Monday, December 21, 2015

PLANNING A NOVEL

we live at the edge of the miraculous

You might wonder why I included my own art journal page on this blog that is supposed to be about writing a novel. Well I found this saying in a fortune cookie--"we live at the edge of the miraculous" and I thought it applied.

Writing a novel is a miraculous process, one I've engage in several times. Some to completion, while other novels sleep soundly in my file cabinet never to be awakened again. As I approach this coming new year I must make a commitment to actually writing a novel. I have the idea and have spent the past two weeks planning it.

Planning involves an overall description of important scenes or plot points. It means coming up with characters to inhabit the story and giving them names, jobs, personalities and physical descriptions. 

I'm not a big outliner and over the past few years I have read books on outlining and tried to write the last novel following a scene by scene outline that took hours to create. For this coming year I am going back to my "seat of my pants" style. I have the general idea and I am just going to sit with my spiral notebook and blue ball point pen and just write.

You see when I outlined I never finished the novel--I got too caught up in the planning. Prior to that I wrote 3 novels from the seat of my pants. Granted they required vast revision--but the writing energy was strong and I did get to the end. So I'm giving it a try once more. 

The only preplanning was coming up with important plot points. Those are sketched out as well as the general story line. And I will hit 2016 with pen in hand ready to write this thing.

I'll keep you posted on my progress and perhaps hold a contest for a title for the book since I don't have one yet. That's unusual for me but I have to plow ahead and write. 

I want to keep this blog going! Post a few times a week on progress and offer some hints, advice, book recommendations, prompts and contests.

Keep reading and follow this miraculous journey to the final page and "the end."

Monday, December 7, 2015

RESOLUTIONS


I always believed New Year resolutions should be composed in December. That way you can just dive right into them on January 1. This is the first year I am actually doing that!

The new issue of Writers' Digest magazine says "Make 2016 the year you write your novel." So that is my plan. I have no more excuses. Now that I am retired I have all the time I need. I just have to muster the motivation and inspiration. I have the idea for the novel so now I have to take a few first preparatory steps.

  1. Clear away art supplies and wash my art/writing desk.
  2. Set up my writing craft books on the computer desk.
  3. Create a binder for the novel and take out a fresh clean spiral notebook for notes and the first draft.
  4. Begin planning the story and creating characters.
I want to be able to start right in on a first draft beginning January 1.

In the planning stages I am using a few tools and ideas from writing gurus.

First I am going to re-watch the videos that Martha Alderson created. One series is about developing you plot. The other series is about your personal journey as a writer. Each series of videos come with free workbooks that I will follow. Martha Alderson is aka the Plot Whisperer.


I've been to her retreat which was immensely helpful and have read and used all of her books. Her prompt book is a great way to launch a first draft and I will use that in the new year.

I have also learned a lot from Diane O'Connell's book on novel writing.


Here she lays out a plan for creating a novel that will have a strong story, engaging characters and solid marketability. Her online class was fun and informative and phone consults with her helped to narrow my writing focus.

So the next three weeks will be spent in preparing to write a clean first draft and in creating a year full of goals for this novel and for a long range career in novel writing.

Yes- I believe 2016 will be the year I finish a novel and begin to seek representation and publication!! Full steam ahead!!



Tuesday, December 1, 2015

GOALS AND OBJECTIVES



After working for over 25 years in the field of special education I know all about goals and objectives. At least I know how to write them for my students. Now I must create some for myself if I ever want to get this novel written.

Between now and January 1, 2016 I must lay down my writing goals for the coming year. Timelines involve getting a first draft done by the time my writers' group goes on retreat again in April.

I will need weekly goals, monthly goals and a daily writing schedule. I want a good second draft completed by July when the Romance Writers of America has its annual conference.

I need to calculate how many pages a day, chapters a month, whatever I need to write in order to meet my self-imposed deadlines.

It will be a long road, but I have to take the first steps and keep trudging along until I meet my goals and get a novel written, revised, published and be ready to write novel number 2!!