Advanced search

<gasp> I think I have an outline for a novel. Now what?!

(11 Posts)
fuzzpig Mon 22-Oct-12 14:47:55

Never ventured onto this board before among all you clever writing people! Hello grin

So, last night while I was failing to sleep I actually came up with a plot for a story. I have a rough idea what will happen, and who the characters are, the tone of the book etc. Basically I just wrote down all my ideas in no particular order, including prompts to myself of things I'll need to think about in more detail. That's all I have so far, but it's so much more than I've ever done before.

This is amazing for me - I was very creative in my teens but after a complete breakdown (I was hospitalised) I totally lost all confidence and creative ability and have never really dared to try again. This is scary - I feel vulnerable!

I'm not sure how intense I want to get with this - I have a lot of stuff going on including a big health problem (so I'm not sure about nanowrimo, even though that looks great) - where do I start? Any advice? smile

TunipTheVegemal Mon 22-Oct-12 23:29:56

You want to do it, but you don't want to set yourself up to fail, so don't do NaNoWriMo.
But in order to get anywhere with it you do need to block out some regular time slots, even if it's just a few hours a week.
If you haven't written anything since your teens then just writing a first chapter will be a massive and worthwhile initial thing to aim for. You can absolutely write the whole thing, but how about setting a target like the first two chapters by Christmas? Then, basically, just turn up at the allotted times and get to work.
Reading stuff about how to write is worthwhile, but my hunch is that to start with you would do yourself more of a favour by just putting pen to paper, and then when you've written a bit you'll have more of an idea of what you want to get out of 'how to write' books. Also there's a risk that if you read too much stuff on technique now you'll get bogged down and never start. Remember that what you are writing now is a first draft and if it's ever going to be a good novel there will be second and third and fourth drafts when you can improve it.

Good luck! I hope you do it.

fuzzpig Tue 23-Oct-12 14:41:03

Thanks smile you're right, getting anything on paper will be a big deal. I have written virtually nothing creative in many years.

I will keep a look out for any books on writing, but I think you're right in that I need to just get pen to paper first.

I'm not too sure how to start - I'm thinking I might need to plan a bit more first... it's just a few random notes at the moment! When writing essays I tend to jump around a lot, write the easiest bits first and then organise it, beef it out and check it flows properly (successful strategy for assignments, not so great for exams hmm) so I think that's what I may end up doing, but I don't know if that's the best idea for a whole book.

Totally clueless about writing a longer story, don't even know how many words or chapters I'm aiming at, or if I want first or third person (or if I want both main characters' views or just one.

I am reading a lot more lately and I work in a library which I think is helping me get more comfortable with writing again.

iceandsliceplease Tue 23-Oct-12 22:45:08

Hello fellow new writer!

I can't offer much advice, but I can hopefully offer support. I've just started writing - seriously, I started on Friday! Like you I was so creative as a teen, but now I feel a bit cringey about it all. As though I'm going to be writing 14 yr olds poetry instead of A Proper Book. I have had the most massive boost today though - there's a certain holiday property that I'm using as my protagonist's home and I emailed the owners yesterday to ask if I could visit to 'fix' the layout in my head. They emailed back within an hour, welcoming me anytime and saying that the tone of my email was so funny, they couldn't refuse me. <huffs on fingernails, brushes them against lapel>

I had the first line of my novel, the first big moment and certain key events. I'm really struggling with the joining up stuff. The basic 'move character A to location B' stuff, so today I sketched out the key events of the first third or so of the novel. There were about 25. Hopefully that will give me the impetus to move from moment to moment.

If you need a writing buddy - by which I mean someone to encourage and chat to - I'm here. But I am very aware that my novel is certainly a pile of shite at the moment, so advice will be non-existent grin

Ponders Tue 23-Oct-12 22:51:10

how to write a book in 30 days

it was a supplement in the Guardian on Saturday - I skimmed it this evening (not having a novel in me I didn't take much notice grin) so I don't know how helpful it might be. I could post it to you if you think the hard copy might help? PM me if so.

it alos had a few pieces by established writers like Ian Rankin about how they do it but that's mostly about time management

good luck - it must be really exciting!

fuzzpig Wed 24-Oct-12 08:58:12

Hello! What fantastic news about the holiday home - is it somewhere you've stayed in the past? Did it inspire you and give you ideas for your novel at the time? I'm intrigued grin Julia Crouch said in an author talk I went to a while ago that she actually makes floor plans of her characters' homes. She got all embarrassed but I think it's a good idea!

Thanks for the link ponders - I'd had a quick flick through the paper copy as we have newspapers at work but couldn't take it home obviously as we archive them for 3 months, and didn't get a chance to buy my own copy. Looks quite good so I will PM you grin

Last night DH went to bed really early and instead of just sitting in front of DVDs all night I actually got the laptop out, copied all my iPhone notes onto a document, wrote a bit more about main characters (including spending way too long deciding their names blush) and wrote a more detailed synopsis about the first couple of chapters, including any themes/images/emotions that came to me. That happens to me a lot, I just get a particular thought or sentence in my head, so I'm trying to use them. I'm really proud I actually managed to write something!

wordfactory Wed 24-Oct-12 17:26:02

Well now, there are many ways to approach a novel, but some are more likely to produce a finished article than the others.

For me the first decision you need to make is what structure you are going to use. The know the vague plot ie what you are going to say, now you need to decide how you are going to say it.

Once you have that decision made it will be easier to move forward. Not that you are wedded to your structure of course, but it will at least give you a frame work.

elfycat Wed 24-Oct-12 17:35:00

I love the post about not doing NaNoWriMo, I do it every year and it's what gets me to actually punch out a first draft (not that I do anything with them, my writing is a hobby only).

I've taken the OU creative writing modules and the advice is to write something every day and to not worry about perfection. Editing is a job for another time.

I'd suggest starting to write it without over planning. My characters develop more during writing than they do during planning, plot points crop up as the characters develop.

fuzzpig Wed 24-Oct-12 18:06:03

Thank you, I definitely got further on with it last night, I just have a stumbling block regarding a certain thing, and need to decide exactly what is happening to the supporting character (it is pretty important) but I feel much clearer about things. I do struggle with decision making in everyday life (I have Aspergers and tend to overanalyse every bloody thing!) so it will be a big triumph if I just power through this.

Had a completely shit day today but might try and carry on a bit later. I think trying to write a little every day will be good if I can cement it into a habit!

TunipTheVegemal Thu 25-Oct-12 09:36:27

Elfycat - I didn't mean to diss NaNoWriMo, it's clearly a fantastic thing for people who are in a position to really go for it. It's just that the OP mentioned having a lot of stuff going on and a big health problem and NaNoWriMo means writing a lot every day rather than a little.

elfycat Thu 25-Oct-12 14:31:36

Tunip - I don't mind the diss, it was more of a LOL as it's one of the things that gets me writing and I suggest it to people who want to write; give it a go for the discipline of writing each day and the people on the forums who are encouraging.

I know it's not for everyone or all life circumstances. I wouldn't say it's a lot of writing though - 1667 words a day. I'm not the fastest typist but I can do that in an hour. The way I work is to time 15 minutes and type as fast as I can. I then take a break, have tea, make dinner, do housework, make a pompom with the kids, go shopping etc. When I go back I've had thinking time for what I'll write next and the next 15 mins is productive.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: