As I’m sure you’ve noticed, flip-flopping between working on my novel and posting articles hasn’t worked out. I’m hooked on writing my novel.
I spent a few more weeks working on the synopsis, finding bugs and resolving story problems. This has resolved a few minor issues and a major one involving the resolution of the story. Because of past attempts at writing a novel that fell short on length, a strong detailed synopsis has become a very important part of my novel writing process.
Enough about my novel for now. What about novels by other people? What can we get out of them to improve our own writing?
Every Novel is a Writing Mentor
When I read a novel, I ask myself two main writing questions.
First, what is there about this story that I would like to use in my own novels? Some examples. Fyodor Dostoevsky spends time showing the personality of important characters when they first appear. James Patterson ends many chapters on a cliffhanger. Haruki Murakami shows that normal everyday people always have a few odd traits when you get to know them. These are some of many ideas I’m trying to include in my writing.
Second, what is there about this novel that I don’t want to see in my own? I’ll leave the author names out of the examples this time to protect the guilty. One author with many books published sometimes wanders from one person’s viewpoint to another without a clear transition, leaving the reader to figure out what happened. Another author with millions of books in print had a character dead and buried at the start of a novel, but alive at the end; they forgot the character was dead. Another writer wrote about 100 pages of realistic fiction (a story that could really happen) and suddenly introduced a monster that could not exist. They won’t fool me twice. All of these problems could have been solved with revision. I won’t fail to revise my own novels ruthlessly.
So where am I with the novel? I began writing Homicidal Tendencies at the stroke of midnight March 1. The first week, I produced 18 pages. The second week, 43 pages. The third, 37. To put it another way; week one, 3500 words, week two, 7800 words, and week three 6900 words. I seem to have leveled out at 1000 words a day. In the past, I’ve often averaged 3000 words a day of fiction, but I’m happy as long as I keep writing every day. Those faster writing times came up short on material. Perhaps thinking more about the details slows me down. That’s probably good. When the first draft is done, it will be revision time. And I have loads of revision planned. I may share those details in a later article.
Where is the article writing in all this? Can it have a place? I think it can. During these two weeks, I had two days that I didn’t work on my novel at all. Those could be article writing days. I’ve pencilled in Mondays for article writing and blog posting. I don’t want to ignore my blog completely, even though I’m having a great time working on the novel.
Article by Ivan Izo.