I’m still finding notes from earlier story and novel projects, and think it is a good idea to review lessons learned from drafting and editing my previous two practice novels, before I start drafting my next WiP, which I think (or hope) that I’m nearly finished planning.
My second practice novel, started on Wattpad, was easier to track the deadline on the NaNoWriMo2015 website before I set up my own spreadsheet. It taught me several things about managing Depression (actually PTSD -> anger->depression…).
First: Making a deadline feels good, even if it is Just/Only YOUR deadline. You DID it.
Second: Physical activity every day, like running or dance, etc, is, at least for me, imperative (and also read, and have a sun lamp, if you live farther from the equator than the 35th parallel…).
Third: Making a deadline a second time, better than you did the first time, proves you can repeat the feat, thus showing discipline and perseverance. This helped me feel like less of a waste of oxygen while I can looked for a way to use that to help other folks.
Fourth, the actual writing lessons:
Writing 1.) When writing your first/second/fifth practice novel, be sure to have a physical workout routine, preferably involving boxing gloves, AND several people to talk to about all of the crap your writing will drag out of you. (Remember NOT to use the gloves on the people…)
Writing 2.) For me, at least, plan the ending first…
Writing 3.) Plan setting, time and weather for each scene, not just the plot!!
Writing 4.) Outline by scene, not by # of words (I outlined by 300wds, which ended up driving me nuts toward the end…)
Writing 5.) Do not write a chapter per file, it is a formatting nightmare to insert 18 files (one for each chapter) into one ‘book’ file on an exhausted day 28!
Writing 6.) Lay out the chapter plan on one large calendar in the same notebook (if at all possible) as the planning notebook (and resist the temptation to plan each chapter on small scraps of paper!! You cannot believe the number of scraps I now have floating around…).
Writing 7.) Start on day one, and don’t punish yourself for not planning ahead. A planner is not a pantser, and I, a planner, felt annoyed trying to write stream-of-consciousness just because I had 2000 words to finish That Day.
Better, I learned, to take the day to plan out the next two scenes and write them the next day, at least for me.
I found that when I knew the time of day and year and weather as well as what the MC was supposed to do in the next couple of scenes, I could just imagine the flow and zap, 2000 words came out of no where (I did NOT say 2000 Good Words, but that is for the next 3 or 4 re-writes!!!).
Writing 8.) Set a new notebook aside for the 30-Day 50k challenge, because it will turn into at least a year, and probably 80k words. Before it goes back down to 60k again.
In Solidarity with All Kind People,
Peace via Cooperation and Non-Cooperation,
modified from original 2015 post,
some Action Items in support of literacy and writing that you can take right now:
1.) Download some advice on novel writing, maybe from two different websites,
2.) Share your thoughts on the value of each person writing a book,
3.) Write a novel that references a classic book, tells a good story, and makes a difference. I’m working on that through my historical fantasy #WiP, #WhoByFireIWill. Once published, donate one or more copies to your local public library, as I intend to do.
Other ideas welcome on how to #EndPoverty, #EndHomelessness, & #EndMoneyBail, starting with improving these four parts of our good #PublicDomainInfrastructure:
September 2020, High Holidays of 5781, 12020 HE
Click here to read, if you like:
B5, La Casa De Papel/Money Heist, & Lupin & Hakan: Muhafiz/The Protector Reviews
Holistic High School Lessons,
or My Long Range Nonfiction, & Historical Fiction Writing
Thoughtful Readers, if you are on Twitter, please consider following #Project Do Better on Twitter.
Shira Destinie Jones’ work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.