Saturday, December 24, 2016

Stuck in the Middle? Getting Past the Middle: A Novel Project, Step 1

Stuck in the middle of your novel? Start again here.
When the path through your novel becomes obscured... (Image courtesy of Dianne Lacourciere on Flickr.)
Remind yourself of your novel's story question. Don’t go looking up your notes from the past to see what you wrote way back when you first started this project. Write what you see the moral question as

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Getting Past the Middle: An Invitation to a Novel Project

I can start novels all day. I’m full of ideas, full of intriguing starts, lines, scenes, dialogue. I started writing my first book when I was 12. I also started writing my second book when I was 12. The problem has always been getting through the second half to the end.
Words. (sigh.) Image: Jim Pennucci on flickr
I did finish one novel. It didn’t make much sense, in terms of traditional storytelling, but I was young (like 30), full of myself, and not really sure how to revise this tangle of words and scenes and

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Writing about writing is like writing about air...

...or rather, it's like air itself. You know, like we barely notice air—other than in certain circumstances: when the fragrance of orange blossoms fills the air in spring, or when it's misty outside and light reflects off the fine droplets floating in the atmosphere, or when there is a sudden drop in temperature, or a million other things that might draw our attention to the air around us for a moment. Most of the time we hardly notice we're breathing it, and just like that, we shouldn't notice writing much, except for a few moments of beauty or strangeness or extremity.
So when I spend so much time writing about what is, essentially, air, I get a little fatigued. It's like walking around noting every inhale and every exhale and every shift in the breeze and the smell of the kitty litter. Yes, it's valuable to be aware, but I have other things to concern myself with. I mean, I have to change the kitty litter. I have things on my mind.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Ratio of Scene to Narration

I recently had someone tell me this: "The balance between scene and narration is supposed to be 75% to 25%, actually."

As if novels can be written by numbers.

Notions such as this annoy me.
Being reductive is annoying. Image by Doug McGr.
I understand the need to try to figure out writing a novel when new to