Sunday, June 12, 2005

WriterGirl: You Know Those "How To Write" Articles That All Say "Write"?

They're right.

How to write a novel in three weeks, or what I learned writing a novel in three weeks:

Step Zero: Be improvished student on summer break with only three weeks between finishing finals and start of summer session.

It may help you focus. Plus, this becomes your day job.

Step One: Come up with basic plot
Girl meets boy, girl marries boy for political reasons, stuff happens of the shit-hits-fan variety, they maybe fall in love.

Step Two: Figure out the character flaw of the main characters and their basic emotional arcs

Girl: insecure about her lower-class origin - must prove self worthy of current role.
Boy: inadequacy issues with comparisons to dead brother - must prove just as good as dead brother would have been.
Bad Guy: Territorialism/resentment of lower-class giving themselves airs - fight to preserve status quo.

Step Three: Come up with general linguistic air and color scheme of people, technology of society

anglo-saxon v. hindu v. african v. latin v. ?
middle Ages, today, or future?
magic, science, or neither?

Step Four: Throw Caution to the Wind and Write

  • Don’t edit, write new material
  • Stick to daily page count
  • Don't get bogged down with linguistic crap - stick in a placeholder ("[bard]","[Z's husband]") and then move on.
  • Take a day off if need be to walk around living room asking yourself, “and then what happens”.
  • Re-read favorite portions of beloved book by beloved author for guidance and inspiration. Actual portions, book, and author may vary by day.
  • Show, don’t tell.
  • Describe little things, they make the moment real.
  • Remember: Real People Make Mistakes. This includes your characters.
  • Don’t be afraid to have characters answer different questions than the ones they were asked, or to interrupt one another.
  • Draw a vague map.
  • Outline bits if the mood strikes you - but outlining doesn't count in the daily page count
  • Write.
  • Write.
  • Write.

Your Mileage May Vary, God Knows, Mine Will.

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