Yes, we all begin in a rush of adrenaline and dreams, or maybe face down in a puddle of whiskey, but either way, there is a little bit of housekeeping that could save you a great deal of heartache and even expense — and I don’t just mean “back up your files”.
I write in Screenwriter on a Mac, but the principles are the same. On your Mac make several folders:
TITLE. Everything for your novel goes in this. If you don’t have a title, just put ‘First Novel’. I spend five years (with interruptions) writing a novel with no…
This is the number one thing you need to stop worrying about if you want to write a novel. The opening scene you are angsting over doesn’t mean squat. Now when you have finished your first draft, it starts to become important. When you have finished your fifth draft, it becomes very important.
But to start, just write what excites you, what you care about and keep going.
Remember, your first draft is you telling yourself the story. Your second and subsequent drafts are you telling readers the story. Big difference.
Start with something bad.
For fun, here are the…
Quora has some truly smart people on it. Depths of knowledge on ancient Rome, science, weird math, WW2, lots of esoteric stuff you to enjoy while queuing up to pay for your groceries or while getting your car washed.
I mostly answered posts on novel writing. I am beginning to be successful with that and saw questions and advice which horrified me, so I thought I would help out a little. I have about 1.1 million views, I’m not selling seminars or anything and I rarely mentioned my own books unless it was spot on for the question.
We know you started one…
It’s one thing to start a novel. All that takes is a bottle of Macallan and a little sheltering-in-place. It’s another thing to finish it. Having published two award winners, a third coming out in August and a fourth being polished, I will share a couple of tips to get you to the finish line.
Ego is not enough. Ambition is not enough, nor is avarice.
Having a degree in writing is not enough. Having an Excel file full of little notes (someone confessed to this recently, I was horrified) is not enough.
At midnight last night our leaders shut down California. I don’t blame Eric Garcetti or Gavin Newsom for wanting to be heroes. I can live with erring on the side of caution. (I wouldn’t vote either of them for dog-catcher, but I’m trying to leave that aside.) What I am upset about is, as usual, the hypocrisy.
Do you know, buried in the fine print, is that marijuana is apparently “essential”? Marijuana shops are open during this crisis. Not much else is, but you can get pot. How can this be? Do we have a crisis or don’t we? Pot…
The other thing you need to know.
Aside from coffee and a story burning in your gut like wasabi, there are many things you need to know to write a good novel. I’m not going to post about any of them today. Today is about some arithmetic.
Today’s number is 2. Because for a real writer, there are only 2 things:
And I mean everything else. Hundreds of everything elses. …
A few weeks ago I went out to buy hand sanitizer and there wasn’t any.
But I’m a genius, so I figure I’ll make our own, make a big batch and we can sell it. Hysteria = Opportunity, right?
I have a bunch of empty jars left over from my “Let’s make California Pesto out of lawn clippings” project. The Vegans will eat it up. That one was going really well. I sourced special unobtanium micro-mesh from Yugoslavia that would filter out any dog poo, and I was golden.
“What about dog pee?”
That’s the last time I share an…
“Is there anyone in there?” Joey asked no one as he lit a cigarette and tried to ignore the burning car.
So many writers angst over where to start their story. I mean to the point of not being able to write. But while a strong opening is really important, it’s not important yet.
How can you decide this when you don’t even have your story written? You don’t have all your plot, all your characters, all the conflict.
This is what your first draft is for, to lay down your raw material. So start anywhere, and as you go…
There are enough things to worry about when you are writing or revising a novel. Here is an easy method to keep track of your plot, spot gaps or identify where exposition is needed and manage the flow for maximum drama.
You can do it in a notebook, a word doc, or, if your story is complex, I suggest recipe cards. The only rule is you have to think of your story in scenes or events rather than chapters.
Write a line or two summarizing each scene, with critical detail only:
K-Town Confidential (legal thriller, 2018) won Maxy + Pencraft awards and Kat & Maus (drama, 2018) won a Pencraft Award. Dash & Laila was published by Black R