Michille: Write Your Novel In A Year, Continued

medium_WRITE_YOUR_NOVEL_Week_27_Theme_As_the_Engine_Of_PlotRecently, I posted a synopsis of weeks 1-14 of the Write Your Novel In A Year series by Anthony Ehlers from Writers Write and two weeks ago I posted about Tough Questions You May Be Facing (Week 26). Weeks 15 – 27 are now up (you can go backwards from here). Week 15 starts the draft process with Draft Away and we are currently at Week 27 with Theme As the Engine Of Plot. Here are some of my favorite take-aways.

Week 17: Expect the Unexpected. I love when my scenes turn on their own, like my characters are pressuring me to go in a different direction than I thought the scene should go.

Week 19 is about escalating tension. I need to study that week because I struggle with this. I think my writing is rather flat that way.

Week 21 is All About Character. I am all about character. That is the only kind of book I like to read and tend to throw the ones in which the characters make the same stupid decisions over and over again against the wall. Part of this post talked about what your characters do – the good, the stupid, the irrational. I love that.

Week 23: Reality Bites. Why yes it does. The first statement is, “Bad writing happens – but it’s better than no writing.” So true. And the ‘Pin it, quote it, believe it is from Don Roff’ – “A day of bad writing is always better than a day of no writing.”

Week 25 had a quick hack that suggested, “Take a break from your novel. Go for a short holiday. Get a manicure. Visit friends and families.” My hack should be “take a break from your break. End your writing holiday. Use those manicure nails to type on the stinkin’ keyboard.” Of course, it was in the post about a mid-year analysis, so, that would be a good idea if you are actually at that point.

And this quote from Week 27 sums up some of my most frustrating writing days: “Sometimes we get so hung up on creating the perfect scene, with just the right setting, or finding the right dialogue, we forget about the primal core of our novels.” So true, right?

5 thoughts on “Michille: Write Your Novel In A Year, Continued

  1. ‘The primal core of our novels’. I love that! Yes, it’s definitely important to assess for that, especially when the writing is hard, as sometimes violating that core is the problem.

    Regarding turns into the unexpected and raising tension, I highly recommend Donald Maas’s writing books for helpful insights and practical exercises/brainstorming prompts. Doing some of the exercises in Writing the 21st Century Novel took my characters in directions I never anticipated and opened up whole new territory to explore. One of my favorites and the most insightful for my One Kiss from Ruin story was: ‘What is your character’s deepest secret? Who would she never tell? Have her tell that person.’ It changed the whole dynamic of the protag’s relationship with her father, and has repercussions that will continue into the other books in the series. It was definitely a turn of events I didn’t see coming!

    • I have a couple Donald Maas books on my shelf that I haven’t gotten to. I should pull one of those out – I don’t think I have the 21st century one. I’ve also attended a session or two that he has had at RWA (it’s been a while since he has attended).

      Character’s deepest secret, hmmm. I’ll have to think on that one.

  2. I was actually in a good place in May. I’d gotten 15000 good words written, and another 8000 of decent words in place. Seemed like I was on schedule for something. Now, all of a sudden, half the year and AN ADDITIONAL TWO MORE WEEKS is GONE. (Sorry for yelling. I’m just so frustrated with myself and my work habits.) We are on the downhill side of the year, and I feel just like you do, Michille. I’m ready to beat myself up . . . even though kicking my own ass NEVER works. It makes me sullen and grumpy and turns my work into ugliness.

    I have got to figure out what works to get back on track. I was doing really well and having a lot of fun with short stories and putting a feeling on the paper. Now my current WIP just feels too long and too much and too slippery. And I don’t know how to cut it down to something fun and short again.

    • Congrats on the word count. I am very envious of that and don’t kick your own ass. Go with the glass half full approach and look at where you were when you got 15,000 on the page. Maybe buzz through Anthony’s blog posts to see if you can find some assistance/motivation/direction there. Happy writing.

      • BTW, I want to make it clear that the word-count was year-to-date as of May. Still darn good work, although we’d all like to clear a great 15000 words a month, wouldn’t we? It’s the two months of nothing that makes me unhappy. Maybe I need more serotonin . . . .

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