Over the past weeks I have been preparing my second novel for publication this coming November 17th. As a result, other writing ventures have been waiting for me to work on them. This blog being one of them. But soon I will be back at it, I will post more. I have had to push back the date for the publication of my poetry book, as my novel takes precedence. So, below is the new publication timeline for my other coming books.
January 17, 2023– Publication of my book of poems
February 16, 2023– Publication of my book of short stories
You want to write a novel, but you don’t know how to start. You have all these ideas milling around in your head, but you can’t seem to organize them. What do you do? Write them down. Get a journal and write it in there, or create an electronic file in your word processing program and write it in there.
What do you do once you get your ideas written down and organized? This is where I say, it all depends on how you as an individual go about it? Everyone is different and will do what is comfortable for them. But what if you don’t know how you work? You are going to have to try different things and discover what way you like best.
Here’s what I do. When I finished my first novel, I immediately wanted to write the second one. I had an idea of what I wanted the second book to be about but most of it was bunched in my head in pieces. I knew what I wanted the story to consist of but I didn’t know what I needed to do to connect those ideas. I started out by putting together a three ring binder with sections. These sections are as follows: characters, realms, settings, photos, names for characters, questions, story, style sheet, and fantasy characters.
I went through each section of my binder and added my notes in each section. Once the information was separate this way, my mind was free to meditate on each. The one section I started with was questions. I looked at those and sought to answer them. No, the answers didn’t come right away. I brainstormed the answers and some questions I had to really think about. This is where my walks came in handy. During that time my brain was free to think. Much of what I came up with and worked for my story came from that thinking time during my walks.
Example: below is a question I needed an answer to for my up and coming novel The Cross’s Key. I wanted seven realms in my novel hence the double question below…..
What will these realms be and how will I connect them to the story?
The answer to the above questions did not come right away. It took a while. That’s ok. Don’t rush your story. Take your time. But…..write down your ideas.
Projects I am currently working on will be coming to completion in the coming months. Please see the list below.
My novel: The Cross’s Key. I plan on this being published in August. However, issues have arisen with our house which may cause some delays (I hope not). But if there are delays, it will be published in September.
My book of poems: Hanging by His Hand. This will be published in September.
My book of short stories: Lights of Fantasy and other Short Stories. This will be published in January 2023.
Let’s say you are writing a novel or something shorter such as a novella. As you’re writing chapter 20, you forget about some details you wrote in chapter 3 or maybe 4. Because you forgot what was in chapters 3 or 4, the information you write in chapter 20 about the same details may be contradictive. Maybe this is happening in different places throughout your book (these are called plot holes or inconsistencies). There are three ways you can fix this.
Keep track of the information in each chapter on note cards and keep them handy as you write.
Don’t worry about fixing them until you finish your first draft, then go back to the beginning and read each chapter, keeping track of the details as you go by writing little notes in the side margins on what information needs to be fixed. Then fix them.
Have another person in addition to yourself read your first draft to look for these issues.
If you don’t fix plot holes, your readers will end up not being very happy with you. You want to make sure the read for them smooth. You don’t want them to have to stop and wonder.
As a kid people always told me how quiet I was (I still am). It surprised me (and still does) that some have a problem with that. The truth is, being quiet is part of my personality. If there is something to say, I’ll say it. I’m not the only quiet human. There are others. But there are times when I’m not. I like to be goofy and joke around, just not all the time.
What I’ve noticed though, after my dad pointed this out, when I am quiet, I am observing other people. How they talk, their mannerisms, their physical attributes, their speech patterns, everything; I take in everything. Here again, that’s how I have always been. Does this mean I observe everything around me? No. LOL. My husband is good at that. We compliment each other in that way.
If you are creating characters, be mindful of them (their mannerisms, physical attributes, language, etc.). Observe other people and write down what you observe in a character journal so you can use that information later when creating a scene/chapter in your story/novel. Or if you’re in the process of creating a character, those observations can come in handy.
Do you get stuck in places within your story/manuscript? Do you sit and wonder what went wrong during the writing of your story after everything had been going so smoothly? Why did you get stuck all of a sudden? Why the brick wall that popped up and hit you head on?
Maybe it has to do with information being in the wrong place. As you know, a novel/story is broken down into three acts with act two being broken down into two parts (the chase and the attack). What happens when you are writing and part of what you wrote should be in another act and not the one you are currently writing in? You get stuck. The story is no longer clear in your mind. The result is, you sit in front of your manuscript wondering what to write next, or you try to figure out what happened that put a stopper in your otherwise smooth writing experience. The answer could be, part of what you wrote belongs in another act. So, try to move your text in question by trying in out in another act. If it is something that belongs in act three, and you have not written act three yet, save it off to the side for later.
