Megan Norris Jones
Welcome to the most wonderful time of the year! The days between Thanksgiving and New Year are packed with parties, concerts, school plays, and family gatherings. All of that is great for your social life, but it’s terrible for your writing schedule.
There are lots of ways to handle the rush and bustle, so now at the beginning of the season, take a few moments to decide how you want to manage your writing over the coming weeks. Consider your successes and failures from past years along with where you are in the writing process right now. Then read through the following approaches and decide which is the best one for you. Continue reading
Tea, tea, where the *#*%* did I leave my stupid tea?
It’s NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), and I need caffeine!
That’s my new, morning (and by morning, I mean 4:00 am) mantra.
You see, last Wednesday, November 1 (that’s important), I was complaining to a writing friend (Megan) that my biggest writing issue is that I’m a slow writer, and by slow, I mean geologic, not sloth-like. 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?
My favorite pair of pajamas has grumpy-looking crabs with “Crabby in the Morning” written all over the fabric. That phrase describes me well on most days. It especially suits me if someone or something wakes me up before my alarm goes off, or if my alarm beeps at me with any number lower than a seven glowing on the display. If it’s dark and below 40 degrees outside, I’m even more crabby. And if it’s below 20 degrees outside, I am the evil queen of all the crabs in the kingdom. I woke up today at 5:30 a.m., but because it was only 53 degrees outside, my level of crabbiness was manageable with some caffeine. Lately, however, I’ve been pondering how my sleeping patterns affect other aspects of my life, particularly my writing. Continue reading
Megan Norris Jones
When I sit down to work on my novel, or even this blog post, I want a keyboard (or at least a touchpad) and a screen. I’ve waxed eloquent elsewhere about the Scrivener writing app and its more portable versions for the iPad and iPhone. You know that I love me some digital words. I set my schedule on iCal, my to-dos on Wunderlist, and reach out to the world on Twitter (@mnj23). But I still can’t let go of my paper journal, and my writing benefits as a result. Continue reading