Dramaquill's All Things Writing

July 26, 2013

Writing Advice: What Do You Want To Know?

Over the years I’ve blogged on a wide variety of writing topics from playwriting to suspense novels, marketing, book reviewing, contests and more.

After going through my archives, I thought I might turn my blog over to my readers for the month of August by answering your writing related questions.

Please fill out the form below. I’ll post answers (and links, if appropriate) to my favourite questions every Tuesday in August.

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May 10, 2013

Writing a novel is like running a marathon.

Writing a novel can seem like a daunting task, especially to the first-time newbie.  A novel is long (according to Wikipedia, it’s 40,000 words or more)  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Word_count#In_fiction

A novel needs a plot that can sustain all those chapters and keep the reader interested until the very end.

http://www.writersworkshop.co.uk/Plot.html

http://www.how-to-write-a-book-now.com/plot-outline.html

A novel requires characters that people will care about enough to keep reading.

http://thewritepractice.com/resources/characterization/

http://voices.yahoo.com/unique-tips-creating-memorable-characters-your-315059.html?cat=3

But most of all, you have to sit on your butt and write…and write…and write.  And here’s where I think it’s similar to training for a marathon.

At first, it’s very likely you won’t be able to just sit and write and everything will fall neatly into place.  You’ll need to develop stamina to keep you there for the long run.  Just as an athlete has to work up to the distance of a marathon (http://running.about.com/od/marathontrainingfaqs/f/What-Is-The-Distance-Of-A-Marathon.htm)
a novel will consist of a large number of chapters.  To me, writing each one is somewhat similar to running each mile (or kilometre) of a marathon.  It may sound and look daunting when you think about it as a whole, but tackling it one unit at a time will get you to your ultimate finish line.

Runners train for marathons.

How can a writer train?

* choose your genre
* start with an idea for a story
* build on that idea
* develop your main character(s) and secondary characters
* Start writing the rough draft
* Don’t worry about editing until you reached the end of the story you wish to tell

But whatever you do, keep going!  Push through when it gets hard.  Seek support from fellow writers.  Read blogs and articles to motivate you on days when you want to quit.

Like any big goal, getting started is the hard part.  Break it up into small, attainable goals and you’ll have that novel written before you know it!

December 6, 2011

Nanowrimo aftermath

 
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Well it’s been nearly a week since Nanowrimo (the national novel writing month) ended and participation in the event has given many writers a rough draft of a new book or at least several thousand words toward such a project.

Did I win by writing 50,000 words?  Nope!  But I still won by participating.

Nanowrimo forced me to get back to working on my sequel suspense novel and because of the discipline of having to write something every day in November, I now have some 17,000 more words added to my book and a much clearer understanding of not only my ending, but also the areas I will now revise and rewrite to make the book its best.

Did I participate in Nano this year in hopes of finally winning with 50,000?  A part of me would have liked to have achieved such a lofty goal.

Am I disappointed that I didn’t cross the perverbial finish line so to speak?  Absolutely not!

All writers know that writing is a solitary job.  Having the discipline to stick with a long project like a book manuscript requires isolation from others (both online and off) and a real commitment to sitting down and fleshing out the story.  With all of life’s distractions, getting ample time to finish such a project can be extremely difficult.  Nanowrimo provides just the push that I need, especially at a time of year when life is busier with the impending holiday celebrations.

Thanks Nanowrimo for another great year!  You kick-started my first novel which definitely helped me on the road to having it published.  Hopefully, my sequel won’t be far behind.

November 2, 2011

Nanowrimo…And we’re off

 
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November is Nanowrimo month – a time where published and aspiring novelists vow to write approximately 1600 words/day for the entire month of November.

What’s the payoff?

Fifty-thousand words in a month’s time. This can be a great start to a new novel or the chance to complete a book that’s already been started.

I fell a little short of my goals yesterday with 1,163 words on my suspense novel, Amorous Obsession, but I did a lot of planning/plotting so I’m still happy with my progress.

