Showing posts from 2012

Guest Post: My Parents’ Library by AmyBeth Inverness

The room I’m in seems strangely devoid of books. Most of the horrid green wallpaper has been steamed away, revealing a very dirty shade of light green underneath. It’s been this way for a couple of years now; we intended to remodel the closet and repaint the room when we moved in, but the baby’s room took precedence and, well, real life intervened.

This room, which is now hubby’s and my bedroom, used to be my parents’ library. They moved here to Vermont when I was nineteen years old and away at college. I never did get to go home to Colorado; going home meant getting in an airplane and flying across the country to a state I’d never even visited.

I love this house, and so did my parents. They bought it as empty nesters, ready for grandchildren.
Sure enough, four grandchildren did come along while they lived here. It has six bedrooms; quite huge for empty-nesters, but that meant that my mother could have a sewing room and my father could have a library.

The ugly wallpaper didn’t matter …

How to Write a Novel Part 5: Rest and Revisions

Now that you’ve got a first draft done…. Walk away.
This is the part a lot of people hate, but I cannot stress this enough:
Wait a month (or at least a week if you’re really that impatient) before you look at the ms again. The book needs time to rest; your mind needs time to rest. If you jump back into the book now, you’ll end up reading what you think you wrote, not what you did. Give your mind a break from the book. Forget the story, so when you read it again you can come at it with a red pen afresh.
I distract myself at this point by going back to the beginning and starting something new… I guess you could say I write books like you would sing a round.
But seriously…. step away from the book, give it time to settle and then, return to it with a fresh mind ready to slice it to bits.
Self Editing At this point, you’ve got a draft that is ridiculously befitting its title of “sloppy copy.” Personally, I think I’m awful at self-editing. Mostly because myself edit…

How To Write A Novel Part 4: Drafting

Write I know that seems like a silly thing to say, but let’s face it. All the planning and scheming in the combine multiverses won’t get you any closer to a complete draft unless you put your butt to the chair and your pen to the paper (or fingers to the keyboard). If you want to write a novel you have to actually write it. And yes, I realize this might sound silly to some of you, but it’s the truth. So, get to it. Write something. Do it now. I’ll wait for you to come back.
Write Some More Already have something down? Or are you back from that little jaunt? Honestly, it doesn’t matter. You need to write and you need to do it consistently. Don’t get me wrong. If this is your opus, and if it takes 10 years, that’s great… but it’s no way to turn being an author into a career (just saying). So, sit down. Write. Find the time: in the wee hours of the morning, on your lunch break, after you’ve put the kids to bed. But write. Do it every day. I don’t care if you get in 100-words, 1,000-words,…

How To Write A Novel Part 3: The Planning Stage

Know Your Numbers At this point, you know what sort of a novel you want to write, right? So you should have a good idea of the genre and category (MG, YA, Adult, etc.) There are certain rules to the size and shape of things in the writing world. 50,000-words is fine for a middle grade novel, but it’s not even close to an Adult novel’s requirements, and 250,000-words is just too long for anything (unless you happen to be George R.R. Martin or J. K. Rowling – which you’re not. Not yet, anyway.)
As a general rule there is a number and then there’s a range. For most adult novels the number is 100,000-words, while the range is 90-110k. Basically, you have a 20,000-word leeway around the number. So, plan accordingly. (Epic Fantasy will have a higher number as you have to worry about epic world building, but it’s still likely to be in the 110,000 range)
Here’s a brief post on an agent’s thoughts on w/c.
Outline Outlines can be done in a myriad of ways… We all remember them from high school no …

How to Write a Novel Part 2: The Initial Burst

As a plotter, it might sound a little strange to start the writing portion of a novel before you get to the real meat and potatoes of the planning. But I’ve found that that initial burst of idea, needs to be capitalized on, so at this point I write.
I may only end up with a handful of disjointed paragraphs that are pulled from all over the story, or I might end up with 10,000-words from the front end.
This is the stuff that gets piecemealed together, or pulled apart and reworked more often than not, but it’s a really good way to get things out and thought about… because the next step requires that you know what general direction you want to take the story in.
Sometimes this initial burst comes months, before I end up starting the actual first draft – and that’s usually because I don’t have time for it. A plot bunny bounds into my head and I’ll take a day or so off from what I’m working on to make sure I get what needs to be gotten down on paper and then I go back to what I need to ge…

How To Write A Novel Part 1: The Idea

***This is how I go about writing a novel, it’s probably different for other people and if you do it differently, feel free to tell me how in the comments. This works for me. Something else might work better for you.***
This might seem like a no-brainer, but in order to write a novel, you need some idea of what you plan to write.
I know, I know, you’re rolling your eyes at me right now, but it’s true. And here’s why:
Plot requires conflict > Conflict requires thought > thought requires thinking.
In today’s publishing industry, writing a hundred thousand words isn’t enough. You have to have a coherent story and you have to make it brilliant.
So, why waste time writing out languid lines of prose describing the verdant hues of a forest…. when you don’t have a plot. First things first: you have to see the plot for the trees. (Sometimes, I write things down like that and I think, what are you on??? Anyway, that’s why we have editing! But that’s for another post)
But is an idea enou…

RIP Ray Bradbury, 1920-2012

"That's sad," said Montag, quietly, "because all we put into it is hunting and finding and killing. What a shame if that's all it can ever know." - Fahrenheit 451