Hitch in the Schedule

Well, November is almost upon us and there is a big decision to be made before the first arrives; should I or should I not join other writers and participate in the National Novel Writing Month? It is a time where people boot up their computers, sharpen their pencils and write an entire book from November 1st to November 30th. The goal is to write 50,000 words, or a standard size novel. Any subject, any style, this is meant to help writers feel connected and supported while they write a novel.

My dilemma is that I am almost through my latest novel’s first draft but I don’t think that I will finish up before November 1st to start a brand new endeavor. So do I sit this one out and plan on next year? Or I can start later in the month and chart out my 30 days. I guess it depends on how much I can get done with my current book.

Here’s to keeping the pen strokes going and ideas gushing,



Bones to Muscle: Fleshing Out Scenes

This weekend I promised I would stop saying that I’m going to get some work done on my manuscript and do it. So with five hours invested thus far, there are 15 pages tweaked. My first pass through is to edit and find the natural scene break.

For me, a scene break is when I can tell the motivation or conflict has changed for the main character. I mark it and then ask a few questions about what happened in the scene:

1. Each scene should provide your character with:

  • ¬†A plot situation or new information the character must react to.
  • A catalyst or antagonist with whom the protagonist interacts.

2. Motivated by:

  • the¬†protagonist’s intention for the scene.
  • the protagonist’s history.

3. Each situation or interaction should make your plot and its consequences either:

  • More complicated.
  • Less complicated.

4. Through these complications your protagonist should change. They can change beliefs, behaviors, attitudes, allegiances or loyalties, appearances or motivations. So what changed for them?

5. What are the most immediate desires of the character?

6. When will your character achieve their intentions or will them meet with opposition?

7. Does the scene intentions make sense to your plot?

8. Who will help your characters achieve their goal?

(Most of the questions come from Make A Scene.)

After I answer these questions I go back and make sure that everything I wrote down in clear in the scene. I add and delete text based on my answers.

This help me to clarify and tighten up each scene so that they flow with a purpose. It takes a long time to do so but in the end since I know what the characters conflict and motivation are I get to know them better because of their reactions to life.

Before I started writing seriously, I didn’t think that I would care to go through and do the edits but now I look forward to it. I love once I’m done with my first draft it’s like a rough pencil sketch and each time I go back through it I flesh it out a little more, till the characters are living and breathing for all who read about their adventures.

Do you have a check list of questions you ask as you go back through your work? What for you is the most important part of the second draft? Do you believe you can have a scene without conflict in it?

Praying for Lightning

I cleared my schedule, read my books that were waiting for me, ran errands like a crazy woman, all so I could use today to write. So here I sit, avoiding doing any such thing. What is wrong with me?

I don’t believe in writer’s block. I know I have other options besides writing, I could edit, plot, or a million other things that isn’t writing and yet I feel no compulsion to do any of it. Tomorrow if I accomplished nothing I will feel aggravated that I wasted my creative time on, well, nothing.

To alleviate my sense of frustration, what can I do in the meantime that can be at least partially productive? Maybe I could crack open some of my writing books to help me sort through what I want to do next. Yeah, that sounds productive enough that I shouldn’t curse at myself tomorrow.

Until I can figure out how to squeeze words from the sponge of my brain, I guess it’s time to but on my thinking cap and get some work done.

My inspiration strike my brain pan,