Want To Write A Novel With Me?

16 Jul

I started the 90 Day Challenge thinking that I could write a novel without any planning.  I can’t.  I need a story line and some kind of direction or it feels like all I’m doing is counting words.

I had signed up for the newsletter at Cheryl’s Learn to Write Fiction site and have received lots of information.  I’ve attended many workshops and read numerous books so I have a pretty good idea what I need to do, so here is my suggestion – if you have struggled like me to complete something, only to have half a dozen projects half finished, I am inviting you to join me in this quest.

I will blog once a week, at least, telling you what I am doing in the coming week and setting my weekly goal.  I am punting here so bear with me and hopefully I can make each post interesting enough for you to continue with me.

I am starting from the very beginning with the idea.  Each week, at the end of the week or as I complete a chapter, I will blog again to tell you what I accomplished and what my next week’s goal is.

Since I haven’t been real successful in the past, I am open to your suggestions. Or if I run into a snag, I may ask for your advice.  In the same vein, if you have something that is holding you up, send it to me and I will either offer advice or find out the answer for you.

Of course, I’m hoping this project will help me complete a novel but I would also like it to help you complete your project too.  Feel free to comment, offer advice, ask a question.

Okay for this week’s goal, I am working on my story idea.  I am wanting to write a mystery, hopefully a series so have decided to use Hallie Ephron’s book Writing and Selling Your Mystery Novel. I will be creating my own templates as I go and work through the suggestions chapter by chapter.  You are welcome to use whatever source you have to help with each step of the way.  There are a vast number of how-to books out there. Find one that suits you.  You can also search the web for information too.  Or like I said, comment with your questions and I will try to help. 

Since I want to get to the actual writing as soon as I can, I will work on each section each day until I geth through to a finished first draft. I will post at least once a week and maybe more frequently as I complete the steps.

So for now, I will be starting at the beginning – The Premise.

Once I’ve developed the premise, I will make a new post.

Wishing everyone out there who wants to complete a novel and hasn’t success.


P.S. I will be posting author interviews amongst this series of posts. I will be re-posting some interviews that started out on another blog site, so will play catch up for the next few weeks.  For August, I have a new interview with Kylie Brant.

Happy Writing!


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7 responses to “Want To Write A Novel With Me?

  1. virginiagruver

    August 10, 2009 at 8:32 pm

    @Dirtywhitecandy, thanks for stopping by. I am working on my next post. Hopefully I will be submitting it soon. I have been working on innocent suspects and have decided that maybe I was a little hasty about choosing who my villain was. Once I have the innocent suspects developed as long as the storyline, I will be posting that step. I understand the issue with the title. I haven’t even gotten there yet. Keep me posted as to your progress.



    • dirtywhitecandy

      August 10, 2009 at 10:31 pm

      My title progress is getting faintly hysterical. So far I have been keeping a brainstorming page on which I write any resonant sounding titles I can think of. Many of them look sweetly pretentious on rereading, although when I thought of them in the depths of the night or on a car journey they sounded terribly strong and vivid. At the moment there are three columns, each in smaller and smaller writing. But at some point I know my brain will blurt out the right thing.

      Anyway, enough about mine – it’s interesting that you are having second thoughts about your vilain. Is that because you have understood your characters a little more? Perhaps someone you were not going to flesh out very much has proved to have hidden depths? Or you took someone at face value and then reassessed them? I love this phase.

      BTW, apologies if you found my previous comment also on the Learntowrite site – I originally posted it there, thought my computer had bounced me out, and so came in search of your blog proper to at least be able to contribute to the discussion. Then I checked on Learntowrite again and found my comment had in fact got through. So apologies, I’m not normally so repetitive. Still, it’s nice to have been led here and I’ll be keeping an eye out for your developments.


  2. dirtywhitecandy

    August 10, 2009 at 11:21 am

    Virginia, I just read your post on learntowrite fiction and followed you from there. Great idea for a story – and to share your preparation methods. I particularly warmed to the comment you made about changing names until they feel right. I change characters’ names several times in the planning process until I get one that feels right. It seems small, but it makes a huge difference to how you relate to a character. In fact, I’m planning a novel at the moment and the thing I’m stuck on is its title – I feel I can’t really go ahead properly until I know what it will be called!


  3. Melissa Sugar Gold

    July 29, 2009 at 9:20 am

    Virginia, I am so excited about your blog and your challenge to complete a novel with you. This just might be the kick in the butt I needed. I am a little late in joining, but I intend to follow you and work on my own manuscript.

    The end of your first paragraph ‘hooked’ me, so you must have what it takes to interest your readers. I often find myself in exactly that position( stuggling to complete a project only to find myself with half a dozen-half finished projects).I wish you the best.

    I just read part 5, I believe it was part five. It is about creating well rounded charachters. I already left my comment so I will add to it here. I am going to list the names of my favorite help and “how to” books.

    1, My absolute favorite and the one out of literally over 100, that I read over and over and that is ALWAYS my ‘go-to’ book for help on characters.

    Breathing Life into your characters: How to give your characters emotional and psychological depth BY: Rachel Ballon, phd

    This is a writers digest book so you can go to the website for help
    * Be forewarned, however for this book to work for you (and it will if you do the exercises) be prepared to dig deep inside your own soul and conscious. You will explore your own emotional memories and learn to inject your own feelings onto the characters on your page. It is awesome; I cannot praise this must have book enough.

    The next are not in any particular order:
    How to write a damn good novel
    Writer’s guide to Character traits
    What would your charachter do
    Write great Fiction : Description and setting
    I also love this series for other areas like plot development, dialogue and others.
    From First Draft to Finished Novel

    I have a few more that really stick out from the masses, but I am in the process of moving into a new home and half of my books are at the new house. In addition my second biggest challenge in life: learning to become and stay organized.

    One last comment and please do not take it the wrong way. In your third paragraph you mention words to the affect of this being a novel idea for you so you are welcome to suggestions. You actually use the words “I am punting here”. In addition to being a mommy, lawyer and a wanna be writer; my husband and I are avid L.S.U Tiger fans and we watch Ncaa football every saturday in the fall (when we do not attentd games) I am a big pro football fan and watch the NFL every Sunday during football season. I think you should use a different word because “Punting” is so often used to infer ‘giving up’ or ‘cutting your losses’ so to speak. In football the team on offense punts the ball on 4th down. They have other choices. They can choose to go for it on 4th down and try to get a first down or if they are close enough they may attempt a field goal. When they punt as opposed to going for it(with exeptions, of course) it usually means they do not want to take the risk. Clearly that it not what you are doing here. You are taking a risk and I admre you. You are working on completing a goal; you my friend are going for it on 4th down. You are headed for fist and goal, you are doing many things, but punting is not one of them. Good Luck and I welcome your challlenge to join you in your quest. Count me in.


  4. Isobael

    July 16, 2009 at 5:25 pm

    Here’s to cheering you on. =)

    I’m in the process of writing my first novel and I’ve outlined (I use the term very loosely) the plot, although as I go, I notice it changes. Often. Very often.

    There have been days I’ve wanted to scrap the whole thing, days I’ve been so stuck, I’m nearly in tears.

    I’ll definitely bookmark your blog and check often. =)


    • virginiagruver

      July 16, 2009 at 5:56 pm

      Thanks Isobael. Look forward to completing a novel with you.



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