And…I also wrote a few more pages on my pirate musical (sadly they don’t count in my Nano total LOL)

To participate in all the action:
http://www.nanowrimo.org

Happy writing!

November 26, 2008

How to write a novel – web resources

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Not everyone can afford to enroll in creative writing classes, but that doesn’t mean a new writer is doomed to remain looking like an amateur.  There are a lot of “free” resources online with advice, methods, and guidelines to writing that first novel and I’d like to share some of them with my readers.  Enjoy!

http://www.advancedfictionwriting.com/art/snowflake.php
The Snowflake Method

http://www.wikihow.com/Write-a-Novel
A WikiHow article

http://fictionwriting.about.com/od/novelwriting/Writing_a_Novel.htm
Lots of links etc. from About.com

http://www.spacejock.com.au/WriteANovel.html
author Simon Haynes shares info. on many aspects of novel writing

http://justinelarbalestier.com/blog/2006/09/06/how-to-write-a-novel/
Advice from published author Justine Larbalestier

http://www.secretgeek.net/NonWriter.asp
A humorous article on how not to write a novel

http://www.deepgenre.com/wordpress/admin/craft/how-to-write-a-novel-part-1
Check out this wordpress blog on novel writing

Also check out http://www.amazon.com and type “how to write a novel” into the search box for thousands of books related to this subject.

Okay, I’ve done a bit of the groundwork for you.  But don’t spend all your time reading the “how tos” and the “how not tos”.  Get out that pad and paper or your laptop and get writing. 

That’s the only real way anyone ever wrote a novel.  You have to write!

Good luck with your book

October 22, 2008

Nanowrimo help

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Does the idea of writing a complete book (or at least 50,000 words) in one short seem unbelievable difficult?

I’m sure that’s the reason many writers do not participate in Nanowrimo during the month of November.  Some will argue that they don’t work that way – scratching out more than 1500 words/day.  They worry about the quality of the writing.  Remember folks, this is just a first draft.  Chris Baty, Nano organizer and originator, isn’t claiming that by writing 50,000 words in a month, you’ll have the final, polished manuscript needed to attract a publisher.

Other writers just don’t believe they have the time to discipline themselves to write every day for a month on the same manuscript.  After all, they probably have full-time jobs or freelance projects that must take priority over this indulgence.

Well for those of you deciding to take the plunge, here are some resources that might help you prepare.  Remember, you still have 10 days.

Obviously, having an idea for a book is a must.  Hopefully you have a basic plot scratched out and your main characters picked and named. 

This year, I decided to try a genre I’ve never worked in before:  Chicklit.  I think I have a story that could be appealing to YA readers or adults and Nanowrimo will give me the kick in the pants I need to see where I can take this one.

So now that you’ve picked your genre, plot and characters, let’s see what else can help you realize the goal of creating this new manuscript in the month of November…

Check out these books listed at amazon (most likely you can go to your local library to get them if they can’t be delivered in enough time to read them before Nano begins)
http://www.amazon.com/NaNoWriMo-Help/lm/R2Q9ZSHG5SH5KK

Here’s a great blog with some useful info:  Nandini’s Niche
http://wendelin.blogspot.com/2004/10/nanowrimo-help.html

This novel help document is from the Zokutou conference in the UK.  It’s an interesting chart, giving you lots of avenues to explore.
http://www.zokutou.co.uk/tools/novel_rescue_matrix.doc

Here’s a site that has some brainstorming ideas with Nanorwrimo writers in mind.
http://www.wrimos.net/

Here are the basics for a successful Nanowrimo.
http://webstuff4writers.com/five-must-have-resources-for-nanowrimo/

Check out this article on character.
http://writeanything.wordpress.com/2008/10/20/nanowrimo-workshop-character/
and this one on POV
http://writeanything.wordpress.com/2008/10/21/nanowrimo-workshop-point-of-view/

Use the next 10 days to get organized and most of all to get psyched into achieving your Nanowrimo goal for this year.

