In honor of the last weekend of National Novel Writing Month, this week’s post offers an exclusive first look at the requested Pep Talk I will be submitting on NANOWRIMO’s last day, tomorrow, November 30, 2014.
You have successfully completed NANOWRIMO. By success, I mean you finished a month of writing. Didn’t hit the 50,000 words? Don’t beat yourself up. The fact you stuck with it, created a story line by transforming ideas from inside your head to words on a page defines success. Good Job!
My genre, heroic fantasy, tends to be considerably longer than 50,000 words, so even if I had reached the goal (which I did not), I would still be in the throes of first draft (which I am). The challenge, from the beginning, was to write everyday, to turn the daily keyboard time into a habit, like showering; doing that guarantees you will finish the first draft of your novel.
Writing the first draft of a novel is like building a house: NANOWRIMO inspired you to establish the foundation of your dwelling (characters and plot), erect walls and doors (character obstacles), add windows and fixtures (scenes), and cover with a roof (theme). After finishing the first draft, it is time to decorate your new home. Welcome as your first guest, the internal editor–often referred to as the critic–you banished to the outer cold the last 30 days. He brings with him a suitcase of revision. Embrace him.
The internal editor will help choose the color of the walls and carpets, and while you are at it, he will remind you to put grandma’s antique vase on the mantel–it will add to the color of your world, he explains. Further, the editor will point out the crack in grandma’s vase (and the story behind it), will help you smell grandma’s perfume still clinging to the glass after all these years, and how the iodine caused a scream when grandma applied the liquid fire on a scraped knee.
The editor will reacquaint you with the people living in your world, their quirks, the way they fashion a phrase, their involvement with others populating your novel. The editor will encourage you to add the little “beats” to flesh out your characters as real people, the trials–both emotional and physical–they endure to reach The End. The editor will likewise caution to add the “beats” sparingly lest the writing become tedious.
Together, you and your internal editor will breathe life into your story, adding flesh and blood to your characters, texture to your world, turning dreams into reality. Now go write that dream, complete your house, and may creation strike like lightning.
This week’s notes and links
Market for Flash Fiction here. Familiarize yourself with the requirements–Flash Fiction is not another name for vignette.
Dec 7-8: A place to pitch your finished novel to multiple agents and editors. Read more about it here. Be warned–pitching an entire novel in 35 words can be taxing.
Here is the pitch I will be offering for The Returning: A reluctant immortal craves release from life into final death; instead, he is cast into Prince Syjer, thrust into battle against a brother–likewise cursed–poised to destroy him, a people, and an entire culture.
Fade into Seque: Looking for 3 more to read and critique the opening of my fantasy novel, The Returning. If you wish, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and put “Request” in the subject line. The Prologue and first two chapters will be sent in a Word attachment. Thank you in advance.
For the ones involved–having either sent the critique or are now reading–my deepest gratitude; your comments are welcome and appreciated.
Until next time, keep writing every day!