Posted on 09/27/2014 at 12:00 AM by Jeffrey Bruner



 
 
Lisa: "Where does a man get inspiration to write a song like that?"
Jeff: "He gets from the landlady once a month."
— Rear Window (1954)
Unlike the composer in Alfred Hitchcock's masterpiece, I'm sure you never need such inspiration to begin a new novel, right? I bet your daily schedule is a master class in efficiency, with each writing project meticulously mapped out from start to finish.

(Crickets.)

I suspected as much. Actually, I know all about this firsthand because that was my method of writing my novels, before I temporarily put new projects on hold in order to
launch The Fussy Librarian.

A novel can be written in 30 days. Really. Nearly 700,000 people participated in National Novel Writing Month last November. The ones who actually finished, however, were the ones who started their planning now.

I'm not talking about devoting three hours every night to planning. Even 20 to 30 minutes a night now can create the framework you'll need to be successful in November. Here's three things to work on now:
  • PLOTTING. Use whatever method makes you happy to create your main storyline, including the spot that pushes the reader from chapter 1 into chapter 2. Think the story through to the end -- it's better to identify the roadblocks early so you don't write yourself into a corner in November. Once you get through your main plot, start developing your subplots and determine where they will appear in your storyline.
  • LOCATIONS. If your locations are real places, Google Street View is an amazing tool you should use. Once you know the essence of these places, it will come to you naturally how your characters will act and react in these settings. The more research you do now, the easier it will be later. Consider taking screenshots of building interiors and saving them in folders on your desktop ... or create private Pinterest boards and start pinning!
  • CHARACTERS. Fleshing them out in advance strengthens your plot later. It's like the compounding interest of creative writing. If you want to interview your characters, there are lots of list of questions out there you can ask them. Example 1, Example 2, Example 3, Example 4.

 

Comments
<p>What if you&#39;re a &quot;pantser&quot; someone who hasn&#39;t outlined before but sits down and types as the story comes through them - can they still succeed in November?</p>
Suzanne Brazil | 05/24/2018 at 02:32 AM
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