Friday, November 21, 2008
Writing contemporary novels...
Writing contemporary novels doesn’t have quite the same layers as writing a historical novel.
1. I write my idea in one sentence and then paragraph. (Randy’s Snowflake!)
2. I then sit down and write the first chapter. It gives me an insight into the characters/voice/theme.
3. I make sure the story problem is woven into the first page of the first chapter. What is this book about? What does my character want more than anything?
4. I play with the setting/character(s). I ask how can I make the setting almost a character itself. I ask what family situation/characteristics/history does this person have to make the stakes higher in his/her effort to achieve the goal?
5. I start researching—the setting, the lifestyle, the area, the occupation, etc.
6. I sit down a write out a summary for the whole book. With each chapter I keep making things worse for the character. Then I add the climax and resolution.
7. The summary is usually 12-17 pages, and I center each part around “scenes” for the novel. I skip over the boring stuff in my summary … which reminds me to skip over the boring stuff in my book.
8. I go back and start writing the novel. Sometimes I make notes of things I need to research. Sometimes I stop writing and start looking for the info I need.
9. I don’t’ start from page one and keep going to the end. Instead, I’ll write the scene that is freshest and/or more exciting in my mind. Later, I piece the parts together and fill in the spots that need filling. (Usually there is little filling needed, which shows that all the highlights have been hit.)
10. I write fast—as fast as I can, and I don’t edit myself as I go.
11. I close my eyes and picture what is happening. I put myself in the middle of the scene, see it, smell it, taste it, feel it and then put all that on the page.
12. When the novel is done, I go back and have software http://www.naturalreader.com/ read it to me. It helps me “feel” the story. Then I edit and send it to my friends to read.
(photo courtesy of flickr)