I want to just say that I don’t read writing advice books. I don’t put any stock in being told how to write, or how hard it is, or that the Super New Method of Doom works better than last month’s Amazing Super Awesome Technique of Heavenly Joy.
I know how hard writing is: I do it every day. I also know how I write.
2k to 10k however, isn’t one of those books. It’s completely different.
This book came to my attention when Rachel Aaron tweeted about it being free for her birthday, if I remember correctly, back in March. Well, at the time I was in London and for some reason, it would not download and I couldn’t acquire it. But I remembered the book and bought it at a later point. It’s £0.77 on Amazon. Come on.
2k to 10k is very short read, but it is entertaining as well as informative. It isn’t a stuffy How-To telling you what to do and what not to do; it’s almost a journal on writing, in a sense, detailing what works for a very successful writer. She manages to make the whole book easily digestible and the information within it, very accessible.
The book is split into parts: firstly Aaron talks about how to write faster, second how to plan, and third, how to edit.
I already know how to write ( everyone who writes knows how to do it, it’s simply the nuances and finer points that are always entirely unique to a book that prove more elusive) and how to write fast, and how to edit (albeit in the most long-routed way possible, thusly making my life a thousand times harder), and yet this book taught me so much. More than I expected, in fact, and that’s why I’m reviewing it.
It is possible to know how to do everything a book offers to show you and still learn invaluable lessons from the point of view and experiences of another writer. That’s really what this book is about: it’s entirely anecdotal and doesn’t pretend otherwise. No pretentiousness here; just how Rachel Aaron did it.
It’s not that Aaron’s approach is new, or that the things she tries to embed are extraordinary; in fact, they’re more like slices of common sense that many writers might have forgotten, lost in the haze of thinking about writing instead of actually thinking about writing. Sometimes it’s difficult to step outside of your own writing mindset and see if there are elements that might be improved. We’re not talking about what you write here, but rather how. How you sit down and get that writing done. Seeking out better, smarter and more creative ways of getting butt in chair and keeping it there, and making sure it is worthwhile, is no different from exchanging tips on how best to set up a workbench or how to get the most out of your knitting.
Writing, mostly, isn’t a matter of the muse deciding to swoop down and bless a session. At least it’s not been that way since the poets and playwrights stopped hanging out in opium dens and fraternizing with La Fée Verte. Regardless, it’s painfully true that most of this book is filled with nuggets that most writers already know… the great thing is that it reminds you that all this stuff is already floating about in the squishy soup of your grey matter, just waiting to be used. Reading this book simply unlocks all the stuff that gets forgotten in all the assumed pomp and ceremony over being a writer. It’s a busy playing field and you can get lost in the chaos of it, especially as an aspiring author. Somewhere along the line, you make your own life harder by presuming that there’s is A Way to write, and that’s that.
There isn’t, but there are techniques to make life easier…
Aaron’s approach to writing faster is logical and also fun: if you love writing and want to try a more controlled approach, then I think the advice in 2k to 10k is for you. I’m not especially a writer who plans every detail of his books, yet neither do I just go with it. I do something in between as I find it works better. For Aaron, knowing what you’re going to write is paramount to a good writing session. It sounds pedestrian, but it’s true: try it, follow her advice and just see the difference.
When it comes to planning there’s a lot to take from the book, things I’m very eager to try. When I read 2k to 10k I was at the beginning of April’s Camp NaNo and doomed to spend the next thirty days or so on a tight writing schedule of generally having only from 15h/16h onwards to spend writing, due to a myriad of reasons. The plan was to write 50,000 words, aka, the first half of the urban fantasy YA novel that’s been kicking around for a year or more, poking me to hurry up with my epic fantasy novel. Needless to say I had no time to plan, no time to write and certainly no time to have fun and heed all the wisdom in Aaron’s book regarding planning or monitoring your writing. Or anything else.
But I squeezed in the time to read the book and even if I used just a few of the tips during NaNo, I think it made the journey a lot smoother. So imagine what it will do for the rest of the book. The thought of being in control of my writing, in regards to planning, editing and wordage is exciting.
Now NaNo is done and the 50,000 words are done. Now I get the chance to try out everything in 2k to 10k that resonated with me. I’m excited, because there was so much, both already nestled in my head and the rest completely new and far more fun. It’s difficult to think that planning/editing can be fun. Maybe it’s a little touch of guilt that says writing and its subsequent tasks are supposed to be work. But this stuff is fun and I think it’ll work well for me.
Definitely give this book a try. Even if you take one thing from it, then you’re one element richer.