A Novel in 3 Months (week 5) – writing!

Last thing watched: The Good Wife and House
on the iPod: Turning Points by Jenny Crusie (RWANational CD)

Okay, so here’s where we start knuckling down and getting further into your story.  Notice I didn’t say “let’s start writing” because you have spent the last 4 weeks writing, whether it be plotting, characterising or on your synopsis.  And all of that is definitely not going to waste!

So with my story, here’s what I have down so far:

  • the genre/sub genre
  • a sense of my characters, their wants and conflicts
  • an overview of the plot, including turning points
  • where/when the story takes place
  • a sense of The End

One important thing to remember as you start writing your scenes – NOTHING IS SET IN STONE.  (Well, okay, apart from it being a romance and there has to be a HEA :grin:)  If you find your character doing something that doesn’t sound logical or plausible to them, you can change it.  If you find your story will work better in a small country town rather than the big city, you can change it.  And if you suddenly want to change everything from 3rd person to first person POV, then go right ahead.

Jenny Crusie calls this getting-it-all-down-on-the-page stage the  “don’t look down draft”.  I like to call it “the dirty draft,” because many parts may not be to my satisfaction (notice I didn’t say ‘perfect’!) and need dusting up to reach the level where I’m happy to leave it and move on.

It’s important when you’re writing your dirty draft to get the words down.  If a word eludes you, if you need some particular fact that will take you from the page or you’re simply stuck, add a footnote or bookmark to your document, make a note (mine say, originally, “add more here!”) then move on.   By bookmarking, it’s way easier to come back to on the second pass through.

Now, I’m not going to insist you all start writing at Chapter 1, scene 1 unless you really, really feel the urge to.  Instead, I want you to start on that scene you’re burning to write.  It may be a conflict scene,  a love scene, or where the hero/heroine confronts the villain with some fabulously witty dialogue or a punch in the nose.   Or even just a scene where the hero is staring at the heroine thinking, “Yes.  Her.”   (oooh, that’d be a great opening sentence!  :lol:)   It’s a scene that simply grabs you and refuses to let you go until you’ve got it all down on paper.  Doesn’t have to be perfect, doesn’t have to be reams and reams.  Just the actual scene.  Mine tend to be Chapter 1, scene 1 because I get so excited about a brand-spanking new story and my Asperger’s tendencies demand I start at the beginning and write as it unfolds 😀

I’ll give you a few days, and then we’ll talk about it – what the scene was, how it progresses the story and what would precede and/or follow that scene.

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2 comments on “A Novel in 3 Months (week 5) – writing!

  1. Glad to hear I’m not the only one who HAS to start scene 1, chap 1.

    Thanks for another great post Paula.

  2. I agree, Paula, I start at Chap 1 – Scene 1, because I love the start of a new project. Sometimes I run off the rail as I move through the story, depending on how my characters are feeling.

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