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So Day 1 went better than expected. I worked all day in my day job, then went to see a comedian in the evening. I got home at 11pm and was determined that I would at least make a start on my novel. But how do I begin? What will be my first line? So I switched on my laptop ( I figured that with pen and paper it would have to be typed up eventually anyway) and started. I was tired but just needed to get something…anything written down. And it flowed quite easy. Yeah sure… there will need to be a lot of editing done (I use the word ‘she’ far too often) but at least the story is developing and moving forward.

At first I didn’t quite like the idea of not editing as you go along, but it’s quite liberating. I know my sentences need tweaking and even re-written for some, but I have words…written down… with a story forming.

I only wrote 703 words on Day 1 but was pleased with the outcome. I have a general 15-20 point plot for the whole novel, so each new sentence is exciting to me. I feel like I am reading it for the first time as I write… I have no idea what will happen next… it’s fab!

Anyway I’m in the middle of writing for Day 2… so back to it….

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So I only have a few weeks to go before it officially starts! eeeek! I haven’t had time to develop my characters as much as I would have hoped. I work full time and run my own part time business…throw in housework and eating/sleeping etc and I’m running on minus hours as it is. I have promised myself though that I will spend 30-60 minutes a day on this during November… even if it’s just before bed. Some is better than none right? Maybe I get so engrossed in it that I make more time for it…Have you ever noticed that you can actually make time for things if you really want to? Like I’ll do the housework faster, or get up earlier, or just not do all the procrastinating jobs I feel that need doing.

So basically I’m not totally prepared as I had planned to be… but maybe that’s not a bad thing. Maybe by not planning too much my creative juices could flow better? Now I’m just trying to justify and make myself feel better about not having prepared as much.

Anyway. Back to my day job…

So which is the best way to write your story/novel? Good old fashioned paper and pen or typed straight onto the laptop? Everyone will have a favourite but there are pros and cons to both. 

I started scribbling plot ideas on paper originally, as my laptop wasn’t handy. But then I typed it up and threw the paper away as I planned to continue on the laptop. I’m a fairly speedy typer so it wouldn’t necessarily slow me down. I can save, edit, move paragraphs around and change fonts and size etc…which is all great but I do find that as I don’t carry my laptop around with me everywhere, I can’t just pick up where I left off.  For example at the moment I’m working out my characters traits so they’re consistent throughout, however with the info on the laptop at home and me at work it makes it difficult. Yeah sure I could write them down and type them up when I get home but I may just want to tweak a word or idea rather than add new ideas. 

Maybe I should use both, carry around a notebook for random ideas but then with some work saved on the laptop it’s not all in one place. At the start of this post I wanted to end up by saying I’m using the laptop mainly, with a bit of paper use, but now I think I’ve talked myself out of the laptop. 

Hmmm…. Yes I’ll give my notebook a go for awhile and see how it goes.

Character development… what exactly is it? I’ve never really tried to pin it down, but I do know, that I enjoy a book more if the characters develop as the story progresses. What I mean, is that they grow as a person, learn about themselves, their strengths and desires. It doesn’t have to be essential to the plot either. So for example, a character who ends up on a spaceship having to figure out how to save the world from the evil aliens, can develop by going from ‘the person in gym class who was always picked last’ to ‘the person everyone looks towards for guidance and eventually becomes the leader of the group’. That is to say, that the character finds strength to believe in what they think the best options are and speaks up, as opposed to just accepting that because they had no friends, they were picked last in gym class, even though they were better in goal than bully billy. The character developed as a person. I think it makes it more believable and pulls the reader in. Having a strong leader type person who was strong and confident from the beginning wouldn’t have as much impact…. unless they developed in other ways… perhaps tried to be less condescending, became someone who would except help etc.

So I know how I want my main character to develop throughout, but as it’s not tied into particular sections of the plot, it’s hard to work out when and where it’ll happen. It’s a gradual development so I think I’ll make a list of how she develops from start to finish and perhaps tick them off as it appears in the novel.

