Thursday, December 3, 2009

Four Places to Go Before you Novel

    What's your next big Writing Trip? Are you going to travel the The Great American Novel route? Or take the back roads of A Pretty Good Book to Share with your Friends? Whatever your ambition to fill up those empty reams, Excuse Editor has a few places you'll need to stop along your journey.
  • Inspiration Station
    • Start asking, "What if...?"This station is full of unique characters. Take a look around you. Pay attention. Take tidbits of your life and the lives of people you hear about and start to ask, "What if...". What if the man you see timidly walking into the grocery store is on his first trip out of his house in 20 years? What if someone recognizes the dog on the Lost Pet posting because the dog had first turned up missing from the home of a neighbor whose child had been kidnapped? Let your imagination roam through possibilities until something holds on to you.
    • Follow the trail. When you get stuck in any part of the process, know that it is part of the process. All writers pass through similar dips in inspiration. Read about how other novelists come up with their ideas here.
  • Writing Highway
    • The journey of a thousand sentences begins with just one word. You may have taken part in National Novel Writing Month. Anything that helps to get words onto the page is necessary. Once the words start forming on the page you are on your way.
    • Scheduled Maintenance. While you are writing, keep learning about the craft; read helpful books to keep you inspired and teach you how to jump over the tough spots. Take in a variety of these works-- some may not speak to you, while others may send you into finger-cramp-speed-writing-heaven.
      • Roz Morris is celebrating Novelists by offering her book, Nail Your Novel, FREE! Just click and download, that's it. She has some creative ways to keep aspiring novelists from leaving their work sad and lonely in a dusty corner somewhere. Roz takes you through a planning process she believes will produce a more successful novel. Take a look!
      •  Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass teaches you how to take a deeper look at your story to see if it will be successful. Now, reading his book doesn't guarantee that you will sell as many copies as one of his clients,James Patterson, but it does give you guidelines on plot, character, viewpoint you may have overlooked.
  • Editing Bridge
    • Crossing over. You can see your destination, but you're not quite there. You don't have to navigate that scary pass alone. Yes, the act of writing can be a lonely endeavor, but editing can be a team effort. Join a group in your town, or start your own. Find writing forums and groups on the internet. Don't be afraid of feedback, it can improve your writing, making you less susceptible to danger once you get to the other side.
  • Submission Junction
    • Travel Diary. You've written, rewritten, edited. You've built your Novel up and tore it down again. Finally it is ready. You want to share your hard work!
      • You could self-publish. Print-on-Demand publishers are very common now. It may be enough to just know the FEEL of your own work in your hands, and have it available for friends and family.
      • Or, that is just not enough for you. You want to get it published the traditional way. Take a deep breath, and dive into The Writer's Market. That is a good starting point for finding agents and publishers to query.  
    • Query? That's your next step. Keep the creative momentum going for your "hook"-- those words that will jump off the page and demand that a publisher ask for your manuscript. Learn to sell yourself and your novel in a short, succinct way.
If writing a novel is on your agenda, enjoy the ride! Let me know how you avoided potholes and travel delays, and of course, I'd love to hear about any souvenirs you found along the way.


    1. FYI Just got an email from the Writer's Digest Shops. They are offering a webinar on Thursday, Dec 10 about Novel Hooks for your Query Letter. Info:

    2. This is great, Tina. I found two books to buy which I'll be glad to share with the group.


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