A Fork, Knife and Elephant Means What?
They’re all elements in an old parable where a man feels overwhelmed at the daunting task of eating an elephant. I never heard this story until last July, at the RWA national conference. I think it was either Roxanne St. Clair or Harlen Coben and Lisa Jackson who brought the story up during their discussion.
Writing a book can be much like eating an elephant at one sitting, if we let it be.
First, know writing a quality novel takes thought, sweat and time. A great deal of all three. The project is something you’re not just going to dash off in a weekend. Not even a long weekend. So know your work will take you several months, or a year, or years to accomplish, depending on your time constrictions and ability to type.
It’s less intimidating if you think of a huge job as parts. So size up your project. Is it going to be a novella, a category romance, single title or a series of single titles? Once you know the word count you’re targeting, you can break the project into parts. If you want to write a single title at approximately 90,000 words over ten months, you’ll want to write at least 9000 words in a month or nearly 2400 words a week. Break that down to six days a week (I gave you a day off) and you’ll need to write 400 hundred words a day.
That big elephant isn’t looking too huge now, right?
Now, imagine writing ‘the end’. You did it! Dance. Yell out to the world, yippy. Have some bubbly and chocolate. That’s it. Hold that feeling close. The warm fuzzy memory will urge you on when you think you can’t possibly do this.
Having all the tools you need, will make the task easier. Think about it. Did you ever make a cake batter with all the ingredients at hand? It’s much easier than if you had to grab the flour from this cupboard, egg from the refrigerator and, dang, I’m out of milk and need to run to the store. So gather the tools you’ll need. Computer, document storage (you don’t want to lose your work), any research notes, storyboard, storyline, notecards, whiteboard, and other writer friends. Yes, I said friends. Friends will encourage you and listen to you when you vent, and they’ll also offer up ideas when you need them.
Not every writer writes a book in the same way, or a in a linear fashion. If you hate writing the end, write it first. If the middle seems like a swayback mare to you and you hate facing it, fast draft a few scenes.
Last bit of advice, start eating that elephant. The end is non-existent without the beginning.
***** In The Presence Of Evil ******
Christmas is only a week away. At the insistence of his best-friend, Marine Cole Hanson returns to Mountain Pine, Pennsylvania for the holiday celebration. While he is not looking forward to facing the woman who broke his heart and has haunted his dreams, a small part of him hopes part of their past can be erased and they could start their relationship a new. When he sees Gina trembling in handcuffs, accused of murder, he steps up as her alibi, but can he keep her safe from the real killer.
One minute, Gina is planning the perfect holiday with her new boyfriend and the next she is in handcuffs and facing murder charges. Just when she thinks she’ll spend Christmas in jail, she looks up into the eyes that once had promised to love her forever. Cole. The memory of how he’d crushed her heart, keeps her from jumping into his arms until the truth of their past is revealed. But, is it too late for them? A killer is determined to make Gina his next victim.