Welcome to this new series about writing a book, in the upcoming 12 weeks I’ll be sharing posts that will (or should) prepare you to write your own novel. I will be writing a novel during Camp NaNoWriMo this April, so I thought it would be a great idea to prepare for this. Like I said there will be 12 weeks, in each week I’ll share a post on Sunday, and there are 5 topics that I’ll cover. There will be guest posts from some very lovely bloggers and/or writers that want to share their knowledge and experience with us. So thanks a lot guys! I am super excited about this!
The topics that we’ll cover are: creating believable characters, building a plot, world-building, making an outline and writing-style. There will be 2-3 posts about each topic. Each topic will be covered both by me and by a fellow writer/blogger. I’m going to share what I am doing and how I am preparing but also some knowledge I gathered from the internet.
The rules of writing and how I got the name of this project
I would recommend watching Julian Tunru’s series The Nearly Complete Guide to Writing a Novel on youtube. I believe it is not yet complete, and there are only 4 episodes so far, but he gives really useful tips. It’s also really funny! In his first video he covers the basics of writing. What I think is most important from what he says, is that there are no rules of writing. You only need two things, something to write on and something to write with (and yeah okay also that family sized bag of skittles). If you write, you’re a writer. And if you think you’re not good at writing, everybody thinks that at some point. So get your act together and write. You can only get better by writing, reading, and rewriting.
This is also partly where the title of this new series is coming from. I watched another youtube series by Scott Sigler, and in his first video he talks about the process of becoming a writer. In this case he means, how to write your first novel and actually finish it. His theory, is that you “just” need to write one book, that is probably going to be horrible, finish it, put it away for a few months, and at the same time work on your new “good” book. When you get out that old “bad” book, you’ll see all the things you did wrong or could have been improved, which will help you to get better. So my plan is, to write a book, not with the intention to write an amazing book that is perfect, but write one simply because of the fact that I’m writing it. I won’t let anyone read it, it is just for me. And who knows, in six months when I get it out of my files, and rewrite it, I’ll actually think it is something worthwhile. I’m writing for myself, and by calling this my “bad book” it will help me to not pressurize myself into writing the perfect book. It’s okay if the characters aren’t super-realistic, or that there are plot-holes, it matters that I’m writing it.
The first step to writing is an idea. I know, ideas are hard to get, and the ones you get are usually nonsensical but sometimes there are hidden gems. I got my idea from a scribbled scene I wrote a while back. When I wanted to turn it into a short story I had so many ideas of how it should continue that I thought it would be perfect for a novel. But if you did not have such a “eureka” moment, this video by Kristen Martin gives you 7 steps to finding a novel idea. The seven steps are as follows. First you decide which genre your book needs to have. In my case this is science-fiction (and fantasy?) and maybe even a little dystopian. The second step is determining your audience; who will read your story? For me this is, Young Adult or New Adult (the main character is 19, so I guess you should say it is New Adult). Then you choose a theme. This list of 101 themes can be helpful. I’m not really sure what the main theme of my story is, but it definitely includes coming of age and desire to escape. The next step is to get your brain in action, brainstorm! What is most important is that you find what the main character’s challenge is. If you get stuck, you get to step 5, which is using resources. For example, books and idea generators, can help you to find new ideas. The sixth step is making a rough outline and the final step is to just write. We’re going to talk about outlines in future posts.
What I will be writing
A little more about my Camp NaNoWriMo plan. I’m going to try to work along with the schedule as discussed before and work on my characters in the first few weeks and then on my plot and so on. Of course I’ve already prepared a few things, including my general story and basic characters. It’s all still pretty vague but I’m sure I can work it out.
In Camp NaNoWriMo, you can have a cabin, consisting of fellow participants, with whom you can share your experiences. I believe you can also choose your own cabin-mates, so if you’re also participating and would like to keep up with my writing and help each other out, that would be fun! You can find me here. Sadly, I don’t think you can do anything yet, although I have updated a small synopsis of my idea. The novel is not yet named. It revolves around a run-away princess, a mechanic, her sister and a new friend from a different planet. This is my synopsis (for now):
“Mica runs away from her home planet when her father, the king, forces her to marry someone she doesn’t love. In her flight she leaves her sister Abrielle behind, but finds Karsen, her servant and mechanic, in her own spaceship. All Karsen wants is to go back home to his family. But Mica perseveres and flies across the universe to find herself at Earth, a planet forgotten after most humans left it hundreds of years ago.”
It’s not yet final and things will probably change between now and April, but this is the general idea. I have set my goal to 30.000 words, which is a thousand a day. This is not enough for an entire book of course, but I’ll just see how far I get and maybe, I’ll continue during July (which is the other month in which you can participate in Camp NaNoWriMo) and write another 30.000 words. This all depends on how it goes and whether I can reach those 30.000 altogether.
You’ve reached the end of this post! Was it interesting and did you get inspired? If you’re also participating in Camp NaNoWiMo this April, let me know! I would love to discuss our writing battle plans. Did you ever write a novel? If yes, was your first novel good? Or would you rather throw it in the trashcan?
Next week we’ll start with characters, and the first post will be from Hannah from The Book Thief Without Words, and it’ll be about including diversity in your novel. I’m really looking forward to it, because it is something I am struggling with at this moment.