Have you ever wondered how many words it takes to make a novel?
I just picked three of my favorite books and did a simple count equation, added them all together and divided the sum by three. The average I came up with was 83421. This means to me that my stories are falling short of novel status. I need to learn more about my characters below their surfaces. It is time to start digging deeper.
I need to find out what their secrets are, what they fear and what they dream about. All these things make them tick and keeps them going. A bunch of dominoes waiting to fall. If the right one falls, everything can fall apart for the hero or the heroine. How much should they lose before they take action?
Life is full of conflicts, even in historical stories. Back then it was constant war. Most people never lived beyond forty. With the biggest cause of death being killed in battle. The second cause of death was a disease. Then came starvation.
Getting inside a character’s head can be a bit scary. You’re about to experience the same thing the character is going through. Loss of family and homes, being alone in a world filled with constant battles to stay alive. Where is the safe haven?
These things are some of what I have avoided in the past when writing. Now, I’m about to embark on this new character encounter. Learning to see through their eyes all the stumbling blocks they will need to face. This must be one of the reasons some writers will write the end of the story first. That way they can remember that the story does have a potential to have a happy ending.
What does word counts mean to your writing?
Do you ever feel like you fall short of your goals when you write THE END?
Everyone has an excuse not to write. I think we are afraid of ourselves, of what we might write. It’s not so much about the writing being bad, it’s more. When you write, it is like peeling an onion. Somewhere in our writings there are bits and pieces of us layered within. A small memory, making our writing be like that pensive Dumbledore had in his chamber.
Yes, we fear constructive criticism, but our worst critic is ourselves. If no one tells you what is wrong with a story, then you can’t fix it. You only need let go of your ego. Yes, that little chip on your shoulder that says you are greater than all. We all have a small piece of that chip that needs to be brushed off once in a while. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good to believe in yourself, but it’s not good to not be able to look at yourself.
I love watching myself grow as a writer. Yes, some of my early works suck. They’re not written in stone, though. I can go back at any given time and rewrite them. I won’t until I feel I have gained enough skill to take another shot at them. I’ve learned to forgive myself for anything poorly written.
A beginning artist draws stick figures as a child. The more they draw, the more their figures take shape until they have that piece of artwork that draws the attention of all at the local art show. Writing is the same. It is a skill that isn’t a given. The more you do it, the better you get.
Don’t be afraid to let the words flow. Stop your excuses. Find a time slot in your day and write, something, anything, and write as fast as you can. The more you do this, the easier it gets to write. You’d be amazed at what you can write in just ten minutes. With practice, even your typing skills improve, making your word count increase.
So Write – Write Often…
Thanksgiving is over, and the turkey is dwindling, NaNoWri Mo is over.
Were you successful with the NaNo Challenge?
I wasn’t. I never expected to finish on time anyways. But I was fine with that.
After writing almost 15k words on The Dubious Heir I must say I kind of like how it is shaping out.
NaNo said I averaged about 400 words a day. I can live with that kind of average. It is a doable average. At that rate, I should be done with the first draft by the end of February. This story marks once again, uncharted waters. This is a story where the censoring filters are to be shut off. An Adults only story that I am writing for sheer fun.
I like trying new things. You never know what you might learn from just trying. Maybe a new concept, new idea, a different form of voice.
Writers are always evolving. Each new story can take them into another direction.
So, it’s been awhile since I last did ROW80 check-in. I can report a total of 400 words written for today. Most of my Christmas shopping is done – does that count? Oh right, writing, not wrapping and shopping. It is just one more distraction out of the way.
New goal, for the week. 400 words a day. If I try writing 400 words a day for a week, who knows maybe I will get back into the daily writing habit I had over a year ago. I just need to stay away from World of Warcraft if I want to succeed.
How about you? Did you finish your NaNo?
How about your Holiday Shopping?
There were some pretty decent deals over the past week.
I wonder what kind of deals they will have for Cyber Monday?
Yesterday I became officially hooked into the Romance Writers World. That’s right, now I am a member of the NH Chapter too. This is a good thing. They are such a great bunch of gals and fun to be around and full of great information. They meet at the Baker Free Library in Bow, NH on the second Saturday of the month.
We had a speaker visit us at the meeting yesterday. This is one of the great benefits of attending a local writing group meeting. Next weekend I will be attending the meeting at the Monadnock Writers’ Group at the Peterborough Library on Saturday. They too will have a speaker.
Our guest was Kristan Higgins and wow what a speaker!
