Monday, March 4, 2013

Methods of Writing: #3 Kiser

Methods of Writing: #3 Kiser

     While investigating different writing styles for my on-going blog series, I came across the Kiser Method.  This method allows writers to complete an entire manuscript in approximately nine months.  It's more of a hybrid of the truly methodical Snowflake Method I discussed last time and my Linear Style I discussed in the entry before that. It's also a good fit for people who like to be told what days to be creative and when not to be.

     The Kiser Method breaks writing into month-long chunks but it considers each month to have 25-days. That's more of a Venus month than an Earth month but it does allow the writer to take off three to six days a month (depending on if it's February or March, etc.)  Breaks are always good but planning to turn off creativity on certain days is an odd premise to me.  Sure, I don't write every, single day like I am supposed to but I also don't pre-plan my no-creativity periods in advance either.

     One thing to bear in mind about the Kiser Method is that the originator's goal for this plan is to turn out a 100,000-150,000 word novel in nine months.  The truth of the matter is that unless you are already a known commodity, good luck in selling an over 100,000 word novel out of the gate.  The going word rate for first and second novels right now are more in the 50,000 to 70,000 word ballpark. The good thing about the Kiser Method, in light of this, is that if it works for you, you may bang out your entire first draft in well less than nine months.

The Kiser Method has six main steps:

1.) Spend the first month planning out your novel. Use this time to decide on characters and location, outline, plan key scenes, and map as you see fit. Make sure you create a useable outline.  (Although it doesn't say it, I assume you decide on the story idea before sitting down to step one.  Depending on how many hours a day you put into this and how detailed your pre-scene work, character development, and location/setting planning is, you will be spending as much as 25-50 hours in month one just planning. );

2.) Month two is the first month you actually write.  Everything in month one was just mapping and out-lining. The plan here is to write 500 words a day for 25 days. That will produce 12,500 words in month one.  Then take five days off to read and edit the above product;

3.)  Spend months three, four, and five building on your original 12,500 words from month two.  The goal here is to know write 900 words a day for 25 days on, then take five days off.  Then write 900 words a day for 25 days on with another five days off. Repeat for a third month in a row. The plan is that at the end of month five, you should have 80,000 words;

4.)  Spend month six trying to knock out 1200 words a day for the last 25 days. You should end up with approximately 110,000 words;

5.)  Spend months seven, eight, and nine editing the above manuscript at a rate of seven pages a day.  You are allowed during this part of the process to add or delete words to streamline the manuscript into a finished product. It is still important in this process to stay true to your original outline from step #1 above. At the end of the ninth month, the manuscript should be complete;

6.) Spend months ten, eleven, and twelve resting before starting the process all over again on another novel.

     This all sounds very interesting and it has a great structure, but I am at a loss on the planned breaks in creativity. This,in my opinion, is too close to taking the art out of writing. I like the dedication of the specific word counts for each day because I actually love structure like that but making myself not write for five day blocks at a time at the end of every month and then taking a full three months off a year is just too much down-time for me when it's the whole process of writing and creation that I love so much.

     How about you?  Have you tried the Kiser Method?  How do you feel about the built-in down times?

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