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ARTICLES AND TIPS
© 2002 by: Candy D. Lucas
Writing a novel is a daunting task. Although we writers love to write, there can be times when the experience is a rough road. Here are 7 tips that can assist you in achieving your goal. A manuscript, complete, and ready for submission.
1) Keep Notes
First and foremost, it's easier to keep track of your writing, if you keep necessary information in a notebook. A three-ring binder, a day planner, or a wire bound paper tablet can work. Use whatever makes you comfortable. Keep everything that pertains to your novel in one place for easy access.
Ok, it's easier, when traveling in unfamiliar territory to have a roadmap. Which is not unlike traveling along your plotline from chapter one to the end. Keep a section of your notebook for plotting only. Any plotting ideas, or full scenes can be kept here until needed in the story. Use subheadings in this section, as needed, so when you need to find a certain detail, it will be easily available.
3) Meet Mr. Wizard
Characters are more than just names. Character creation and development are crucial to your manuscript. Keeping a running list of characters, along with characterization charts can be very beneficial. There is nothing worse than a character having blonde hair and green eyes in chapter one, later to find this same character in chapter five, having black hair and brown eyes!
When first writing your characters, this list will assist you in keeping your characters true to life. If your heroine has a quirky trait, such as nail biting when nervous, keep this information in a character profile chart. This way you can mantain accuracy in your characters from beginning to end.
Some write using an outline, others do not. Some linger somewhere in between. Keeping a small outline, with the basics will help keep your plotting train on the right tracks. Organize your plot line, ideas, and general bones of your story here. This outline, is just that. Only an outline. It's not set in stone. It can help you to see where your story is or is not going. Adjust your story accordingly.
5) Just the facts Ma'am!
As you are writing, you may find you must do research on a particular topic. Keep all things that need further exploration here. Keep another running list of questions, facts or general information that needs to be researched. As you do this research, double check your facts. Also, keep bibliographies of the sources you have used in your fact finding. This could be important if you find you need further information on the same topic. It's much easier to locate further details if you have a record of where you found the original information. This also serves as a record of your research, should any of your facts come into question by an editor.
6) A colorful landscape
Keeping background and setting information is critical. Everything from plants and wildlife to homes and towns will keep your settings real. If your novel is set in a rural area, you must keep the setting true. You don't want "city life" imposing in the middle of a cattle ranch! Although slips in setting may go unnoticed by an editor, there will ALWAYS by a reader that knows what one can expect to see in a rural setting. Small slip-ups in setting can throw a reader out of your novel, and could possibly cause you to lose readership. Make sure to keep your settings seamless, and avoid knocking your reader back to reality.
7) Reality Check
Remember, no matter how much you plot, research, and keep notes, this is not going to replace your actual writing! These are simply suggestions to assist in completing a well constructed novel, from beginning to end.
NOW GO WRITE!
© 2001 by: Candy D. Lucas
How many times has it been preached to the aspiring writer to "write what you know"? Personally speaking, if I wrote what I know, not only would it not sell, but each that read my writing, including myself would be bored to tears.
As a working woman, mother, and wife, my stories would be riddled with common place tales. That would be about as appealing as burnt toast! However, when I write about the unknown, suddenly the toast becomes a succulent breakfast.
Writing about a sunset, pink and purple glazing the horizon at the edge of the woods might grab a moments attention. If I contnued the description to include the fact I saw this sunset out my window as I washed the dinner dishes, children serenading me with their fighting, the ball game on the tube, with hubby shouting at the ump for a bad call...would kill the romance of the sunset.
I, personally, write romantic fiction to escape the real everyday world in which I reside. More specifically, historical romance. It takes me to another place in time, far from the normalcy of children, husband, and cleaning.
I have traveled all over the United States, as my father was a truck driver. I remember sitting in the passenger seat, my eyes taking in all the wondrous things that lay over each and every hill. My mind wandered, seeking to find what my eyes didn't see. I wondered about the people that lived in the small houses, all lined with picket fences. I imagined the elderly couples rocking in their rockers on the perfect little porches on Sunday afternoons.
I wondered about the lives they lived. What wondrous things they must have seen. What did they do when they were my age? My mind traveled to distand places, and contemplated diverse things.
What did other children do? Did they play the same games I played? And now...I dream of medieval times, of men riding black war stallions, in shining armor. And just how in the world did they manage to stay atop the large beasts?
Reading books, any kind, have always sparked my imagination. For those blessed moments, I escaped my own world, and became a new person in a glorious new place in time.
I wonder about other writers. Have they always written about things they knew? What about mysteries, fantasies, and paranormal novels? And lets not forget about horror stories. Are those writers writing what they know? Are they fairies by day and homicidal maniacs at night?
Those writers were writing about things that sparked their imaginations. Imagine yourself fulfiling your dreams. Write where your imagination and curiosity take you. Go to places you don't know. Read, research and learn about facinating lands, people, and cultures.
Albert Einstein said it best..."Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world."
Imagination and knowledge. Sounds like a good combination.
|TIP OF THE WEEK
Suffering from writer's block? Some believe this is only in the mind of the writer, that a block doesn't actually occur.
However, if you are that writer, and you just can't seem to get the words to flow, try this.
Stir up your schedule. If you normally write at 6am, try writing at 6pm.
If you write when it's completely quiet, try writing to the sound of soft music playing.
If you write with an outline, try ditching it, and just write. No back tracking, no editing. Allow yourself to write whatever comes to mind. It can be edited later when your creativity is back to its normal level.
Stir things up whenever possible. It just might break that block that is all in your head!