For me, the most exciting part of starting my new novel is picking out my characters names. I feel that when I finally land on their name, the characters turn around and wave at me, coming to life. I can begin picturing what they look like, how they act and what their story will be. You want to make sure that you pick one that you won’t be sick of writing by the time your novel is over…so, I suppose, it is a good way of trying out future baby names. If your spouse happens to not like your favorite baby name for your future child, well, you go ahead and give your hero/heroine that baby name!
There are things that you really don’t discover until after you start sending your manuscript out into the writing world. There were things I wished I had known before I started sending out that first really sad query letter. I could’ve avoided some very embarrassing rejection letters, but I just didn’t know.
I think it is safe to say that most writers are introverts and like to keep our stories close, but in order for writers to become authors, we need to have a good critique group. I have three critique partners and I usually break my critique sessions into three groups. One critique partner is strictly for the beta reading. Another partner helps me with the “I’m stuck in the middle” talk sessions and with the beta reading and last partner is for all three parts. I couldn’t do it without my critique partners! If I have a question about a scene or if I am worried that a chapter doesn’t sound right, my critique partners are just a phone call away! This is how I usually break up my critique sessions:
Lately, I’ve been struggling with focusing. After I’ve gotten the daily outlining done for my stories, it’s time to write. However, I find that I can hardly go an hour without needing a “break” to check up on my emails, which leads to 20 wasted minutes of internet surfing in the name of research. So, I’ve been trying other methods of taming my distraction and focusing in on my goal.
The first page of your novel is the open door to your character’s world. You don’t want a slow introduction of explaining every single detail. You want your opening event to take the reader into a story that has already begun.
Don’t allow the outline to stifle your creative process, but rather, let the outline give you the framework you need to move forward in your story. Use it as a guide and not as law because the characters sometimes want the story to go a different way than you had first imagined. Be flexible, but don’t let the characters run completely away with your story and it ends up being a train wreck.
There are lots of takes on the perfect plot structure. When I first starting writing about ten years ago, I used the simple incline plot structure; however, I found that with the simple plot structure, I was falling prey to the dreaded “sagging middle.” So, I adopted a different structure. Without really knowing the proper name, I discovered later that what I was doing was called the “Three-Act Structure” and for me, it was the doorway to organization. It allowed me to organize the plot in such a way that I could avoid the sagging middle like the plague.
You made it! After months of saving and planning, you can finally just sit back and relax, right? A writer’s conference is exciting to attend, but this isn’t just for fun. You are there to learn, network and pitch.