Let's Write A Novel

Let’s Write A Novel

Ok, let me begin by saying (as one of my pages says), I am like you. I have a nine hour per day job and I am writing after hours. I have a self-published novel being sold at Amazon.com. I am not a millionaire, nor do I really plan to be. All I want to do is get my writing out to the world so people can enjoy the musings of my mind. I write what I want to write about and hope that someone out there really wants to listen to what I might have to say. There are days when I could write whole chapters and others where I might get a sentence in. What can I say, I’m human. What I can say is that I have been there. I have struggled with the topics involved with creative writing, only to have an epiphany a few days later. I’m not perfect, if I was, you would have probably already heard of me and I wouldn’t be saying I am not a millionaire, but that is another topic. What I am here to do is show you, future writer, is the process that I went through to learn how to do what I do.

By no means am I successful, unless you consider that my main goal was to sell ten books. I actually sold thirty-two, so in my book that’s a triple win. Whoever said writing is easy is either selling you something or a complete idiot. It is one of the hardest things to do and learn. In fact, if I were you, I would back out of this website, delete any ideas you thought you had on the subject, and move cautiously away from your word processor. It’s probably best that you delete it just to be safe. Open a video game and begin playing, forget about the idea of writing ever existed, and live a happy fulfilling life. Really. If you have thin skin, get your feelings hurt easily, or cry at the sound of a discouraging word, then you’ll need to leave. This is not for the faint of heart. Writing is incredibly hard, will drive you to the nut house, and, more often than not, result in nothing more than an incomplete manuscript sitting in your desk drawer.

Final Warning! Do Not Go Any Further Unless You Are Serious About Writing A Novel.

What? You’re still here. Good. That means either you are really curious as to what this is about (and I have done my job as a writer to pique your curiosity) or you really are a glutton for punishment, or both. Either way, welcome.

Welcome to the first day of becoming a writer. I cannot guarantee that you’ll make it in a world where there are literally millions of writers. Competition is…well, it’s not really fierce, it’s overwhelming. The community of writers is actually a rather close-knit community. Don’t believe me? Look of #AmWriting, #WritingCommunity, #Writers, #Authors or any of the multitudes of hashtags about creative writing on Twitter and you will see. Most of us are proud to help our fellow writers succeed, both traditionally and independently published. Every person has their own unique spin on their stories and we, as a community, try to raise each and every writer up to see their own potential because writing is so hard and so personal. I am proud to count myself among them.

The purpose of these posts are to help those of you who always wanted to be a writer, but had no idea where to start because that was me when I started. In order to do this correctly, though, I am going to have to go all the way back to the beginning.

Many years ago, decades, in fact, I wanted to write novels. I think I may have been about sixteen, maybe younger. I was one of those Dungeon and Dragons geeks and, usually, was the Dungeon Master for most of the games. I loved telling stories. Most of the time, I would spend hours, days even, setting up dungeons and traps filling with monsters and treasure. Sometimes, I even played them. Many of the games, my players liked, others not so much. That happens.

The problem? I grew up and joined the Air Force. After that I didn’t have time to pursue those activities. Later, I got married, had two kids, and retired from the Air Force after twenty years. Now I have another full-time job and write when I can. The point is, I was busy. I still am. You know what? About ten or eleven years in the Air Force I realized that if I am going to write my novel, I needed to get writing. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I did it anyway.

I wrote the first draft of my novel Copper Rain while I was stationed in Germany. And yes, I was super busy. I did it when I could. It actually wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I was able to set a specific time for writing. Usually, I just did it when I wasn’t traveling, in the desert, or working on something for the home. So all my lessons about writing were done pretty much the hardest way it could possibly be done. Oh, and back then, the Internet was still quite young and mostly inaccessible to me.

I say all this to let you know that yes, it can be done no matter what or who you are. Through this series, I would like to introduce you to the concepts that I learned to go from basic idea, to planning it through, to actually writing the darned thing, and what I did to get my book into Amazon.

As you can imagine, there is a lot to tell and I can only bring out the highlights in this post. Subsequent posts will not only highlight them, but explain them in great detail. I will introduce you to some of the websites that got me started (and still keep me learning) to get my first draft to something I am proud of.

A list of topics (and more) that will be discussed in future post:

  • Get ideas
  • Find an audience
  • Narrow your idea
  • Find a target reader
  • Build a log line
  • The Snowflake Method
  • The Word Processor
  • Organizing Your Workspace
  • Knowing Your Characters
  • Knowing Your Protagonist
  • Knowing Your Antagonist
  • Knowing The Motives Of Your Characters
  • What Is The Lie The Protagonist Tell Himself
  • What Is The Truth
  • Where To Start (some people start in the beginning, some at the end, and some in the middle)
  • Structure Of The Novel
  • Scene Structure
  • Writing The First Scene
  • Writing Every Scene After That
  • Writing The End
  • Editing
  • Crying And Whining That You Might Have To Start All Over
  • More Editing
  • Still More Editing
  • Frustration
  • Sending It Off To Proofreaders Or Beta Readers
  • Attempting To Send It Off To Agents
  • Rejection

This is not an all inclusive list, and not necessarily in that order (but mostly is, especially the Crying and Whining part and the editing, oh the editing. Many of the above topics might take a few posts, but much of what you see above, I will attempt to cover. That is, unless I find a rabbit hole or a squirrel to chase, then it will take longer. I can promise you this, you will see what it looks like to go from idea to a finished novel by the time I have finished with this set of posts (at least, that is the idea, anyway).

If you have any questions or concerns, want a specific topic covered, just leave a comment below or you can email me at tleemessick@yahoo.com (I know, hard to remember, right?) I’ll do my best to answer your questions (as long as they’re writing related). As always, Happy Writing!

Lee

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