Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Usual First Sentence begins with...

Once upon a time...

Now, change it. You are about to start on your best journey: through your senses, your emotions, and your life. In the same way that you can't simply begin your life knowing everything, you can't start a novel with a first sentence.

Sounds weird?

Your first sentence has to draw people in, and make them want to read your work. Can you do that immediately without agonizing over it, and therefore crippling your chances of going forward? If you can, by all means, write your first sentence and go from there. If you can't, admit that you can write your first sentence later, and just write.

What do these two scenarios have in common? You just need to write. Whether your first sentence comes out all polished the first time, or you decide to write it when you're done with your novel, you simply have to write.

Go and make your mark on literature! Write!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Your Very Last Goo!

Are you ready to write your novel? Are you ready to get your head wrapped around ideas, your life wrapped around your characters, your thoughts wrapped around your story, and your past all unwrapped for the world to see?

Sounds complicated, doesn't it? Here's some goo for you to see how much work you will need to do:

plot characters challenge/conflict
setting point of view grammar

These are only a few things that you will need to look at. Your plot, characters, and conflict all take place as your story moves, but you need to have a setting and a point of view from the very beginning, and these latter two elements need to remain constant. Your grammar has to be polished. Everything has to come together into a heap that is as beautiful as it is representative of the complexity of life.

Ready to write? You'll ready as you'll ever be, so start thinking of these elements and start getting your story off the ground! It's time to write a novel!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Does this last sentence sound familiar?

The End.

It's not "And they lived happily ever after," but an abrupt end that leaves your readers thinking about the future of your characters. It might be the closed end that finishes your characters' lives forever. In any case, it's an end, so how will you begin it?

It's time for you to work out a story. Write an outline, or a summary of your novel. Talk about the major characters, their motivations, their back stories, their wants and needs. Describe them if you can. Talk about how they deal with their problems, and then, bring a problem hurtling into their lives. Talk about how they pull through it. Add a problem if you like; add two; heck, add a hundred. Who survives? Who doesn't? What is your story about.

When you are done, tack on "The End" to the end of it. Get your story ready. It's time to start writing your novel.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Today... the rest of the day of your writing life.

Cliche it may be, but today, it's time to start thinking about your novel and start directing all your energies toward writing it. You've worked for years on exercises to get your mind going, and you're ready! All you need is a story. All you need is to sit down and write it.

You don't need to produce a perfect manuscript. You simply need to get a story started and not stop until you free it.

Monday, June 14, 2010

This Means WRITING!

It's not war with anyone, but a battle with your creativity. In a month, you need to churn out at least 50,000 words, and a story, to boot. You need to let your inhibitions loose. You need to type like a maniac, think like a genius, and find a way to not be a madman.

National Novel Writing Month is in less than half a year!

Are you ready?

Most of this blog's exercises are now concentrating on your novel, and not so much on the preparatory exercises that go into it. From now on, you need to concentrate on building your novel, peopling it with a host of characters with their own unique personalities, and, if possible, use NaNoWriMo this November as a way to get your writing started.

Good luck!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

One Last Orchestrated Search as a Writing Exercise

This is your last writing exercise using a search. After this, all searches will be for things in your novel, whether characters or lines of dialogue, punctuations or words. Because this is your last writing exercise, you also need to make it count!

In this orchestrated search, you only need to search through your memories. Cook up a memory mix this time: it's a memory that you never had, but it will have to involve people, places, and things that you remember. For instance, you could remember your best friend, your visit to Venice, and your cup of coffee. You could then write a story involving all three of them, even if your best friend has never been to Venice and/or despises coffee.

So, let's start the search! Scour through your memory and remember:

1. The first person who ever gave you a right and proper scolding
2. The last person to say hi or hello to you
3. Your lunch yesterday
4. The last place that you visited that made you never want to go home

Incorporate all these into a 1000-words-or-less story, with your own plot and the characters from your memory. They don't all have to be in one scene, and you don't have to make things happen over lunch. Find a way to creatively put everything together. When you are done, post your story in the Comments section, or provide a link to it.

Good luck in your last orchestrated search - and happy writing!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Let's Fantasize a Little Bit...

Authors pose for their novel bios. They can be dressed in a period costume, sitting on their favorite lawn chair while gazing into some far away dream, or simply staring at the camera and right at their reader. Your exercise consists in dreaming up your author bio and photo.

First, draw up a 100-200 word bio, which will appear in your novel. What are the things that are most important to you? What part of your identity are you willing to share? What do you want your readers to know? Save this bio and keep it in a place where you can access it easily, say, while working on your novel.

Second, set the timer on your camera and take your own pictures. This will take more than one try, and if you're way too amused with the exercise, you could spend the entire afternoon trying different poses out. Try out different clothes or costumes, and pose in different places with different expressions on your face. Upload your photos to your computer.

Pick out your best photo, find a way to resize it, and add it to your bio file. Now, your bio file is easily accessible, and it may look like a professional biography. Feel free to share it with your friends and ask them for suggestions on making it better.

Keep this file. It might serve as inspiration as you plod through the moors and thickets of the world of novel writing. You have something to aim for! Go for it!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Some Stuff's Out of the Way...

But that doesn't mean that the learning ends. In fact, this is your time to think of what reviewing books and movies has taught you. Think:

"What is the one lesson that I will take away from reviewing books and movies, and how can I apply it to my writing?"

Remember this one lesson as you finally start to write your novel!

Good luck, and happy meditating!