Guest Post: Michelle Franklin

July 4, 2011 § 7 Comments

Dear Blog friends,

While I’m swimming in chaos in Holland, I’ve been fortunate enough to get a few really excellent guest bloggers to entertain you in my absence. Today an extraordinarily prolific fantasy writer talks about how she gets things done:

Hello to all of Charlotte’s readers. My name is Michelle Franklin and I am the sole author of the Haanta Series: the longest, online, ongoing, romantic fantasy series. The series is a currently twenty-one book series that focuses upon the world of the Two Continents, centering upon the nation of Frewyn and all of its allies. I won’t discuss the content of the books in this post. but more importantly that what I write is how I write. I write two chapters a day and usually a short story to post on the official Haanta Series website. This amounts to about ten-thousand words a day. I am aware that may seem like an unconquerable lot, but if one considers how much one writes in emails, through messengers and over social sites in a given day, ten-thousand is not that overmuch. Charlotte has been very kind in asking me to share with you how I do what I do and I am more than delighted to tell you with the hopes that my technique can help you too.

My process is very simple:

1) Write what you love most
2) Write without the notion of being published
3) Write what you want to write at that moment
4) Begin with small and allow small to turn into big.

It is really that simple, but I will discuss each point to show you what I mean.

1) Write what you love most.
When I was in a university writing course, I was encouraged to write different genres and styles. This is excellent for those who wish to write but are uncertain as to what. I, however, knew that I wanted to write high fantasy. This was not an accepted genre amongst a group of existential fiction writers. I became frustrated, stagnant, agitated with writing and I considered giving it up until I left the class and began writing on my own. Fantasy has always been a natural proclivity for me and therefore I write nothing else. Write the genre and in the style that suits you; do not change to please others.

2) Write without the notion of being published.
Before I began writing the Haanta Series, I wrote an epic fantasy series called the Arustan series. Do not search for it; you shall not find it. I had written a few books in the series but none of them were ever finished due to my querying agents and publishers.I was told that high fantasy was out and no one beyond two or three major imprints would consider my work. I became discouraged, gave up finishing some of the books, and the rejections the frst ones received stopped me from writing altogether. It is true that the publishing industry moves in trends, as does any creative business, but I resolved not to await the time of high fantasy to shine anew to begin writing again. I began writing the Haanta series and did not query agents and publishers until I had four books completed. While I was waiting for answers, I wrote books six through ten. I did receive rejections, but because I had written so much, it hardly mattered, and when I received a few acceptances, I had plenty of material prepared.

3) Write what you want to write at that moment.
This has kept me from writer’s block for years. Many never want to deviate from their current work because they might feel that if they leave if, they will never return to it. I say, not so. I constantly write books and stories out of order because something in them might give rise to something I can use in a previous work, etc. Often, while I’m doing rewrites, I will stop and write a short story, and sometimes that short story becomes a book itself. I never prohibit myself or inhibit my characters, which keeps a constant flow of writing all day long.If your original work is important, you will return to it and possibly with more to ad to it.

4) Begin with small and let small turn into big.
Many writers feel overwhelmed with overall story and might lock themselves into an outline they would otherwise change or simply not complete. My suggestion here is to start with just one chapter or short story, whether in the middle of a book or at the beginning, or even an epilogue. Many a time, I have written the epilogue to one book only to discover what the beginning of the next one should be. Before I even began writing the first book in the Haanta Series, I had written over seven-hundred short stories. These helped me understand and develop characters as well as introduce them to readers. Often, a three-chapter short story has become a grand story arc while entire novels I may have planned become only half a book.

One other point I should like to share is this: write everywhere. I always have writing implements with me, whether digital or traditional, and I write anything that comes to mind when it comes. I have written in hospital waiting rooms, at parties, in parks- the venue matters little. What matters is that the idea is written.

I hope this was helpful in some way and I wish every writer much success with his work.

***

If you’d like to hear more from Michelle, visit her blog here.

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§ 7 Responses to Guest Post: Michelle Franklin

  • Lara Dunning says:

    Great advice Michelle. Its so important to just keep writing. I often work on my larger piece and then write smaller other unrelated pieces in between. Sometimes I do find it hard to get back to my larger work though and try to stay on target as much as I can with finishing a piece from begining to end.

  • Michelle, I took your advice and read this post. Wow, you really inspire me. I am in this challenge too with wordpress. WHO KNEW?!! Jackie from goodreads

  • Wow . . . I got to the section about 10,000 words a day and nearly fell off my chair.

    Even with the best will in the world, I can only manage about 2,000 a day before my brain dribbles out my ear!

    You’re an inspiration.

  • Charlotte says:

    Michelle, thank you for guest posting. One of the points I personally pick out in your post is the first topic: writing classes. I had the same experience at university: most of the stories I loved to write were “genre fiction” and therefore not supported. Finding that every piece is heavily criticised for not being sufficiently existential can definitely kill your desire to keep writing.

    On a similar topic, I’m always dismayed to hear about publishers’ insistence on certain types of writing. It amounts to the same thing. Just yesterday I found that one of my favourite authors of high fantasy is now writing urban/paranormal fantasy. This makes me sad, because it seems all too likely that this sudden total change of direction is at least partially the result of some pressure from the publisher.

    All of this makes me so happy about open-minded small publishers and self-publishing. I don’t want to read nothing but urban fantasy and paranormal romance (or depressive, existential fiction), so three cheers for those making it possible to broaden the field. Your advice is spot on: no matter what anybody tries to tell you, there’s an audience for whatever you love writing.

  • Égide says:

    As there is natural rate of reading, there is a natural rate of writing different for everyone.
    And probably, the rate of writing is very in correlation with the genre.
    And probably, the rate of writing is in correlation with the genre of the text wanted.
    Fantasy is a genre that demands a lot of descriptions, because characters are involved in situations in a very strange backyard, different of our own universe.

    Therefore, when you began yours saga, you had spent a lot of time to create the architecture of your new world.
    Certainly, once you were able to travel in imagination of this fancy world, the rate of writing has probably increased to the very good rate of 10,000 words per day.

    I’m curious to know what’s your natural rate of reading?
    For instance, I’m a very fast reader, with a rate of 250 pages per day.
    But I’m a lower writer with a average rate of 1500 words a day. Every day all along the year.

    Now, i work upon a long text, historical novel genre and I can’t overpass 800 words a day. This genre needs to re-write carefully the littlest detail. And I have to use a huge documentation.

    I’m sure a other writer that works in the same genre can easily write faster than me.

    All your recommendations for fast writing are excellent, I only add to be aware of your natural rate of writing in order to increase the number of words written daily until you obtain your actual best rate.

    • I am rather a quick reader. I often have to measure my pace to make a book last longer. I read only for about an hour a day, and in that time I am able to finish 100 pages or so.

      I do encourage people to challenge themselves. For example: if someone is used to writing only 500 words a day, I urge that person to try for 1000. Usually the person will get to 800, which is excellent because it’s more than that person had been used to write, but many writers believe that if they don’t reach their goals, they have failed. This is untrue; writing more than usual is the real goal.

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