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
Author Archives: 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
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
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?