A common attitude among beginning writers is this: I’m not ready to write this story, because I don’t want to waste words. I was no exception to this line of thinking. As if words were a limited commodity…
Approaching the end of a novel can be quite exciting, especially coming out of the bog that is the middle. You’re checking off scenes from your outline, if you did one. Those of us who don’t outline, can now see ways the book might end. (I’m typically 2-4 chapters from the climax when I can see my ending.)
No matter how experienced you are at writing, every novel suffers the one-third point problem. That is, you write one-third or so of the novel, and then all the energy and momentum disappears. You get stuck. You don’t know what to write next. This is normal.
One sentence at a time. Or one page at a time. However you divide up your novel, it should be in small enough chunks to be easily chewed. I tend to focus on the level of scenes. Fifteen minutes here, 250 words there, by the end of the day if I’ve put in enough writing time, I can get a scene.
Again, this was originally written with the National Novel Writing Month audience in mind, but the technique is important. In fact, I'd argue depth is the most important trick every fiction writer must learn. Learn how to add depth, and your fiction will become more vibrant and colorful.
Another topic from my days as a regional ML for National Novel Writing Month. It was specifically geared towards helping people in November, but the concepts apply to year-round writing as well. Time management is the same, whatever time of year. Myths abound regarding writers and the writing craft. I wish to squash two myths that pertain specifically to Nano.
Nothing wrong with jumping into a novel head first, without preparation or research or even character ideas. However, it helps to be organized. Writing a novel—especially a first novel—is messy by nature. Here are some methods that you may find useful.
This year, I wrote a little over 230,000 words in fiction, non-fiction, and journaling. The figure might be a little higher, because my record keeping system was crap for much of the year, so I think some titles didn't counted properly. I had no word count goal for the year, so even though I feel like I could've done more, 230k is a win.
In 2016, I wrote eight weekly short essays about writing for my National Novel Writing Month region. They focus on practical advice for the aspiring novelist during November, with topics like attitude, time management, writing scenes, and finding the end. Over the next eight weeks I'll republish the essays to my blog, for everyone to … Continue reading Friday Morning Pages: Attitude
After I left college for the first time, I had spent a lot of years defining myself as an intellectual, but none of that time of deep thinking helped me figure what I wanted to do in life. I’d been rejected from grad school some half dozen times, and eventually decided I didn’t really want a PhD. Job interviews didn’t go over well, because I couldn’t convince anybody I was serious about any one career path.