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.
Any of you out there who are long distance runners know that, when it comes to running, it takes endurance. You run until you reach your goal and you don’t stop. I’m not a long distance runner, but I have run distances up to 3 miles. Yes, there were times I wanted to stop. What I did was play mind games with myself by saying I’ll stop at the next corner. Then I would keep going at the next corner and say ‘ok, the next telephone pole I’ll stop’. Again, I’d keep going. I would do this all the way to the end. Eventually, I wouldn’t need to play these little games with myself because my body would get used to it.
The same thing goes for writing a novel. There are times you want to stop before you reach your goal of whatever word count you promised yourself you would write that day. So, you play a mind game. Let’s say you fixed yourself a goal of writing 1000 words everyday starting Monday. Monday comes and you are 500 words into your writing and you want to stop. You tell yourself, ‘ok, I can write 100 more words and I’ll stop.’ You accomplish this, except now when you reach the 600 word mark, you can’t stop because you’re on a roll. You keep going. All at once you look at your word count number and you have 1200 words. YAY!!! You went over your goal. Does this happen every time? No. If you find you just can not think of anything past the 500 word mark, then stop and come back to it later that day. Who said you have to write 1000 words in one sitting? As long as you reach your goal by the end of that day.
There will be down time when you need time to think about your story and what should come next. I call this ‘Planning Time’. So…plan away. I consider my walks as part of my planning time because it gives me time to relax and think about my story. Much can come from one’s brain when they relax. Another thing that will help keep up your writing endurance is by talking about your story with someone else. My daughter helps me with that. Let me tell you…it helps in a BIG way.
Writing your novel doesn’t have to be a chore, so make it fun. Run those fingers across the keyboard or your pencil across the paper. Let your brain run in several different directions as it thinks of new ideas for your story. Endure. You can do it.
Over the last 3 weeks I’ve been in and out of my blog and posting. The reason? My husband and I found a new house. Our first. YAYYY!!! We’ve been moving much of everything ourselves. Stressful? Yup. Worth it? Oh Yeah. Much like the process of writing a novel. Yes, it can be stressful, but in the end it is so very much worth it, and the effort you put into it will give you a sense of huge accomplishment. Words of wisdom….Embrace the Stress.
When you’re writing, whether it’s a short story, a novel, or a poem, do you pay attention to what is going on around you when you aren’t writing? Sometimes I’ll write down what I hear/see in my journal for later use and sometimes I don’t. Most times I remember. I know what you must be thinking. “How can you remember all that?” Well, I don’t. It isn’t until I’m writing a scene, and what I’m writing triggers a memory of something I saw or heard, then if it fits the scene, I use it. But, most often it’s only snippets of a conversation or something I saw that I end up using. Journals are a wonderful thing though and can contain a treasure trove of useful info. Take what you can from real life and mold it like clay.
The pictures below of are my journal for my novel The Triunix of Time. As you can see from the warn tabs and such, it’s been used quite a bit.
That moment before you start. Your mind is filled with so many thoughts. How do I begin? I know what I want to say; but how to write it in such a way that hooks the reader? Will what you write be good? Will it hook the reader? Will it inspire them? Will my beginning be as good as the beginning of my last book/story? What if I “sink”? What if it “takes off”? Yes, I can do this.
It’s all so thrilling isn’t it? You may have written many books/stories before and still have these questions going through your mind before you start. You want to make your readers happy, and you want them to have fun. Not to sound pessimistic, but we can’t please everyone. Many will enjoy your stories/books and many won’t. So, relax. Have fun. Don’t stress yourself out. The truth of it is, you have what I call “Your Circle”. These are the people who you trust to give you an honest critique of your writing before you publish your work. If your beginning, middle or end or anything in between doesn’t sound right, they will tell you. Listen to what they’re saying, take it into consideration, and go from there. If you’re new to the writing craft, your self-confidence may need to be built up more. If you are more experienced, you may have more confidence and so on.
Trust yourself. Based on your writing experiences you will come to know what is good and what needs to be scrapped. So…..DIVE IN. Enjoy.