Or maybe I’m thinking too much about it and should just hope she develops naturally…

Well I’ve made a start on the basic plot. It starts with:

  1. Main character normal day. Day off. Therapeutic shopping.
  2. Weird things happening in town. HIDDEN FROM BLOG. More fights than usual. Police everywhere. Millitary spotted.
  3. HIDDEN FROM BLOG
  4. Tv news explaining HIDDEN FROM BLOG crowds watching news in tv shop window
  5. Can’t get home. Road blocks. Chaos. HIDDEN FROM BLOG. Fights. Fires. Looting. Screams. HIDDEN FROM BLOG
  6. HIDDEN FROM BLOG

I’ve hidden bits from the blog as I obviously don’t want to tell the story here but you get the gist. I’ve got to point 23 so far. I know that the above is probably the basic beginning to an apocalypse story, but I want to set the scene of HIDDEN FROM BLOG quite quickly so this will probably all be in first chapter.

When I have finished plotting the whole novel like this, I’m going back to flesh it out some more so each point could be padded out to… say 10 points.

I have decided that I do want to decide on the character’s personalities etc before writing… so their character is consistent all of the way through.

Anyway… just a short post, as I need to get plotting some more…

With not having a clue where to start, I trawled the internet for basic novel writing tips. It seems that there are 2 main ways to begin. 1. Just sit down and begin writing. See where it takes you. 2. Make a plan. Plan the theme, plot, characters, ending etc.

I like the idea of option 1 but I tend to babble and go off topic. There is a very strong possibility that my novel could become long and boring with this option. On the other hand, by not planning, and going off topic could lead to something new and exciting with twists and turns. However, I’m going with option 2. Planning. Mainly because with a book about an apocalypse, I really do need a reason for the end of the world and an excellent ending to the book. Without planning, I would probably just drone on about people trying to survive whatever is bringing the world to an end.

I’ve also been reading through the forums on NaNoWriMo and it appears as if it’s pretty much 50/50 on what people do… some people wing it… some people plan everything in minute detail, to the point that they know their characters names, what they wear, every chapter, twist, climax and exactly how they want it to end. I think I’m going to be in the middle of the two. I’ll plan the basic plot and main characters but if new characters and twists appear as I write it, then so be it. The fact that I’ll be attempting to write 50,000 words in 30 days is stressful enough without being too cautious about not missing out any details of a really thoroughly planned plot.

So which way do you begin?

So this is my blog about my quest to write a novel. We all have some desire to write and be published, become a top best seller and make millions from a movie deal. For me, it’s about achieving something on my own, through my own hard work, and if I do make millions in the process (a girl can dream) then all the better.

First a bit about me. I have an 9-5 office job. It pays the bills and is ok as far as having a non-‘dream-job’. I did ok at school and went on to college and university, but always steered towards the practical subjects rather than the more academic ones. I’ve always loved reading and am good at spelling and punctuation, but have always been let down by my grammar.

So what got me started on this idea? I tend to read a lot on my kindle and happened to come across the self-publish section on Amazon. Instantly, I felt like I could write something. In the past, there has never been a reason to…it would be a waste of time… no one would publish it… no one would read it etc. But this made it simple. By self-publishing an eBook novel, it would cost nothing and I would only make a percentage of what sold. Seems simple right? Well it is… once you have written your book that is.

So I’m giving it a go. And I thought I’d share my experiences with you along the way.

They always say to write about what you know or are interested in. I love apocalypse and sci-fi movies and books so it seemed as good a place as any to start with. I’m going with the apocalypse theme first…. maybe sci-fi for book 2 if I stick at this.

I’ve entered into NaNoWriMo. The perfect way to kick start this adventure. National Novel Writing Month. Every November, people from all over the world log in and chat and share ideas, word counts, motivation and support. The idea is to produce 50,000 words in November. It doesn’t have to be precise or a best seller, it’s a first draft and a way to get those first 50,000 words down on paper… to get it started.

So that’s it for now. Please feel free to follow and comment on my blog.