice, but to finish the story the night before Halloween.
I hope this gave you some encouragement to write a story of your own. Remember to get inspired by the world around you! It is never to late to finish that work in progress or to start a new one. If you need any advice or wish to comment, there is a section box down below for you to leave your thoughts. Happy writing!
- Peter Gray