- For one hour, list everything that could happen in your novel. Each event must create conflict.
- Write the main conflict of your story in three different ways.
- Is your main conflict worth the read? The months it takes to write the book? Why?
I’ve just learned something I need to do, or stop doing, when I’m trying to flesh out my character and find her voice. I need to stop reading British mysteries. It’s doesn’t work well when trying to write a contemporary 17-year-old American girl. The MC in the novel I just finished is alternately a 15-year old girl in Cornwall in 1931, and then an 85-year old woman in London in 2003. The storyline jumps forward and backward in time a lot. Anyway, while I’ve been on vacation, I’ve been writing and reading, and what I’ve been reading is bleeding into my character’s voice, as well as my own. I used the word “ghastly” to describe the huge ugly cacti that we saw all around this island, as we were on a bus taking us to a beach excursion. I wasn’t trying to sound British, it just came out! My husband looked at me funny, “Ghastly? Since when do you use that word?” I don’t. Normally. And the MC in my novel would never use it. I realized I’ve been having a harder than normal time writing in a close 3rd person that sounds anything like an American teenage girl. Good thing I also brought a YA book to read. And maybe I need to hang around the cruise ship’s hot tub more. Although, with all those half-naked teenagers packed in there, it’s definitely hormone soup.
Does anyone else have a hard time developing an authentic voice when you are immersed in reading a different genre?
Every spring I think, This year I’m growing a garden. And I try. Last year? TONS of cherry tomatoes that I picked off the vine for breakfast, a few green beans and peppers and a big mess of potatoes.
Growing a garden is like writing a book–a lot of hard work. But it’s worth it. Writing just the right word is kinda like eating those warm tomatoes. You can’t believe YOU did that. Well, with help of course.
Right now I am in a hard place in my YA murder mystery. It’s like putting together a puzzle with weird edges. But when I read some of the words I think, Maybe I can do this.
The truth is, most people who want to write books never finish. It IS hard. If we rejoice in the small things, the tasty bits, there will be more joy in the work.
And One More Thing
I just made up a word. Slag bottom.
Or so I thought.
What word did you think YOU made up?
Following the excerpts above, write either place or description that breathes life into your story.
Feel free to share.
For the first time in a year, I’m not in a writing class. And it’s weird. My writing group is sort of on hiatus since last semester ended. So there isn’t anyone I feel accountable to. I don’t report a wordcount to anyone, or turn in a revised chapter. I’m forced to examine if I’m going to write every day, on my own, without the points tied to grade, like a carrot dangling in front of me. Do I do what I say I love to do?
I’m happy to say yes, I am writing, and enjoying it. I’m having fun watching my characters unfold and surprise me. It’s not as often as I should be writing. It’s several times a week, but not daily. I’ve decided to set some personal goals in this season of goal setting — one short-term daily goal, one mid-range goal, and one long-term goal.
1. Writing is like exercise – it’s better to do even a little bit every day, than to do nothing and atrophy, or try to do a huge marathon session in one day and have a stiff brain and wear yourself out. Just 100 words keeps your creativity muscles toned and ready whenever an idea presents itself. I always feel better about the day ahead of me if I’ve written in the early morning. I’m not looking at writing as a chore anymore, but something I do because there are moments of fun for me. Those moments are coming more often than they used to, so I keep plugging away. My only problem is do I write or do I exercise? Writing is winning hands down – literally. My hands are down on the keyboard instead of on a yoga mat.
2. My mid-range goal is getting my writing group back together. We miss each other, and I enjoy their stories, and their insights on my story. A once-a-month meeting should not be that hard. Hope they are reading this. I’ll be sending an email today, girls 🙂
3. Set a long-term goal, like attending a conference, and sign up where possible to meet with an editor or agent. I’ve signed up early and pushed myself out of my comfort zone to do more than sit and enjoy the speakers. This way I can make progress towards my goal of getting published. When you sign up for a workshop or writing conference, plan to have something critiqued, then let your daily writing work towards writing your piece a little every day.
What strategies are you using to set your writing goals this year? See you at the conferences!
Last night, Ann Dee Ellis, Kyra Leigh and Kristyn Crow traveled to my class to speak about writing. Each girl has a book coming out this year and they all read from their work. AMAZING!
Don’t forget Friday’s party!
Go here to register: http://www.wifyr.com/events/