Saturday, February 04, 2006

Yay! I've worked out how to write my novel.

Yay! Ladies and gentleman. I can now proudly announced I have worked out exactly what my novel is going to be about. I've written notes, timelines, synopsis, the whole thing.

I still need to develop the characters but I've worked out all the milestone important points, have weaved together some complexities, and I am very pleased.

"So Damon, after all these years of thinking about writing a novel and talking about it too ... is it your evening course that has spurred you on to do this?"

And the simple answer is 'yes'.

Kate, you were right. You have been telling me for years to do a course ... I was a huge cynic "don't care about other writers, dont' want to go on a course, don't want to share, I'm too cool and sorted"

But here I am. I've actually thrown together some fragments of ideas I've had for years and created a real story that could well work (um, yeah, got to write it yet. Realise this book is a reality still pending).

What drove me: It's about having your mind focused. It's about having to present something on Monday. it's about being able to talk about "my novel" because others on the class are doing that already.

Also, last week the course tutor gave us an essay about plot; plotting, fitting together of different elements important in a novel. I've studied it personally. As a group we studied it too.

The essay isolated 8 important things that must be in a novel. The tutor asked us to write a sentence next to each of these. Before you realise it, you've got a novel! Amazing. Amazing how just taking that structure - that admittedly looked a bit abstract and silly to begin with - really makes total sense ... and by fitting my ideas into that structure ... well bugger me if a novel hasn't appeared. Well, the bones of one.

Sorry, a very self indulgent post on my blog today. Probably a bit abstract. Wonder if anyone knows what I'm going on about.

What drove me II: In 8 weeks time I've got to have chapter one of my novel ready. Not entirely sure what chapter one is going to contain yet though ... Ive sussed out the character basics (the background, effectively) and I've sussed out the 'impulse' (that's how the ball gets rolling with the story, the bit where the plot starts proper) but chapter one has to set things up a bit, introduce characters. Hmmm. How to do that and remain interesting too. A conundrum, a bridge to cross, a bit of a challenge. I love writing challenges though ... and anyone out there who I've sub-edited will know how my mind works in terms of narratives, getting from A to B and helping the reader along (and probably in terms of Damon shouting or sending emails to get his writers to clarify their thoughts and 'line throughs' and to bare their souls a bit more [sorry Julia]). But shorter pieces are different again. I feel a bit adrift at creating a 200,000 word narrative ... 1,000 words are much easier to deal with, you can see the beginning and the end and keep track of that middle bit quite easily ... but when the middle bit is 180,000 words then you've got an entirely different narrative paradigm / situation going on.

Indulge me this morning, won't you. Especially as I probably won't wax lyrical about this kind of stuff again. Not at length.

OK, so anyone out there who's further down the line in a novel or has written anything before ... please feel free to chip in with thoughts or advice right now.


The Goldfish said...

Congratulations Damon!

I have compiled all my "Lesson I have learnt about writing novels" as links on the sidebar of my blog. I will be adding more so watch this space.

Be patient and expect a long haul. Also consider whether or not you might be better writing the entire first draft as it comes to your mind before trying to get anything perfect - whatever you write in chapter one might need editing and re-editing or tearing up and rewriting as your story takes form.

Expect the unexpected - it is an organic process - and remember that writing books has much more about hard work and bloody-mindedness than talent.

Best of luck!

Charlesdawson said...

Someone, I don't recall who, said that writing novels was easy. All you have to do is sit and stare at that blank sheet of paper till your forehead bleeds.

Katie said...

Heh, so I'm glad I was right... ! Just remember that I am always right when you are next disagreeing with me.

Seriously, I'm glad it's all going well.

I would now tell you the secret of how you go about writing the bloody thing, but I'm still in the midst of mine, I don't feel capable of offering any sensible advice.

The trick now is to get on and write it I think. Giving yourself deadlines is good. If false deadlines won't work, promise to email X thousand words to a friend once every fortnight or something, so someone else is expecting something from you. That works for me.

And let things happen... have a plan, but don't worry if you stray from it - all the best things happen then...

I'll get back to you when I've finished mine...

Good luck...

circus girl swirl said...

This excites me. I like that you shared what to include in the construction scaffolding of the novel. It really opens the door for getting busy with putting it together. It almost makes me think about giving it a go. I keep wanting to write plays because of the dirth of parts for women.
One of the last acting classes I took had a bone like structure for preparing a character role, and it was the best tool to have. It was just enough direction to lay your own creativity over and take off, for even the most mundane of roles. I never felt completely lost or clueless again in approaching a role, having only to rely on luck in character development, yet didn't feel confined as though it were the only way either. It made acting, fun again, and relieved some of the stress that business puts on churning out a show, and making sure people are entertained by it. I use the same structure when I'm getting ready to perform a new song, and then use it differently to make the same song be fresh each time.
I'm glad you're posting about working on your novel, and going to class. It feels like it's pumping some oxygen into me.

Katie said...

Glad your novel is going well Damon and that you are enjoying your writing course.

I think I should further my writing too, as I am good at writing as well. I love plays and reading people's autobiographies, as they paint a good picture of the person behind them.

Novels are great also for being creative and writing about feelings, thoughts and views on things in the world and sometimes if you think about things that have happened in your life or that particular day that can also be a good base for your stfories.

Hope all that helps Damon!
I'll be a great person to give my opinions when the novel's finished.

BloggingMone said...

Keep us updated with news about how the novel is growing. It's very interesting!