Submitted by DaveK on Fri, 12/28/2012 - 1:32pm

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Tue, 01/01/2013 - 8:41am

Space opera? Nice! I gave myself a 1k/day deadline on the first draft of a novel last spring, and I was able to finish it in 3 months -- daily goals are the way to do it. And well done on meeting your December W1S1 goals!


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Tue, 01/01/2013 - 9:55am

I've only written one novel and it sucked. I would like to give it a try agin, perhaps a novella first; but at the moment, I'm enjoying short stories too much.

For me, I set goals eiher by end of the day, end of the week or end of the month. I reward myself too, because you need that little bit of encouragement.

Anyway, congrats on your W1S1 goals for December!



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Wed, 01/02/2013 - 12:34pm

First off, congratulations on making your W1S1 goals. It's not easy to perservere through that process, and that bodes well for your novel.

Most people seem to need to write 3 or 4 novels before they get one that really clicks. In my case, it was rewriting the same novel four times over a period of a dozen years. There's so much to manage at once in a novel: plot, worldbuilding, character relationships, tension, light and dark interludes. What I see, in general, is that we tend to spend too much time setting up the world and characters and too little time moving the story and developing tension. What finally worked best for me (my wife and me, actually) was to make certain that every single chapter moved the narrative forward, plot-wise and character-wise. It's surprisingly difficult to do this, but what it requires you to do is to create a story that is complex enough to justify a novel treatment, rather than padding out a smaller story with worldbuilding details. Worldbuilding can be fascinating to read, but narrative is what compels us.

For me, the key is to find an interesting way into the chapter, use the chapter to push the story (and characters) forward, and end on a promise for something more to come. This is not always (or even usually) a cliff hanger, but more a sense that, yes, we've resolved something here, but it's led to another problem, a new issue, a character dilemma.

As for goals, the main thing is to keep the words coming. Nanowrimo is really TOO compressed in my opinion. I did it once, and the result wasn't awful, but it was rushed. The same process over, say, three or four months seems about right, depending on how much writing time your life allows.

If you're looking for a few folks to hold each other accountable and brainstorm from time to time, I'm interested. I have a novel I'm working through at JukePop Serials and will need to stay on schedule with it. I won't have time to read and critique chapters, at least for the next six months, but I can be supportive. Drop me a line if you like at when you're ready to get going on this novel of yours.

This year, 2013, I am going to try my hand at a novel. I've done W1S1 for the last two (?) years. When did it start? I have also done NaNoWriMo a couple of times. I haven't had any luck selling a short, although I have gotten a few encouraging rejections and made it past the first round once or twice. I think I'll try my hand at a longer piece. It is going to be a space opera story, set in deep space with humans encountering aliens and of course fighting. It won't be based on a misunderstanding, I hate those premises. I will be based on survival and the need for resources.

Now my question is – how do I do this? The attempts I made for NaNo are not real good practice for a novel. Those were: cobble together an outline, start writing, drift from the outline, and finally bang out a bunch of words to hit the goal. That is a useful exercise to learn how to ignore your inner editor but it results in a lot of words that don't all fit together and need a lot more rewrite (or a restart) than I'm capable of.

So I want to make a schedule for myself and stick to it. I'm thinking of taking a couple of months to put together an outline, character sketches and build the world. Then I start writing. For the first draft I'm thinking of five months. Then a month off and two to three for rewriting. I should be ready to send out queries by November or December.

That's my plan. I haven't done this before so feel free to comment. Has anyone tried something like this? Now what I really need is a W1S1 type of lick in the pants for this schedule. I do know that there is a novel version of W1S1 but it seems too free form for me. I should head over to their novel forum and see if I can scare up a few others who would want to try to stick to a firmer schedule.