Monday, September 29, 2014

A Peek at a Novel in Progress

Meghan stared at her twin sister's pale and lifeless body through a haze of tears. Beneath the white hospital blanket Meredith's slim body was still, so unlike her usual exuberant and hyperactive personality. Had it only been six hours ago that Meghan had left left her sister alone on their sixteenth birthday? Had it only been this same evening that Meghan had chosen her friends over her family? What if she had stayed around? Would Meredith still be gone, or would Meghan have averted this successful attempt at suicide?

Meghan reached beneath the blanket and removed the silver ring from Meredith's hand. She slipped it onto her own ring finger along with her own matching ring. Meghan's parents had given her and Meredith identical rings, two slim silver bands twined together, for a sixteenth birthday present and to honor how alike the girls were.

I failed you, Meghan whispered to herself. I can't bring you back, but somehow I promise I will find a way to redeem my mistake, to honor your life. I didn't see this coming. I'm sorry.

She bent and kissed her twin's cool cheek then turned and left the hospital room. Her parents waited outside in the hall and they flanked her, one on each side, and held her hands as the three walked out of the hospital to begin the cold and detached process of planning a funeral.

Cold and detached that's how Meghan felt as they walked out into the cool night air.

And so begins my new novel. And so begins Meghan's journey toward redemption. 

Finding time to write a novel is a challenge but I am becoming absorbed in the story and in the lives of my characters and so as each day passes I am lost further and further into my novel "Safe Places" which means I am more and more motivated to write.

Like my characters I have goals and motivations that keep my novel writing on track and I will fight passed the conflicts in order to write this novel and get it out into the world.

Planned deadline for a complete first draft is December 30.

Wish me luck.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

NOVEL WRITING PROGRESS

Wow! Here is is two weeks after I posted "Day One" and I haven't blogged since then. But I must tell you I am making progress on the novel. I gathered together what I have so far and done some revision. I brought a new chapter one to my critique group, "Tapestries" and incorporated some of their fantastic suggestions. I am now revising the prologue, to deepen it, and make it fit with this new draft.

I must say I am getting lots of help and motivation in writing this novel from Martha Alderson's book "The Plot Whisperer Book of Writing Prompts." The book assists in writing a novel by providing a daily dose of motivation, a hint about plot development and a specific plot prompt that gets your novel's draft moving along. Though most of my story is written and the ending is in my head, I find these prompts help me write my novel by keeping me on a daily writing regimen that helps me get to know my characters better, build backstory that I need to know though it might not end up in the novel I write.

I'm moving along, getting lots of help, and feel confident this draft will be done by December 30.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

DAY ONE

Despite the fact that I began this novel in 2009 and have already written partial drafts of three different versions, I am beginning anew today. Writing a novel takes hard work, inspiration, time, a good plot, engaging characters and lots of surprises and twists. Without those ingredients in your novel writing stew it won't work.

So taking what I have from the latest iteration of this novel--which is 43 pages-- called "Safe Places" I am basically starting from scratch. And if writing a novel is like preparing a stew then before you cut up and blend the ingredients you have to get the ingredients.

I am following these steps in the first stage of writing this novel.

  1. read the first chapter that was already written and revised it to make it stronger and have it make better sense
  2. went online and found images of people to represent the characters in the book and added them to the character section of my novel writing workbook
  3. created a new story blueprint to solidify this version's plot
  4. printed out pictures of houses to represent the main character's house (Meghan O'Hara), the counseling center (Warwick Teen Counseling), and Jared Carlson's house (the romantic involvement for my main character
  5. created a Beat Sheet to outline the main points of the novel.
Novel writing is an exercise in craft, creativity and endurance. It will take time and hard work but this time around I must finish this, and I mean finish to the point where I can begin to query editors and agents.

I plan on a lifetime career as a novelist and there is only one way to make that happen. While the exercises in "The Success Principles" make sense and I'm sure are worth doing, I want to use my limited creative time to actually write this book. I'll refer to that book when I need a boost of encouragement and motivation, but most of my time needs to be spent writing "Safe Places" Because you can't write and finish a novel unless your writing that novel.

That's all for now as I need to get back to my plot and characters.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Evolution of a Novel

I admit I am one of the most scatter brained, distractible, and indecisive writer and artist in the world. One day scrapbooking, one day poetry and art journaling, next day short stories. But today will be different, and all the days ahead will be different as well.

First and foremost I am a novelist. My favorite thing to read is novels, not poetry or short stories. Within the fiction genre I prefer romantic suspense and thriller. I used to enjoy literary fiction but as I get older I need the fast pace and seat-of-my-pants reading experience I get from more commercial types of fiction. And as many writer, editors and agents admonish writers, you should write what you like to read because of cause you know and have integrated into your mind, the structure of that genre better than any other. 

Indeed while writing craft books are an immense help, nothing can replace learning how to write by reading the kinds of books you want to write. I've read all the Hero's and Heroine's journeys books and can pick out each step along that adventure when reading books or watching movies. I do feel I have integrated the sense of story arc from reading so many novels of any genre. 

As I write I can sense how to end a chapter on a cliff hanger, where some suspense and tension needs to be amped up, and where the reader needs a little pause to read some inner thoughts of characters.

But writing a novel is not only about reading other novels, or reading craft books or taking classes. Writing also requires hard work, time and commitment, and those are elements I've only applied intermittently in the past. But this time around is different.

Again books help to ensure that commitment to the task and the work.

I'm reading Jack Canfield's "The Success Principles," as well as listening to the audio CD in my car during my long commute. I am also reading books by Kelly Stone like "Thinking Write," "Time to Write," and "Living Write." All of these resources supply excellent motivation and tools for sticking to a writing project and I am going to adhere to them and make them work for me.  

In this blog I am going to take you on a little journey. I will share my experiences of what I learn from these motivational books as well as other writing craft books. And I will take you along on my own novel writing journey. You may like of dislike, use or not use, my methods and writing process, but I think it will be fun to travel this road to success together. 

The subtitle of "The Success Principles" is "how to get from where you are to where you want to be." Well, I wish to become a published novelist. Though I may never hit the bestseller category I want some moderate success and the only way to achieve that is to do the work and put in the time and not let any excuse slow me down or halt my progress.

So come along for the ride, it will be fun and you might just learn something about writing a novel, having solid goals, and stepping on each trail stone you need to touch in order to arrive at your destination. For me that destination is to be an established novelist.

Monday, September 1, 2014

DILEMMA

Trying very hard today to make some creative decisions. So far over this four day weekend I have made art, created some art stamping and scrapbooking, written a few poems and mentally worked out plots for a novella or novel written in short stories. All that plus some plot planning for my memoir.

How do I learn to focus in one creative area so I can build a career for my retirement?

Yes writing is my passion and all forms of art are my loves. With only so much time in the day I need to learn more focus.

So a few ideas:
Create a writing routine and follow it.
Come up with page quotas for each day
Work out my one month, six month, and one year writing goals

I'll keep you posted on my progress.