Who knows how long it will take us to get to "Z" as these posts won't be consecutive. I will slip one inbetween other posts or a few may be consecutive if I have nothing else to say. I'm very excited at sharing with you all what I have learned along the way and I hope you will find them helpful, inspiring, and entertaining.
First, I don't believe there is a set way to write a novel. Every writer has their own style, their own routine, and their own method of pulling a novel together. The trick is to find yours. I can tell you that I have no rhyme or reason to how I write. I don't have a detailed outline and I can't start at Chapter 1 and write in sequence to the end of the last chapter. That doesn't work for me. I have an idea for the book, and know more or less how it should start, progress, and end. That's it. My writing begins where the muse takes me. If I have a great concept I think should be included in the book, I write it out with an idea where in the book it should be placed. I make up a chapter number for it and there it sits. I have no idea how many chapters there will be, because I believe the book is finished when I decide there is nothing more to add to the story. And, until I reach that point, I have no idea how many chapters there will be.
In my debut novel, I had 27 chapters. Once I finished my edits, which included dumping the first three chapters and a couple of others within the book, replacing them with just one chapter, I had 21 chapters. Realizing some of my chapters were too long, I split them up and rewrote the endings, leaving the final copy with 25 chapters in total. As new chapters were placed in the book, some of the existing chapter numbers changed or their placement changed.
That's my process, but not necessarily yours. So my A to Z's of Novel Writing will not include a set method or format to writing a novel, but will outline more the tools and steps necessary to actually sit down and write a book. Let's get started.
"A" is for Action
1. the process or state of acting or of being active.
2. something done or performed; act; deed.
3. an act that one consciously wills and that may be characterized by physical or mental activity.
4. actions, habitual or usual acts; conduct.
5. energetic activity: a man of action.
WRITING A NOVEL TAKES ACTION.
Thinking about it, wanting to do it, and dreaming about being a published author wont get it done. However, thinking about characters, plot, location, conflict and resolution is a definite start. Number 3 above is very important. Mental activity is just as important as the physical act of pounding on the keyboard or hand writing your story.
When sitting quiet and silent, my husband has come to recognize my facial expressions. He will say: "You're writing, aren't you?" And he's right. A lot of planning and detailing happens in my head long before I physically put it into my computer.
KINDS OF ACTION
Okay, so you're tired of working on storylines, developing protagonists and antagonists (hey, here's another "A" word and a necessary one to the plot). You're muse has dried up and you need a break. There are lots of other things you can do which all add to the process of creating a novel.
One is research. Some writer's hate this process. I happen to love it. Still, if you need to learn more about a particular subject that comes into your story, and research is a tedious proposition for you, then read another fiction story that covers that area of expertise. I am assuming here that most writer's love to read and be entertained. Here is an opportunity to enjoy a good fiction book and become knowledgeable as well to help with your storyline. (Just don't plagerize, haha.) And there are lots of non-fiction books available. In my book, I needed to research survival in the wilderness. There were lots of self-help books on that subject.
Another course of action is to read other writer's blogs, a great wealth of information with links to marketing and querying sites for writers. Because, of course, once your novel is completed, you will begin the process of pitching your book to publishers and agents, or if self-publishing, the marketing process starts. You might as well start educating yourself on this aspect early. Believe me, it will make the process smoother.
Design your business cards, book cover (if self-publishing), and book markers.
Social media is a very important aspect to marketing online. Set-up a blog and a website. Join twitter, facebook, and writing sights such as Goodreads. Join a writer's group in your hometown or an online site. Start talking about your book.
These are some action items. You can probably come up with more. The idea is to start an action, any action, that will begin the process. You will find that it will become addictive and you will be well into the process before you know it.
That's it for the "A", see you at "B".
KEEP ON KEEPING ON
Keep on keeping on writing!