This Wednesday, continues ‘How Do You Write?’ – 9 weeks visiting a different author to tell us all how they get it out of their head onto the page. We’re in Week # 6!
Grab a cuppa and read below to find out what New Adult, Paranormal author,
has to tell us about her #writingprocess…
I’m half-plotter, half-pantser. I start with a fairly detailed outline based on a three act structure that includes all the major plot points: opening, Act I crisis, midpoint, (what I consider the action “tent pole” of the novel – it’s a BIG scene that’s usually catastrophic), Act II climax, and some thoughts on Act III and the resolution/end. I brainstorm GMC (goal/motivation/conflict) for the major characters and do a brief chapter list with descriptions. I also do a bit of work building any new major settings. Finally, I spend some time thinking about theme and possible supporting motifs.
It’s a lot of prep but it helps get me started and keeps me on track during the perilous beginning – the first half, when it’s easy to veer off and get lost. Generally, following my outline for the first half of the novel means less time doing revisions later. (To me, revisions are when you rip out a section of the novel and rewrite it from scratch. It’s more work than editing, but sometimes necessary.)
Usually, I follow my outline until at least the midpoint, sometimes even the Act II climax, but THE END is always different than my original vision. I’m not sure I’d recommend my method, but it’s worked for me so far. Allowing myself to veer off-script late in the novel accomplishes several things. It helps keep some twists a surprise, gives the novel a bit of breathing room, and helps increase the momentum in the crucial last pages. I have a mad, sort of panicked mania when I’m writing the last part. All those myriad pieces – action, character growth, emotion, theme – finally coming together. Can I pull it off?!
My advice to new writers…
Read in the genre you want to write in – and outside of it. Read non-fiction. Sign up for workshops, take classes, and get involved with a writer’s group. Keep writing! Don’t be afraid to submit your work, but make sure it’s truly ready to submit (or as ready as you can make it at the time). Don’t give up or get frustrated. Learn from constructive criticism and rejection. Celebrate small accomplishments and enjoy the process as much as the product.
Here are a few books that have helped me along the way:
Screenwriting Tricks for Authors by Alexandra Sokoloff
The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler
For Love or Money by S.K. Quinn
Jill Archer is the author of the Noon Onyx series, genre-bending fantasy novels about a postgrad magic user and her off-campus adventures. The series includes DARK LIGHT OF DAY, FIERY EDGE OF STEEL, WHITE HEART OF JUSTICE, and POCKET FULL OF TINDER.
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Grab your copy of a Noon Onyx Novel, A Pocket Full of Tinder on Amazon.