By Leslie Lindsay
It’s a new day, a new dawn…for another novel project!
Sure, it may be National Novel Writing Month across the good ol’ USA, and my timing really has little to do with that, but more like the simple fact that the first one is done, done, done.
No, I’m not really gloating. Sure, it’s a huge accomplishment–topping in at just over 100,000 words and 500 pages (unpaginated), but I’m reminded nearly daily of my ineptitude. Okay, maybe not daily, but hey what kind of storyteller would I be if I didn’t embellish?
The rejections are pouring in. No rhyme or reason just, “This one is not right for me…wish you the best of luck.”
But I digress. That was last week’s post.
Today, I am excited and encouraged to continue with another one.
Do we ever learn?
Real writers write. It’s a participant sport, not a spectator sport. And so I’ve rolled up my sleeves and dug in; four chapters later I’m hitting the wall. A little. No biggie. I can do a little research into historical fiction. Not that I am 100% writing historical fiction, but there are some scenes taking place in the 1890’s.
At times I find my “research” takes ahold of me, a fine meandering down an old dirt road that leaves me with more questions than answers, and so I thought it time for a little reminder about staying focused and on shaping one’s story. Here goes:
- Orientation. We meet the protagonist. What’s his normal life like? If has has what he wants, he’s about to lose it. If he doens’t have it, he’s about to pursue it.
- Crisis. Something bad or unexpected turns the protagonist’s world upside down. What is it? What is he trying to avoid or obtain?
- Escalation. The protagonist tries to solve his problem or answer his life-defining question. What does he do?
- Discovery. The protagonist reaches a moment of realization. What does he learn?
- Change. The protagonist’s life has been transformed. Hint at the lesson, change or new direction.
So, think about your story–it doesn’t have to be a full outline (I’ll be the first to run for the hills when someone even breathes the word “plot,”] and see if you *think* you have those elements. You probably do. If not, think about ’em.
Write on, Wednesday!!
[These tips from a semi-recent issue of Writer’s Digest. Sorry guys, can’t recall which one].