Novel Writing Winter (NWW) 2013: survival basics
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.