Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Here's Your Fork & Knife. Now Finish the Dang...


What? A Fork, Knife and Elephant. What do I mean?

They’re all elements in an old parable where a man feels overwhelmed at the daunting task of eating an elephant. 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.

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 (take a day off-we all need it) 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 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. 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 need to vent. And they’ll offer up ideas when you need them.

Know not every writer writes a book in the same way. Some writers write in a linear fashion (chp. 1, 2, 3) while others skip all over the places. Neither way is right. Neither way is wrong. 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. Write the chapters that call to you and then bind them all together. Scrivener is a writing tool if you're this kind of writer.

Last bit of advice, start eating that elephant. The end is non-existent without the beginning.

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