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13 Steps before starting your novel

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

I am still working on the first draft of my sequel novel, but it is mostly jotting down ideas and freewriting right now. I am sure it will later change during editing. I decided to watch some writing videos to see what other authors do. Bestselling Author, Jerry B. Jenkins, lists 13 tips.

  • Establish your writing space–my writing space is usually on my computer, typing on Word. But sometimes I might want to go out somewhere, where I can people-watch and browse the area for ideas. I usually end up taking my iPad and/or small notebook and pen for taking notes that my suddenly pop into my head like a bright lightbulb.
  • Assemble writing tools–my writing tools include my PC, which is on my computer desk in my office space, if I am at home; if I am outside, then it is usually my iPhone, iPad, notebook, and pen. 
  • Break project into small pieces–I always do that because working on a novel, whether writing or drawing, is very overwhelming and stressful. If you aren’t organized, then it could be a mess. Just relax and take one small step at a time…
  • Settle on a big idea—my idea for my sequel is a mystery about someone’s death to find who, what, how and why this person died.
  • Write an outline—from intro to conclusion to organize your story before you start; and, then, write each outline section at a time, in groups so it can be easily managed. when you finish writing all the sections of the outline, connect everything together to make sure the whole story flows, from beginning to end. 
  • Firm writing schedule with firm deadline. (I never did that because some days I don’t have anything to write and I need to do something else for a break. I cannot work on a deadline, which would be more stressful for me, and it is likely to lead to crap, which is a waste of time for me). 
  • Do your research—I always do research, especially when I am stuck somewhere or having writer’s block, which is an indication for me I need to research something to move the story forward.
  • Write a compelling reader-first opener. First lines should intrigue in some way, whether be surprising, have a dramatic statement, be philosophical or be poetic.
  • Fill your story with conflict and tension. In fiction, it is a good idea to add some tension or conflict on each page.
  • Turn off your internal editor while writing. (I agree because my first draft is just freewriting ideas, which involves whatever ideas I think of on that day, even the crap. I just let it flow out and go where it wants to go. After I finish the first draft, from intro to conclusion, I ignore it for a month, and then read the whole first draft a couple of times to see how it sounds together so I will know what I will need to delete and add to make the story work the way I want it to. This editing process can last for a while, which involves reading the whole story many times and editing it many times until everything fits together and feels right).
  • “Marathon in the Middle” => (I usually make the middle have a lot of action to keep the story moving, but still making sure it explains the main premise in the intro as well as it is leading to the desired conclusion. I usually experience writer’s block in this area, which indicates I need to do brainstorming and research).
  • Write a resounding ending—he advices on making it emotional because readers will connect with that the most.
  • Be a ferocious and aggressive self-editor—anally polish your work to make it as perfect as you can make it. (I am sometimes a perfectionist and detail-oriented, but not to the point of being anal).

What do you think?

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Written by Fifi Leigh

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    • i like checking out many videos by different people as well as other writers. I also checked out a scriptwriting lecture at uci, where i actually won a scriptwriting book at their raffle. i also saw James Ellroy, author of Black Dahlia as a book signing event at a movie theater, whether he talked about his writing book as well as making of the movie Black Dahlia. it was interesting book signing.

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