Another answer is that it does belong in the act you are currently writing, but it is in the wrong chapter. For example, for a couple weeks I was stuck on a couple of back to back chapters. The story was making no sense to me. The clarity was not there, and up to that point it had been. Then I realized that one of those chapters belonged in front of a chapter three chapters up, so I moved it. This particular chapter had two scenes in it. Both had the same two characters in it, but time elapsed between the first scene and the second. When I moved the chapter up three chapters, everything began to make more sense. Then, when I started reading the second scene within the moved chapter, it made no sense anymore. I sat and played around with the chapter in my head and after about five minutes, I realized that the second scene within that chapter belonged in another chapter further down, so I moved the second scene in that chapter down two chapters and put it as a second scene within its new chapter. A-HA!!! Now everything made sense.
So, next time you get stuck, before you delete and start over, move your text around.
Beginning a novel can be daunting and confusing because you might not know where to start or how to start. Ideas may be flowing from your brain, and you may have written them down; or not. Either way, when it comes to starting your story, you might fall flat…at first. Don’t worry. There’s hope. We’ve all been there.
Writing a story and drawing it out into a lengthy novel reminds me of smoothing out wrinkles. A once over is good, but you might have to go over it multiple times before it’s the way you want it. The process is lengthy, so I’m not going to kid by saying it’s easy. Time is involved. Great care must be taken. Does it get easier over time? Yes. Know this though…everyone is different. The process might be faster for some than others. That’s okay. The point is to do it your way at your pace. When I first started writing fiction I was in high school, but the urge and yearning to write started much earlier than that. I didn’t know how to write a book, when I was aged ten. Although, there were stories brewing in my head all the same. I was a daydreamer. I still am. I didn’t start getting serious about writing fiction until my undergrad years in college.
I started with writing poems and short stories, but writing novels piqued my interest more, so that journey began. I created a general idea of what I wanted to write, and I set out typing my story. The challenge came when I realized I needed to know more about writing a novel. Thus, that journey also began. Here’s what it all looked like; I wrote my novel and learned how to write one at the same time. Yes, it was time consuming, but it was fun. In that time, I put it down on multiple occasions because life happened. Over the course of writing your novel, you will run up against situations that will stop or slow you down as well.
Whether you are stuck in the starting position because you are unable to generate ideas, you are not sure in which literary genre to write, you do not know where to start, or you need to learn more about writing fiction. We are all different with various backgrounds and life events. Do what is comfortable for you. Although, it doesn’t have to be difficult for you. I don’t want you to have to figure it out along the way like I did. If you are wanting to write a novel/book (fiction) and you have questions, please feel free to ask me questions.
Everyone has a story within themselves. One that’s either dying to get out or one that wants to stay hidden. If you decide to tell your story, tell it. If you want it to remain hidden then do that. But there are two ways to let it stay hidden. You could leave it alone and do nothing at all, or you could tell it but weave it with fiction. No one will ever know. You will know, but no one else will. That is the beauty of fiction.
Have you ever played pretend when you were a kid? If so, shuffle through your mental library of pretend scenarios and expand it into a story. This could be a short story or novel. Just an idea in case you need something to write about.
Maybe you had a romance that ended on a bad note. You would like to write about that, but you don’t want anyone to know. Well, who has to know it was your experience?
Maybe you or someone you know got into some trouble. Ohhhh the intrigue that could come from a story such as this. Embellish and expand on it. Create a fictional detective series that centers around it.
Whatever stories lie within that computer bank living inside of your head, use them if you’re so inclined. That is, if you enjoy the art of writing. If not, leave them alone.
Have you ever read a short story or a novel and somewhere along the way the story/plot didn’t make any sense? It felt as though information was missing, or there was a lack of consistency. The result of all that is you scratching your head in wonder, putting the book down, or leafing back through previously read parts to see what you missed.
That gets too distracting. So how do you as the writer avoid making those same mistakes as a writer? In your own writing, some of the inconsistencies you may be aware of and some you may not be. For the ones you know of, write them down in a plot holes log. For the ones you are not aware of, you will catch those later in your editing.
To expand on this, here is what I do. In the writing software I use, Scrivener (You can find it at Literatureandlatte.com), I create an extra file labeled Edits. Within that file folder I have various files for the different types of editing I will do later. One of those files is called Plot Holes. When I know of a plot hole that I need to address later, I write it there. When I am finished with my manuscript later, one of the things I do is go to that list and fix those plot holes one by one. THEN I start reading my manuscript from page one and go straight through to the end. Along the way I am searching for any more plot holes I may have missed. I make note of them in the manuscript with my red pen and move on. When I get to the end of the manuscript, I go back to those plot holes I made note of in red pen and fix those. Please note…..when I am reading for plot holes like this, plot holes are the only things I am searching for as I am reading. DO NOT fix anything else or make note of anything else during this process because you will lose track of what you’re doing, and you don’t want to start over. If you have to stop to run an errand or cook dinner or something, mark your spot and go back to it later. Trust me, this is the process I used and it served me well.
This blog teaches the true Gospel of Jesus Christ and contends earnestly for the original Apostolic faith. Here, we aim to correct doctrinal errors in the Church, by rightly and uncompromisingly dividing the Scriptures, to expose the original Apostolic views on all matters of the Christian faith.