New Month, New Novel

Today is the last day of September (at least in my time zone) which means it is also the last day I’ll spend on God-Chosen. I would add “indefinitely,” but that makes it sound like I don’t intend to return to it at all, which is not true.

October is planning month for me. I shall spend the entire 31 days going through the Snowflake Method for my next novel, which is yet unnamed.

November, I write it. If I can write the entire novel in November, fantastic! If not, I’ll do my best to finish in December. I will write at least 50,000 words in November (NaNoWriMo), though I think the plot will finish closer to 60,000.

After that, I don’t know. We’ll have to see what 2011 holds for me in terms of writing.

To end the month on a high note, I’ll share what I’ve learned about myself, my writing style, and writing in general:

  • Conflict is vital, even in dialogue. Dialogue without conflict is boring. Figure out what each character wants to bring to the dialogue and how their goals conflict. Express that in your dialogue.
  • Concise is good. Purple prose is bad. While adjectives are great for descriptions, especially of places or objects, there comes a point when it is too much. Make your point, and make it well.
  • Query letters are hard. I already knew this, but I realized just how hard they really are. You cannot waste a single word in a query letter. If it doesn’t impact the plot, don’t mention it.
  • Subplots add to the plot. The subplots should add tension and depth without taking from the main plot. Subplots should ultimately tie into the main plot.
  • Character-based is best. Character-based novels draw in the reader and encourage strong emotion. The character drives the plot. His decisions are what make things happen.
  • Less is more. Why have two characters when one works just as well? The story will flow better, the characters will be more memorable, and the reader won’t drown in name soup.
  • Subject, verb, clause. This is the best structure for any sentence. It is simple, to the point, and clear. Starting with a clause can make the sentence feel weak.
  • Voice is everything. Finding your voice takes time and practice. The only way to find it, is to keep writing.
  • Never give up. Ever. Keep at it, no matter what.

That’s it for now. I also learned about MRUs, Scenes and Sequels, and a few different ways to structure one’s story, but those are all rather involved topics. I’ll leave you to your own research for those.

I’m going to write up my goals for October, and I challenge you to do the same. What do you want to accomplish? A specific word count goal? Or maybe a specific weakness in your writing you want to improve? Or a strength you want to make stronger?

I’d be curious to see where your goals take you.

Ishana Mayakashi
Stay Happy, Remain Beautiful


About Squishy

Writer, dancer, gamer, and admirer of all that is beautiful.

Posted on September 30, 2010, in Ishy Writes! and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Thanks for all the great advice on your blog! I’m going to start trying to write something a bit larger soon, and I hope your advice will help me a lot.

    I’m also thinking about joining NaNoWriMo. Hopefully I will find some time in October to start a little bit of planning.

    • NaNoWriMo is tons of fun! Whether you join or not, I hope my advice helps you. I try to write everything that has helped me, but I tend to be forgetful. Stay tune for Pros and Cons of NaNoWriMo, in which I will hopefully succeed at being mostly unbiased.

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