Creative Writing For Dummies

Creative Writing For Dummies-19
Tell yourself, “Today I’m going to write 1200 words about where my character lives,” or “Today I’m going to write 500 words about what’s troubling the narrator,” or “Today I’m going to write the last paragraph of the novel.” That last one is kind of weird, right? I wrote much of The Year of Fog in fragments, which I later pieced together.But the point is, you don’t have to write in a linear fashion. Of course, a scene needs to hold together as a scene, with a beginning, middle and end, but working in fragments can help you banish the fear of the blank page.Not for the completion of the novel, but for the first fifty pages.

Tell yourself, “Today I’m going to write 1200 words about where my character lives,” or “Today I’m going to write 500 words about what’s troubling the narrator,” or “Today I’m going to write the last paragraph of the novel.” That last one is kind of weird, right? I wrote much of The Year of Fog in fragments, which I later pieced together.But the point is, you don’t have to write in a linear fashion. Of course, a scene needs to hold together as a scene, with a beginning, middle and end, but working in fragments can help you banish the fear of the blank page.Not for the completion of the novel, but for the first fifty pages.

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If you have a scene in your head that you know you want to write, go for it.

But if you sit down at your computer and feel flustered and uncertain, allow yourself the freedom to think in small bits.

There has to be someone at the center of the action.

Generally, this will be someone your reader ends up rooting for, no matter how flawed the character may be.

The bad thing about an outline is that it limits your novel’s possibilities and may cause you to get hopelessly stuck. Ian Mc Ewan’s chilling novella, , derives much of its tension from the setting of Venice — the convoluted streets and hidden alleys are essential to the feeling of disorientation that leads to the protagonist’s undoing.

For the first fifty pages, at least, write your novel without an outline. When I began writing The Year of Fog, I knew that this book could happen only one place: San Francisco.

No matter where you start, remember: your novel must begin with trouble. The stakes must be clear if you want the reader to care.

While you don’t necessarily have to include conflict in the first page of a novel, it doesn’t hurt. Often, there will be more than one thing at stake, more than one big risk.

After writing four novels with female protagonists, I chose to write The Marriage Pact from the point of view of Jake, a marriage therapist who can’t seem to get a handle on his own marriage.

Writing from the male perspective was a terrific challenge that took me places in the story I might not have gone otherwise.

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