Good luck!

October 18, 2008

It’s NANO time again

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I guess I really must be a writer.  I can’t imagine a day without writing something.  It’s right up there with breathing, sleeping, and of course, coffee.

I just got an email from the Nanowrimo organizers, reminding me that Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Event) will begin November 1st.  For those of you who remember, I did my first Nano event last year and managed about 36,000 words (if I remember correctly).

Now considering that I’ve tried to immerse myself in the Muse free writing conference this week, and still have a full-time job, extra curricular groups and a life (sort of, LOL), I wondered whether or not I should just let Nanowrimo pass this year.

Nope – can’t do it!

I’ve been waffling on a book idea for a couple of years now, but never seem to sit down and do more than scribble a couple quick points into a notebook now and then.  But, if I were to do Nanowrimo, I could actually work on this new book and see where it goes.

Yep – that’s all the persuading it took.  I’m registered and anxiously awaiting the start of this year’s Nano experience.

If you’ve got a book in you that you’ve always wanted to write, and I think almost everybody does, then why not sign up and try the Nanowrimo challenge for the month of November.  Even if you only write a few thousand words, it’ll be more than you’d likely do if you didn’t participate in the Nano event at all.

So here’s my challenge to all of you who want to write a novel.  Get thee to the Nanowrimo site, create a username and password, and register yourself for a crazy ride as you try to complete 50,000 words by Nov. 30th.

http://www.nanowrimo.org/

Hope to see you there!

May 11, 2008

Internet resources for novel writers

Writing a novel is an exciting venture but it can also be a daunting task due to the sheer size of the project.  From plotting to character development and interaction to genre, working on a novel requires a lot of time, patience, creativity and research.

Having had my suspense novel manuscript critiqued by a published, professional author, I also found out a lot about making the manuscript “saleable”, something I hadn’t even thought about as I slogged through my first revisions. 

For all you novel writers out there, I’d like to share just some of the many fine webpages available to help you get your manuscript finished and ready for submission.

Although I haven’t tried this method yet, it looks like an interesting exercise.  I’d love to hear from anyone who has used it:  THE SNOWFLAKE METHOD
http://www.advancedfictionwriting.com/art/snowflake.php

PLOTTING YOUR NOVEL by Lee Masterson
http://www.fictionfactor.com/articles/plot.html

If you’re writing a novel in the suspense genre, I highly recommend studying one of the masters in the field, Mary Higgins Clark
http://www.simonsays.com/content/destination.cfm?tab=1&pid=352932

For those who need a boot just to get started on the novel they’ve always wanted to write, try the Nanowrimo challenge
http://www.nanowrimo.org/

FREE AND AFFORDABLE ONLINE WRITING COURSES
http://www.docnmail.com/learnmore/writing/novels.htm

MYSTERY MENTOR Marilyn Henderson
Marilyn did the professional critique of my novel and it was well worth every cent I spent. 
http://www.mysterymentor.com/

HOW TO WRITE A NOVEL IN 100 DAYS OR LESS (for those who need inspiration getting started)
http://www.peacecorpswriters.org/pages/depts/resources/resour_writers/100daysbook/bk100da.html

***FREE***PLAINTEXT HANDOUTS FROM A COLLEGE PROFESSOR
http://www.steampunk.com/sfch/writing/ckilian/

GET WRITING – WRITING A NOVEL
http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/getwriting/A2982008

ABOUT.COM has tons of “writing” information.  Plug in “writing” or “novel writing” into the search box and you’ll get more than enough pages of information
http://www.about.com/
And here are some wordpress.com blogs on novel writing:

http://glasstoobigbook.wordpress.com/2005/07/14/novel-writing-advice/

http://kayedacus.com/2008/04/11/upcoming-blog-series-writing-the-romance-novel/

Okay, I’ve done a little of the legwork for you so that you can spend less time searching for information on the internet and more time writing that novel.

 

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