It’s been four months since I posted an article here and WordPress is still showing regular visitors. It’s about time I started posting again.
I wrote an article a day for two months. Sometimes I wrote more than one article, but I wrote whatever I wanted. Writing articles dominated but I also wrote book reviews, short stories and nonfiction on a few other topics.
The short story writing reminded me that I still haven’t written a full length book. A book is the penultimate goal for any writer. I think the magnum opus must be reserved as the ultimate writing goal.
My past attempts at writing a book have fallen short. I made my first attempt before I read anything on writing. No synopsis and the result was a 30,000 word novella. For my second book attempt, many years later, I wrote a 1400 word synopsis and the result was heading for 50,000 words, so I stopped. Publishers want 100,000 words for a first novel, give or take 10,000 words. Where did I go wrong?
When experienced writers talk about how to write a book, they recommend using a synopsis that’s one tenth the length of the final book. I really thought I could get away without doing it right. I was wrong. I’m writing a full synopsis this time. I’ve managed to keep it down to 5000 words so far by staying light on some of the details until the plot is on track. It’s a lot easier to revise 5000 words than 100,000 and there has been a lot of revision to get the story straight. The best books are like the best movies; a combination of story and action.
There’s a good reason outlines are recommended too. At one percent of the final book, a tenth of the synopsis, they are a way to review the synopsis quickly. Experienced authors know what they’re talking about when they share their writing tips.
The outline and synopsis for my novel are about finished. There are a few changes still to go and then I can revise the synopsis to it’s full version. The only danger is that the first draft may be too long, but it’s easy to cut while almost impossible to add on. So, no worries.
The plan four months ago was to build up a pile of writing articles and post every day. Based on reader feedback, I may post two or three times a week. That isn’t going to happen immediately. For the last couple of months, I’ve been planning my novel using the synopsis. I’ve got most of the story in my head, but I still need to write it.
While I sometimes set unrealistic goals and then shoot myself down for failing to reach them, alternating between nonfiction articles on writing and working on my novel appears to be reasonable. I’ve been doing that anyway with two months on fire for article writing and two months on fire for writing a novel. There’s no reason not to keep both fires going on a daily basis.
The blogging fire is a clerical activity. Select a completed article, find a creative commons licensed image for the top, copy and paste the article to the blog, check the formatting and update the site map. The only writing is in response to comments.
Most of the new articles will be on either article writing or writing a novel. I will continue to strive toward articles about writing more and writing faster. Every type of writer can relate to those goals. As you keep writing, the quality of your writing improves and your productivity goes up. I try out lots of different writing ideas myself. While I don’t stick to all of them, the experiments result in more finished work and that’s what it’s all about.
The plan now is to post an article a week, just like before, and two or three when I find I’m writing a lot of articles. You won’t be waiting long for the first post. I’ve got 35 writing articles to pick from.
Article text copyright 2012 David Arthur Smith. All Rights Reserved.
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