The New Year started very well for me when I found out that I had been accepted on to the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s New Writers’ Scheme. This means that I have until the end of August to submit my manuscript for assessment, which will follow by the end of the year. So I have plenty of time to get my first draft ready, right? Well, not if writing the synopsis is anything to go by 🙁
I have written before about whether there is such a thing as too much advice. You can read that blog post here.
There is no doubt that the internet is a wonderful research tool but sometimes, it is really difficult to see the wood for the trees. As you know, I finished reading my first draft aloud at the end of last year. Since then, I have been inputting those edits to my manuscript and now that I have finished, I have turned my attention to trying to write a synopsis in an effort to see where my plot-holes are. You may remember that I wrote my first draft as a ‘pantser’, which is why I now have plot-holes!
I have got into the habit of bookmarking all the useful articles I read about writing so I can come back to them later and today, I decided that it was time for me to pick out all the articles I had found about how to write a good synopsis. There were at least a dozen articles in total when I started re-reading them, although I am sure there are many more out there. There may even be a whole wood 😉 I have read them all and distilled them down to the ones which I found to be the most helpful for me (the trees). I really would encourage you to read these three articles at least.
Don’t Shrink from Synopses!
So now all I have to do is go and write it! I am starting with my scenes and trying to précis these down first. This was already a great shock to me because I have 157 scenes in total, whereas the received wisdom is that 60 – 80 is normal for a novel :o) And so the learning continues…
Tune in next week to see how I got on 🙂 I hope you find these articles helpful but if you have a tried and tested method for writing a synopsis, please do let me know in the comments below. Thanks for reading.
I haven’t had so much time for editing this past week, what with it being the end of a busy term AND nearly Christmas, but I have been plodding on with it bit by bit and reading as much as I can around the subject. Then the other day, I came across an article about point of view in novel writing. Its main point was that new writers often make the mistake of writing in the first person and this reveals their lack of experience. Cue much soul-searching as, of course, you have probably guessed that I have written my debut novel in the first person. All the self-doubt came pouring in as I read through to the end of the article, which assured me that only truly experienced, brilliant writers can pull off writing in the first person. On top of this, a new critique partner I found this week told me that they had only read one novel written in the first person and so felt a bit unsure about commenting on mine because of this aspect. So, I decided to do some more research and came across this article, which was a bit more reassuring but still gives me cause for concern.
My concern stems from the fact that I have encountered some of these very problems, for example, the stream of consciousness and the limiting single perspective. It wasn’t ever a conscious decision for me to write in this point of view but now I can see that I might have made my writing life much harder by doing so. However, many books have been written this way, as the article suggests, which is why my new cp’s comment surprised me. I would have thought they would have read many more books written from this perspective than just the one they’re thinking of.
I am left wondering therefore, whether I ought to rewrite the whole thing now and if this would improve the novel immeasurably because it would give me much more freedom as a writer to be writing in the third person. I would be interested to hear other people’s thoughts on this matter and look forward to hearing from you. In the meantime, I will let my brain process it and consider how to deal with this latest turn in my learning curve.
Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and thank you, as always, for reading 🙂
This week brought with it the start of NaNoWriMo 2013 on November 1st, of course. Having taken part in Camp NaNoWriMo in July this year and committed to writing 10,000 words for my first novel, I really wanted to do the real thing this November. Twitter went mad in the run-up to last Friday and little by little, I started to feel a bit daunted by the prospect of writing 50,000 words in 30 days. What had I been thinking?
Well, I got off to a good start. Firstly, I prepared a pretty good outline for my second novel, using all the fantastic advice about how to do it via Twitter. Then, on Friday, I concentrated on writing 1,667 words (the minimum daily word count needed to meet the 50,000 total by the end of November). I couldn’t believe it though when one of my NaNo buddies tweeted that she’d already written 5,000 words on the first day! I felt so inadequate and I told her so. She’s an experienced NaNo participant though and she knew she couldn’t write at all the next day so she had planned in advance to write twice as much on the first day. Lesson number 1 for me. However, I was in the same boat because I didn’t think I’d be able to write on Saturday either but I didn’t have time to write twice as much on Friday.
So, I am now one day behind and earlier today, I was feeling stressed and a bit miserable to be honest. Then, along came another NaNo buddy who couldn’t believe it when I said I was trying to edit my first novel at the same time as doing NaNo. She convinced me to let this one slide a little and to concentrate on getting the words down for NaNo this month instead and I realised I could give myself permission for this. I don’t have a deadline. The only person putting me under pressure is myself and I am working part-time as well as dealing with all the other stresses and strains of ‘normal’ family life.
So, lesson number 2 is to do what I can and to try and enjoy it. If it makes me feel miserable, it won’t be worth doing and I do so want to do it 🙂 My word count to date is 5,071 words which I’m pleased with and I will be back next Monday to let you know what progress I have made since then.
If you’re doing NaNo this year for the first time or the umpteenth, why not get in touch and share your ‘nightmare’ first week? I’d love to hear from you.