We all have different approaches to writing. Some authors prepare detailed plot outlines prior to embarking on their novel. Others, like me, start with the characters, while only having a vague concept of the plot’s beginning, middle, and end.
The second approach is a more perilous path to follow as it risks the author walking into dead ends, but it can also prove a most exhilarating journey to place characters in situations of danger and conflict, and then allow them to take the lead and surprise you with their solutions.
Below, are a few pointers to help those participating in Novel Writing Winter to meet their goals.
- Turn off the spell and grammar checker
- Write the first page and keep going — don’t keep tweaking your opening paragraphs
- Don’t obsess over the word count — just get the bare bones of the story down
- Remind yourself daily it’s only the first draft — perfection not required
- Avoid showing your work in progress to anyone, especially friends or family (trust your own judgement)
- Only stop for research if you come up against a total blank wall
- Remember to eat, sleep, exercise, wash, and not to turn into a total recluse
- Don’t compare yourself to other writers
- Write the story you most want to tell and don’t try to second-guess the market
- View the first draft in as relaxation, and the second draft as future work
I’d love to hear from other people about their approach to writing a novel, and any tips they have for thriving and surviving the process.