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Who wants to join me in starting to write a novel in 2013?

(212 Posts)
milk Fri 21-Dec-12 09:37:34

As subject says: Who wants to join me in starting to write a novel in 2013?

I thought we could push each other on to get it finished smile Similar to a losing weight thread, except it would be for gaining words grin

wordfactory Thu 03-Jan-13 15:13:22

I don't know if it will help anyone, but these are some of the decisions I take before I even start drafting.

1. What (vaguely) is my book about. Maybe a paragraph or two.
2. What structure am I going to use (this is imperative for me).
3. What is the central question, I'm asking. One sentence.
4. Who is my MC.
5. What do they want.

Once I have this straight in my head, I get going. Then I write very quickly, without worrying about that first draft.

JohnSnowsTie Thu 03-Jan-13 21:15:24

Thanks Word, will bear all these in mind. Could you explain to a complete novice how you decide upon a structure?

Kveta Thu 03-Jan-13 21:45:26

Halfway through my synopsis here when DD woke up!

elfycat Thu 03-Jan-13 21:55:29

Please may I join. I know I'm late to the party but DD2 kicked my laptop off the arm of the sofa on the 22nd Dec and smashed the switch. Dear, dear DH I have to say that got the part today and now I have an unsmashed laptop and a couple of weeks of catching up to do.

I have my NaNo2012 story which I kind of feel may be worth prodding into some kind of shape. It needs the first 28k removing and then several scenes surgically rearranging. Oh and pretty much all I wrote was dialogue, I might need to work on descriptions etc.

theoriginalandbestrookie Fri 04-Jan-13 12:57:26

How do people write?

I like writing by hand in a notepad as it means I can do it anywhere but then I hate having to type it up as I'm tempted to start altering things which really slows me down. Also sometimes its depressing realising that there is a lot of work to do before it will be in a fit state to send anywhere.

So I'm going to try typing direct from now on, except that really cuts down on the places I can write to the study only as I only like to use a proper keyboard.

ChestnutMum Fri 04-Jan-13 21:23:12

Hi! Only just saw these posts but can I be one of the ones lurking in the background? I have a vague idea for a novel and am one of those people who is always starting books never to finish them...perhaps I should make 2013 the year to write a whole one! x

icepole Sat 05-Jan-13 11:24:59

Has everyone decided on pov? I am struggling a bit! I know it won't be first person, am thinking third limited but am so new to this I have no idea if this is a good choice or not.

JohnSnowsTie Sat 05-Jan-13 15:04:57

I'm thinking first person for mine. My MC isn't very likeable (she's not evil, just completely oblivious to her flaws/impact on others) and I think this would come across better from 1st person pov. Most of what I've done before has been 3rd person, so it's going to be a bit of an exercise to come up with an inner monologue!

Is third limited when it's with one character throughout?

icepole Sat 05-Jan-13 18:29:18

Ha I am not totally sure to be honest, I want more than one characters pov but in each chapter it will be just one character if that makes sense.

wordfactory Sat 05-Jan-13 18:47:15

johnsnows please forgive me if I tell you stuff you already'll appreciate I can't gauge these things.

When I decide what my story is vaguely about, I then decide how to tell it. This for me is as important. Choose the right structure and the work will do itself. Choose the wrong structure and it will feel all wrong.

So right from the off I decide on my structure and why.

I might decide the story needs to be told from one first person POV told in present tense. Probably the most difficyult structure in the world! Lol!

Or perhaps alternating between several different characters' POVs, all told in third, past tense. Or perhaps some told in third, some in first.

I'm currently writing a parallel narrative. Two stories (apparently not linked) that run side by side. I'm alternating between the two with a 60/40 split.

tillytinselpants Sat 05-Jan-13 19:43:15

Hi, do you mind if I join you? I've written a couple of short stories but have had an idea floating around for a while now, and I think I need to crack on with it before it floats away!

