Author Archives: Naomi Hawkins-Rowe

On Writing About Another Culture

Naomi Hawkins-Rowe

When I started writing stories as a kid, I remember wanting to write about things beyond my imagination and understanding. I was of course, like most young girls growing up in the 80s and 90s, very much smitten with the wondrously  daydreamy Anne Shirley. But like Anne, there came a time when I found myself with writer’s block. The practical advice she was given was also parroted by my own mother: write what I know.  It’s a nice sentiment. Continue reading

Embracing Simplicity: The Environment

Naomi Hawkins-Rowe

If you read my previous post, you know that I am sloshing through the muddy fields of learning to live a slow, more simplified life.  I define the event as muddy because it hasn’t always been easy; it’s a whole lifestyle change and like anyone, I’m a creature of habit. But none the less, a creature with an endgame: a finished and polished novel and the dream of an agent to submit it to. Continue reading

Embracing Simplicity: How learning to slow down has aided my writing

Naomi Hawkins-Rowe

I’ll keep this short and sweet. Minimal. (At least I’ll attempt to be. It’s a complicated subject.)

Since the last Write By Midnight, I have slowly been embracing what it means to live a slow, simple and minimalist lifestyle. I mean to truly live it for my own personal health (be it physical or mental), for the sake of my family and for the sake of my writing. Continue reading

Acknowledge Yourself a Writer; Practice Self-Control

Naomi Hawkins-Rowe

Around the first of the New Year, I thought a lot about the goals I had for 2018, both personally and professionally.  They were of the standard variety, you know: be more organized, take my yoga practice up a notch, go to bed at a “human” hour, FINISH WRITING THAT BOOK! All these are well and good, and if I’m honest I’ll likely be successful at doing them for the first few months of the year before my enthusiasm will wane and I’ll half-a– the rest of the year. Willpower can only take you so far! (The Frog and Toad story “Cookies”  comes to mind when I hear the word willpower). Continue reading

The Aftermath of Discovery Writing

Naomi Hawkins-Rowe

A few years ago, I remember reading that Ruta Sepetys did two years of research before she began writing her books.  If she is the sort to keep a planning journal or story/idea wall, I like to imagine how pristinely organized it must all be. I don’t know her, so of course this is all speculation. But I can imagine these novel planning tools and they must be beautiful. Mini works of art.

I have actually attempted the plan-before-you-write method. For me, making story maps and sketching visuals in my journal are enjoyable planning activites. At the recommendation of my fellow WriteOwl, Stacey, I read some of Truby’s book and got excited to take my novel planning up a notch. It’s a great book!, but I confess I got as far as doing the activities in Chapter 1, before I began to feel anxious and had to put Truby down. The planning stage began to  feel less creative to me and I wanted to “discover” my story as I wrote it.

So I did. With general plot prompts and a whole lot of sidebar notes to be dealt with later, I “discovery wrote” the heck out of my first draft. In doing so, I discovered a few things. One, that I have a lot of rewriting to do, because, two, as I wrote I realized new things about my characters and that began to change the course of the plot. I also learned that writing this way made me insanely happy and excited to work on my book.

There is a reason I like the “blank page” and the question “what is possible?” I live for the part of making something that is purely creative, exploratory, imaginative. But any form of art requires tweeking, editing and revision. That is where I am. The backdrop I’ve created, the first notes I’ve written need details, need depth.

In the aftermath of discovery writing, I can see the advantage of thoroughly planning one’s novel; I am sure I wouldn’t have as many notes to sort through. But  I also believe we create in different ways. I need to be guided by whim at first so I can carve out the details later. For another writer, they may need the opposite. To each their own.

What say you? What method do you use to write a first draft?