Sunday, 16 March 2014

Writing a novel in 30 days

Since I posted my information about how I'd failed fairly miserably at Nanowrimo over the last few years, I decided to do some research in planning for the novel idea I have. I'm just itching to write it but can't seem to be able to get what's in my head down on paper!

Whilst researching the best ways to plan a book over the years, I've come across a wide variety of methods including:

  • Nanowrimo - just keep writing and hope a good novel foundation comes out of it. I just end up procrastinating and writing about something which has no link to what I was initially going to write about. So I know from this that more structure is needed!
  • Snowflake method - start with an idea and expand off. I tried this method, but it gets confusing when I try to expand off subplots and sometimes my writing starts moving in a direction which seems boring and I can't reel it back in.
  • Basic planning method - you know, the one they teach in schools, with character, setting, plot etc. and you have to fill out each item separately. With this method I end up with a lot of unlinked papers and characters which just don't seem to gel with the setting of the novel.
But I've stumbled across a planning method, which so far is working very well! It's structured, and has goals of what to achieve each day and has worksheets to fill out too, which appeals to my creative side! 

I headed over to The Guardian website (one of the main broadsheet newspaper's here in the UK) and discovered their post on how to write a book in 30 days. This series of articles give helpful and insightful information on how to get started, expand off ideas and has pages to guide budding writers through each day with worksheets to accompany the whole process.

Well, I rushed to my printer and got the (free!) worksheets printed and have been making progress by following the day by day plans in place on the site.

So far, I've explored details of my characters, some of whom still don't have names. I tend to visualise people before names come to mind, so now I can record the information I have, then when the perfect name comes to me I'll have it! Instead of what I've done in the past where I've picked an awful character name just so I can call them something, then the character seems to expand and change to fit the name, which I haven't been happy with. Now my nameless characters will be able to expand and grow with the story until I know them well enough to pick a name to fit their character instead. I find it so difficult having to find both a first and surname for characters which fit their emerging personalities!

So, I'll keep you updated on my progress over the next few weeks, but it looks like my goals may have changed slightly and I'll be planning my novel first draft for Lent instead! See, procrastination at its best!

Please let me know if you've used a successful planning method for your writing or if you decide to use the worksheets, how you're getting on too! 

Love Jo xxx

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