Saturday, January 25, 2014

What a Novel Idea

Please see this disclaimer:  I approach this topic, not as an absolute expert, but as a surveyor and responder of an enriching, newly found experience.  I always wished in college I had either the "time" or the circumstance to take more upper-level writing courses (took all of the lower and mid-level ones that I could!) on how to develop and craft a novel.  Proceed with caution, as writing a novel is an act of dedication and patience.  If you are already a writer avidly practicing writing; I challenge you.  What's the harm?  What's the worst thing that can happen--public embarrassment or writer's block?  Sure, that's scary, but it can't be much worse than a bad day on social media.

Of course, novels will not take minutes, but days, and in some cases years.  Much like love, if it is meant to be it will just happen.  It won't happen directly from reading this blog.  At least, I doubt it.  This idea, when you're ready, will occur to you on your own.  We're all lucky in that we live in an age where it is easier to share ideas nearly instantaneously, with the touch of a button.  Many authors have not taken this for granted.  There are more self promoted and self published authors seeking audiences than ever. 

Before seeking some sort of audience, it behooves you to search and discover subjects in the corners of your mind and the backdrop of your life, in order to find a worthy story first.  If you're skeptical, that's okay.  It might not be the right time.  Although, let us examine the concept behind that 1987 U2 song, "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For".  Writers, did that stop Bono and The Edge from crafting such lyrical, philosophical excellence?  I'm not accusing U2 members of writer's block, especially since Bono explained the song was spiritually based.  However, if you'll take notice, plenty of popular music is about that very subject.  Take this one for an example, Natasha Bedingfield's song "Unwritten".  It's almost as if the songwriters had nothing else to write about and thus began by tackling the absence that is not having a subject at all.  Take your own road.  Mine is the philosophical approach to "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For".  Why else would I write?  It's a search and discover mission.

Clever writers encourage the notion that when you find a solid story idea, you will start writing and ask yourself questions during the process and afterwards.  If you are writing and refining your work, the novel might even show up at your place.  "Hi there, say, I noticed you've been writing about me a whole lot lately. We haven't been seeing other people. You've just been writing about me, your topic. I was wondering if we might start seeing where this takes us."  It could happen.

A novel in its most simple state is only a longer, more connected format for exhibiting your best efforts in storytelling.  Before you even begin to consider such an endeavor, you might want to read.  This is a glaring assumption that you're not already.  That's all I see veteran authors write about and agree upon. Read novels and research your fiction or non-fiction subjects.  Prepare yourself in between reading and writing.  You can search and read articles with writing techniques:
It's a matter of preference whether you'll choose to stay with insightful short works like blogs or take on a more lengthy journey like novel writing.  As this article mentions, the only thing stopping you is whether you want to write one or not.  That is your choice.

In case you are curious on some novel writing techniques:
Here are some generous ideas on how to begin developing a novel from Randy Ingermanson, Ph.D. who teaches writing and sells his book with "The Snowflake Method" concept.
This article suggests a structured format with pre-configured conflicts and obstacles.  Sequential maps do help with organizing writing.  You can change and re-organize anything while novel writing.
At worst, good writers will have salvageable pieces that they can re-work, re-draft, and transplant into different formats.  When you have the will to write it, you will find the time.

I am currently writing my first novel.  I am prepared, financially and emotionally, if it is never mass-market printed or small-market printed.  My supportive family still wants me to write it.  It will take a lengthy time to write.  My friends will put it on their old-school bookshelves, or download it on their electronic ones. 

I will make some sacrifices--like what I consider to do for free time.  Blogs might be occasional book reviews instead of personal stories.  As a planner and marathon runner, I converted my routine into logging not mileage per week, but words per week.  When I am finished with this one, I'll have to revise and rewrite parts of it.  Then, I will write another one--for better or for worse.  It's like when Lady Gaga married the night.  You will marry novel writing.  If you are married, please note, do not ignore your real spouse with your new adventure.

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