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Sunday, November 13, 2011

This is how I do it...

Writing the NaNoWriMo novel.

When I decided to do NaNoWriMo last year, most of my writing for the novel, “Justified” was pretty organic. I already had my premise, from weeks of sharing stories of bad bosses with co-workers (a venting exercise we engaged in during breaks and at lunchtime).

I had started writing it during the summer and then got stuck because the story was going nowhere. Once I decided to do NaNo, I decided to write it over but in a more organized way. Characters were clearly defined (especially the new hero of the piece).

Then I planned out scenes I wanted to write. It wasn’t until about halfway through November that I knew what the ending would be and it was dictated by the character himself. Everything flowed from this and it was a joy to write after that because it literally wrote itself, I felt more like a secretary to the muse, transcribing what the characters and the story called for.

The current selection for NaNoWriMo I started writing in May. It began with a genre. I just wanted to write a steampunk story. That in itself suggested a main character and a way to introduce the story.

Before summer’s end, I ran out of gas because that was all I had. A few weeks ago, I started to freestyle writing a dialog between the heroine and another character with no purpose other than have them interact.

The result was unexpected but it gave me details of the world I did not have and it helped me do character studies, if in dialog form.

Again this year, I started NaNoWriMo with an idea that I had been playing with for a while, but I threw out the original premise and started writing a new story. I started writing the story from a strange point but I figured, I could edit in December and modify and add the introduction later (in December while editing).

To my great surprise, today – instead of writing – I awoke and put together a full outline of the steampunk series. A total of nine volumes – complete with characters to introduce at each level, settings, plots, themes and a little gimmick.

Is this the right way to prepare and then write a novel? Who knows?! It is if it works. It worked with “Justified.” This is a far more ambitious project.

Inspiration is subjective and, like pornography to Justice Stewart, I know it when I see it. I’ve seen it and it is awesome!

It is exhausting but the rush is extraordinary.

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