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The mad skills of serial fiction - #1 - Type Fast, my friend! - Surviving Serial Fiction

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Claudia's traveling this week, so there is currently no audio for this post.

Type Fast, my friend!

Now that we've dealt with the crisis, it's time to focus on building up your basic serial fiction skills. These are the skills which will support your writing day in and day out. And on those long dark nights when everything seems like it's going wrong, they are the skills that will carry you through.

We'll start with the basics -- If you want to write serial fiction, you need to be able to type fast and accurately. The more comfortable you are with typing the easier it will be to write your stories. Luckily, this is a skill you can easily master with a little practice.

Three ways to increase your typing skills:

1. Increase your speed with typing tests: A great way to improve your speed is to use a typing test site such as Typing Test,  Type Racer, or Ten Fast Fingers. When you have five minutes, head over to the testing sites. First, take the test to see how fast you're typing now. Write it down so you'll know where you started. Spend the next five minutes taking tests. It's a great way to increase your typing speed and accuracy. Head over there at least once a month and your speed will improve.

2. Practice your typing with cliffhangers: One way to practice your typing and, at the same time, improve your writing skills is to type the last paragraph of a chapter and the first of the next from your favorite serial fiction. This is wonderful to do with cliffhanger aficionados such as Alexandre Dumas and Charles Dickens. (My personal favorite cliffhanger ridden book is the Scarlet Pimpernel.) Set a timer for five minutes and type. Try not to look at what you're typing. Just let your fingers flow over the keyboard. When you're done, you can go back and check it. Practicing your typing with master cliffhangers will teach you how they work. Soon you'll be typing fast and writing your own cliffhangers.

3. Know your flaws: As you practice, keep an eye out for your specific typing errors. Everyone has them. Knowing your own typing issues allows you to search for them in your manuscript. My particular issue happens to be putting an apostrophe-"s" when I need to use an "s" for plural. I search my documents for apostrophe-"s" and catch many of my typing errors. Use your typing practice to learn your own flaws.

Why bother with your typing skills?

Computers are here to stay. Learning to type fast is simply learning to use the equipment. Many corporations require typing tests with their standard employment testing. It may seem unfair, but corporations know -- people who type faster get more done. (Nick Kagan discusses this here.)

In the end, writing is a process of moving stories from the ether to your brain, and from your brain to the page. The faster you can type, the more you will write.

What are your typing tips? What works best for you? Let me know in the comments section or shoot me an email.

Next time, we'll talk about Ninja skills for getting in the writing mood.