She is the author of 9 bestselling – 9 mind you – romances. She is also funny, witty, and full of great information. I see she has a blog too. http://kristanhiggins.com/blog/
So yesterday she left us with some tidbits on writing. These bits would probably work for almost any type of fictional writing and not just Romances.
The title of her presentation was Chapter One – I am born
Kristan explained to us how the first chapter is the most important chapter in any story. It is the chapter that gets the reader to keep coming back for more. It is your hook. So here is a condensed version of some of her tidbits.
- “Wicked Awesome First Line”
- Tone – Funny, Tragic, Terrifying, Elegant – “Don’t mislead your reader by writing a funny opener and having a tragic ending.”
- Theme – “What is your Book about?” – Show what your Character does not know.
- Personality – Demonstrate through action – “Beware of the cliché in character development – Create a Character the reader can relate to. “Romances are about the Character.”
- Character’s beliefs is somewhere stated
- Everyday life & World – where the story takes place and how things work in the character’s world. If the character has emotional scars, give glimpses and let the readers use their own imagination.
- Keep the first chapter Lean and only include the key players of the story.
- Seeds of the past – Flash backs, but don’t tell the reader EVErything.
- Immediate Goal
- Character Flaw – “why she doesn’t have what she wants just yet.”
- Character in Action – “Don’t have the character just sit there doing nothing. Create some disturbance or conflict, hooking into the emotions of the character so the reader can relate to them.
- The Hook – Last line of the chapter and its job.
- Call to the Adventure – Why life can’t continue to be the same after what has taken place in the first chapter.
- “The last chapter of the story should echo the first chapter.”
Then she gave us a list of NO – No’s
- Flash back – sometimes okay if used properly
- Secondary Plot lines
- The next four heroes & heroines in your series – keep them out of the picture as best as you can and don’t let them steal the show.
- Overt revelations
- Grocery list of descriptions
- Prologues can sometimes be allowed if they are very important to the story. But don’t give away the trump card.
At our meeting we have a Pro Liaison and she is great at giving us writing challenges to take us through the month. They are more like exercises to help us get out of the way of our muses. This month’s challenge is to write crap for 5 minutes every day to kill your inner critic.
Okay – I found an outlet for my crap writing. I have this manuscript I started in 2010 for NaNo and never finished it because I thought the story line was crap – Maybe something can happen with it and I can shape it after I finish writing the crap in the first draft. Yesterday I did 500 words in the five or so minutes I worked on it. Who know what could happen with this story.
This week was a blah week. I was sick and didn’t feel like doing much of anything but sleeping. I even missed a day of work from my everyday job. It isn’t like me to call in sick.
I’m feeling better, and yesterday I was able to pick up some motivation from the girls at the Bow meeting. So yeaH! I added another 1k words to Road Salt. The first draft isn’t anywhere near the word count I am seeking but at least the story line is over 2/3rds done. I can see the end of the story off in the distance.
After what I did with the revision on Witch Book I am sure I will be able to make my word count when I go back and add some fluff to the story. I tend to do the opposite of most writers. I write tight and have to force myself to add the stuff our imaginations are made of.
Have a great week and may the ROW be with you… If you have time come check out some other ROWers and cheer them on Linky List.00
How do you do that?
How do you go about staying motivated to keep on writing every day?
It’s hard, especially when you get stuck on a scene.
I had trouble with keeping my fingers on the keyboard but I still did work on the manuscript. I made the book cover and it came out awesome. All I have left to do on the cover design is the back cover and the blurb. So technically I did work on the work in progress, I just didn’t add any word count on Monday or Tuesday.
Tonight I added about 200 words. I will try to work on it some more after writing this post.
Wanna see my cover?
Here it is… I may tweak the font size a little after I see how it looks on CreateSpace…
I did have to do a little bit more research on bath salts to get an idea as to how I am going to end the story for this one character. He is the one who has the violent episode while on bath salts and it does not look good for him at this time.
I have never killed off a character before. I will only do this if I find out that there is no hope for recovery for him. I am waiting for the verdict to come in. I stand a 50/50 chance of the counselor replying to my request for knowing what kind of fate my character should face. I already talked to an EMT and he said it will not look too good for the character. From what he said, most individuals end up dying from either the substance or from being restrained or such. What a sad thing to say about the fools who chose to use this particular substance. No wonder it is now being banned in most states here in the US.
I’m going to join RWA!
That’s right folks. I hope to make it official next week when I mail in my membership form. I can’t wait either. The NH chapter has a great bunch of fun gals in it.
Looking for some other ROW80 members? Follow the Linky Tool List to see what they are up to.00