Showing posts from October, 2014

Plotting that Novel

In two days National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo as it is affectionately called) will begin. The objective is to write 50,000 words of your novel's first draft in thirty days! Now that's what I call a challenge. I've attempted this before and chickened out at the last minute for a variety of reasons but this year I intend to stick to it and "win" by getting those 50,000 words written.

So how does that happen? Here's where a brief discussion of plot comes in.

There are two major categories of novelists--those who meticulously outline every scene and character (outliners) and those who begin with a vague idea and then just write by the seat of their pants (pantsers.) Of course there are a hundred variations and combinations of the two and each writer must decide for herself which system works best.

I have always been a pantser--just taking an idea from the universal ether and running with it. While this works for many writers, and has worked for me in th…

Writing a Novel Means Hard Work

I do admit that writing and preparing poems and short stories for a collection was hard work. It involves writing enough of each to actually make up a whole book. Then it involves revising each until it's as perfect as I can get it, which doesn't necessarily mean perfect-perfect. Then I needed to submit poems and short stories to journals because having a few already published heightens the attractiveness of a collection for editors. I liked writing short pieces and I lowered my standards, constantly telling myself that with a full time job I didn't have time or energy to write a whole novel, let alone revise it enough times to make it palatable to editors or agents, or even to myself or members of my critique group. So I gave up the idea.

But now I have come back to it. My dream, ambition, goal is to be a published novelist and so the hard work begins. I cannot use time or lack of energy as an excuse anymore. I have to knuckle down and do the work.

Over the past month I …

Writing and Reading Novels

So I haven't posted in several days but that's because I've head four and five day weekends and have been diving deep into my novel. Finally I have focus. I have stored away art books and supplies, cleaned up my writing desk and computer desk and put poetry aside for the time being.

Looking forward to National Novel Writing Month in November as well as my critique group's twice yearly retreat, I am pumped to get this first draft finished. I will do it this time, no matter what obstacles get in my way. Because they aren't true obstacles to writing a novel, just challenges to writing that test my commitment.

I have 43 pages so far and most of my important scenes sketched out. I have my characters down including images I found online that give me visuals. And not just character visuals but pictures of their homes too. I know my main character's goals and obstacles and the subplots of other characters. This is very exciting. Writing a novel is a journey I'm up …


I lie in bed as the dawn's silver light slips under the window blinds. I am between sleep and waking, that treasured cocoon that seems to give birth to myriad story ideas and character creations. Dragging myself out of bed I head to my writing desk and open my spiral notebook to a fresh page. That's when the voices begin to hum;
"you can't write a novel" "you don't know what you're doing" "you'll never get published, go back to sleep, don't waste your time" "look at that subplot, it sucks"
Then new voices slip in between;
"come on you can do it" "just keep your butt in the chair and the pen moving and you'll get it done" "don't quit" "four pages a day and you'll be done with a first draft in no time"
"who do you think you are calling yourself a writer"
I tell you it never ends. One minute on top of the world and the next in the bottom of the writing dumpster. How…