Just saying those words “a novel in three days” seems like an impossibility to me. I know I could never churn out 60,000+ words in that amount of time. At my current rate of 2,000 words in 90 minutes, that would require 900 minutes (15 hours) at my computer. There’s just no way I could hit that.
But, for some authors—namely Michael Moorcock—it’s a possibility. He could write a 60,000 word sword and sorcery novel (a la Conan) in just three days. Granted, sword and sorcery isn’t exactly high literature, but it’s still a pretty impressive achievement.
Here’s the basics of his process (taken from THIS POST, where you can find more details):
- Have everything prepared.
- Model the basic plot on the “Quest” theme.
- The formula depends on the sense of a human being up against superhuman force — politics, Big Business, supernatural evil, etc.
- Make lists of things you’ll use.
- Prepare an event for every four pages.
- Prepare a complete structure. Not a plot, exactly, but a structure where the demands were clear.
- Prepare a list of images that are purely fantastic, deliberate paradoxes say, that fit within the sort of thing you’re writing. The City of Screaming Statues, things like that.
- The imagery comes before the action, because the action’s actually unimportant.
- In your lists, in the imagery and so on, there will be mysteries that you haven’t explained to yourself.
- Very often a chapter is something like: attack of the bandits —defeat of the bandits.
- Time is the important element in any action adventure story.
- Don’t have any encounter without at least information coming out of it.
- You start off with a mystery. Every time you reveal a bit of it, you have to do something else to increase it.
- Never have a revelation of something that wasn’t already established.
- There’s always a sidekick to make the responses the hero isn’t allowed to make: to get frightened; to add a lighter note; to offset the hero’s morbid speeches, and so on.
- Divide your total 60,000 words into four sections, 15,000 words apiece. Divide each into six chapters.
- When in doubt, descend into a minor character.
- Once you’ve started, you keep it rolling.
It’s a pretty impressive formula, one that seemed to work wonders for him. After all, EVERYONE who reads fantasy has heard of Elric of Melnibone and his soul-drinking blade Stormbringer (no relation to the Hunter’s blade Soulhunger!).