SleepBeckons Sat 05-Jan-13 19:53:31

Only just seen this thread - I'd like to join too if I may? I have a novel outline that I've been playing with, and need to get on with it if it's ever to see light of day ...

JohnSnowsTie Sat 05-Jan-13 19:58:55

Thanks word, all really helpful. I understand what you mean about it feeling wrong if you don't get the right structure, but I wouldn't have given that much thought before now so thanks.

I prefer the idea of several third person narratives really, so as not to get bored with one voice, but I don't think it's a good plan for this particular story.

Can it work to do some in first and some in third? Had never considered that before. I.e. could you tell a flashback story in third and present story in first?

Sorry to thread-hijack, folks...blush

ImperialBlether Sat 05-Jan-13 20:50:21

JohnSnow, just something an agent said to me (it won't apply to wordfactory as she's so experienced) but she said when she sees (on the slush pile) a first novel with multiple narrators, her heart sinks because it's so hard to get it right. She said that in her experience of 30 years or so as an agent it was very, very rare to find a novice writer who could handle that well.

JohnSnowsTie Sat 05-Jan-13 21:51:00

Thanks Imperial, will take that on board!

JohnSnowsTie Sat 05-Jan-13 21:56:20

Do you think that includes two+ third-person viewpoints, as well as two or more first person ones?

fuzzpig Sat 05-Jan-13 22:14:49

That's useful to know! I really have one main character but was thinking of doing some of it from the main supporting character's POV. Think I will leave that out (TBF it may have taken some of the mystery out of it anyway)

icepole Sat 05-Jan-13 23:11:50

I have three main third person pov strands in my head right now. Maybe I am over complicating it. I never write in first person for some reason, doesn't feel natural to me.

icepole Sat 05-Jan-13 23:12:56

I just properly read your user name johnsnow - brilliant grin

GaryBuseysTeeth Sat 05-Jan-13 23:22:30

If it's not too late to join...I've got a few thousand words so far, and the entire thing is based on an idea I've been toying with for a few years.

JohnSnows, I think 2+ first persons can work, if it lends itself to the story & it's very clear who is says what (I think the easiest way to start is a chapter exclusive to a character).

theoriginalandbestrookie Sat 05-Jan-13 23:32:14

Drat I should be writing right now rather than mumsnetting. I thought I had a nice 1.5 hr slot tomorrow when Sam was at a party but I have managed to leave my phone at my friends house and its a 40 min return drive to pick it up

JohnSnowsTie Sun 06-Jan-13 00:32:06

Thanks icepole blush grin

Some of these early stage decisions are a pain in the bum, aren't they?!

TunipTheVegedude Sun 06-Jan-13 13:26:19

Would anyone be interested in a separate editing and rewriting thread, for people who already have their first draft? Or would this be needlessly separatist? It's just a different kind of cheerleading is needed - with the first draft it's very much 'Keep going, don't worry too much about quality, just get the words down, you can do it!' but with later drafts it's more about mulling over specific problems.

wordfactory Sun 06-Jan-13 16:05:58

johnsnow I've certainly mixed between first and third in most of my novels.

I usually tell the main thrust of my novel in third (usualy three of fourcharacters' POV), but a sub plot is often told from another character's POV in first. I like to tell young characters in first. It seems to suit them somehow. All me, me, me.

I've read books with multiple firsts. And when they're done well, they're great. But I think it's harder to differentiate first person voices, than third person voices.

schroedingersdodo Sun 06-Jan-13 19:26:25

Can I join? I've started writing a story a few months ago. I have a few scattered scenes and and an outline with a few holes.

I don't know how long it will be (I don't mind if it ends up being a novella or novelette), but really want to finish this book this year.

After reading wordfactory's list I got worried: I can't tell what it is that I want to say with this story! I'm just writing a story I would like to have read. In a nutshell, what would happen if the Phantom of the Opera, or the Beast (from beauty and the beast) had married the girl. It's not fanfic, I created a different 'monster'.

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