I've had so much Fun trying to gather a mix of people to give us their advice to hopefully benefit some-one out there.
Today Post is aimed at all of you out there who ever dreamed of writing a book :)
My dear friend Jacky who blogs at As the Voices Speak is our guest guru for today... I've known Jacky since I was 4 years old... hows that for a long time :) she is a very talented and funny writer and is sharing today with us how she plans and plots her stories :)
Thats Jacky :)
Hope you Enjoy
Novel writing is something I’m slowly teaching myself and learning from my mistakes, challenges and feedback from friends. I haven’t taken any writing lessons or anything, this is just a passion, a hobby. I have written three novels, none published…yet. My “first” novel I attempted to write years ago is not finished as I wrote out of boredom during quiet days in my first job.
Almost four years ago a friend challenged me to write a 50 000 word novel in a month for a ‘competition’ called NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). My unfinished novel was sitting nicely on 48 000 odd words after over four years of writing and I thought, ‘no ways, that’s impossible’ but I took up the challenge and I reached my 50 000 words in under a month…and so my novel “Hidden Evidence” became my first complete novel.
Because this NaNoWriMo takes place over November, one is only allowed to write/type in that month but you can plot in advance. My first novel in 2009 was a quick plot novel as I agreed to do it a month or two before November. 2010 was a better plotted novel, and last year was a novel with no plot as I was studying and wrote my exam on the last day in October…which is why the third is a disaster.
So because of the way I write (starting my novels in November), I’ve had to learn to plot in a certain way, knowing that it will change a few times before I begin writing.
So in plotting, these are some of the things I’ve learnt over the few years is:
- Know you main character. I never understood this until I found myself ‘thinking’ the way my character would….it can be scary sometimes when you’re typing and can ‘hear and see’ you’re your character play out in your mind. If you’re artistic, a simple sketch of how you would picture your character can help; also know his attitude and personality. One thing an author told me once is that you should know what is in your characters pockets/bag.
- If you are writing about a fictional world/country, again, having a basic drawing of what it looks like can help in creating that world.
- Keep a note book on you, if possible, at all times. I go for small ones that I can keep in my back pocket. People say things or act ways and it’s always good to write it down before you forget. Also at times you’ll get an idea for your novel.
- One I’ve learnt recently is use an old calendar to keep track of days, weeks, months and years in your characters life, specially if your novel is going to be a series. I’m finding myself having to go back to past novels to work out what month of the year I’m plotting in, and it can be frustrating when you’ve plotted for a specific season and yet the time of the year is wrong.
- · Work on having a good beginning and a good end and the in-between bit can fall into place naturally. Also, try having a twist. If you’re getting bored plotting, then scrap that idea and work something else.
When it comes to November and you decide to get writing:
- · Don’t stress if you decide to go slightly off your ‘plotted ideas’. Sometimes spontaneous ideas while writing can be good.
- · Don’t be scared to write ahead if you hit a “road block” in your novel. Continue writing from a point later in the novel and come back….at some point you’ll think of something to bridge the gap.
- I’ve found it helpful having a friend read a page or two after I have written them, specially if it’s off the plotted track or if it’s a part you didn’t plot. Sometimes their thoughts help or their anticipation of what they think is going to happen can make you rethink you storyline and write it differently. Also be open to criticism.
So that’s a few things I’ve learnt over the years. I’ve recently bought another book to try and help me…don’t be scared to use the resources out there to help you.
Thanks Jacky for Sharing your knowledge with us ! hope it gives some aspiring writers out there some confidence to start :) NaNoWriMo is just around the corner
Jax feel free to grab a guest Guru button from the side bar:)
come back next week when we have another exciting guest to share:)