We’re just about at the half-way point of this year’s NaNoWriMo and those of you taking part will probably have twenty-five thousand words or close-to written. Finishing a 50K novel in a month is a sizeable task for any writer, but especially if you not quite sure how you’re going to do it.
As I talk to other writers, I realise how different everyone’s writing processes is, that everyone has their own individual one that works for them. No two writers become writers for the same reason and, likewise, no two writers devise or write a novel in the same way. Some start at 9am and need total silence to work, others write after the kids have gone to bed and like to have the TV on in the background. Some just fly by the seat of their pants with just a broad concept as they write their chapters. Others – like myself, it has to be said – need to know everything – beginning, middle and end, who all the characters are, what happened in each chapter – before they can even consider starting the ‘actual book’.
Whichever type you are – or maybe you’re somewhere in between – devising a writing process shouldn’t increase the pressure or workload. It should do the opposite, in fact – having a process, the right one that works for us, will mean that we’ll have a much easier and more enjoyable time of it. So if you are just thinking of writing a novel, or you’ve jumped in to NaNoWriMo all-guns-blazing, this might a good time to establish your process. And there is plenty of advice out there to help us do that.
Novel-writing-help.com really does as it suggests – offers a comprehensive guide into all aspects of novel-writing, including helping us to establish our writing process. From getting started as a writer to planning and structure, from word-count to actually chapters writing, it guides us through the mine field of becoming a novelist and getting from ‘Chapter 1’ to those two magic words ’The End’.
When writing this piece, I find myself regularly coming back to Ali Hale on dailywritingtips.com . The advice she gives is always logical and insightful and, at times, inspired. Her tips on the writing process are no exception. She suggests that most of us, in fact, already have a process in our heads, even if we don’t realise it. She also puts forward her preferred approach which involves five stages – Pre-writing, Writing, Revising, Editing and Publishing.
One way of establishing a process for writing a novel is to use one of the established novel-planning techniques. One popular method, known as the Snowflake, was created by American author Randy Ingermanson and has been utilised with great effect by best-selling authors around the world. Randy believes that good fiction doesn’t just happen, it is designed.
For those of us who find we get inspiration ideas from other writers, there is no shortage of them happy to share with us their writing processes. On his blog, James Clear brings together the processes of some of the world’s greatest writing minds. Writers such as Ernest Hemingway (“I write every morning.”) and Barbara Kingsolver (“I have to write hundreds of pages before I get to page one”) each have very individual and, at times, unusual approaches. James also suggests how we might apply these successful writers’ processes to our own writing and beyond.
Elmore Leonard, one of the greatest novelists and screenwriters of our time, died earlier this year. His ten rules of writing, as published on the Irish Times the week of his death, show that he favoured clarity and precession over flights of fancy or poetic decoration.
Are You Ready?
Novel-writing-help.com offers us all the help we need for our novel-writing adventure.
“Armed with nothing but the spark of an idea and the desire to create, you get to build an entire living and breathing world using only your imagination. What’s not to love about that?”
Ali To The Rescue.
DailyWritingTip’s Ali Hale on why following a writing process will help.
“Whether you know it or not, there’s a process to writing – which many writers follow naturally.”
Feels Like Snow.
Randy Ingermanson’s approach to novel writing, the Snowflake Method.
“Writing a novel is easy. Writing a good novel is hard. That’s just life. If it were easy, we’d all be writing best-selling, prize-winning fiction.”
How Do The Others Do It?
There’s no shortage of successful and famous writers happy to share their writing processes.
“As an example of what separates successful people from the rest of the pack, take a look at some of the daily routines of famous writers from past and present.”
Go gently, Elmore.
The recently departed Elmore Leonard gives us his ten rules of good writing.
“Never open a book with weather.”