You’ve decided you want to write a novel.
You have a huge imagination and stories in your mind that are waiting to be told. You’ve told your friends and family you’re going to do this. They aren’t surprised because you’re the creative sort. You have a great idea and the characters are well-defined in your mind. You’ve thought about the subplots and the ending and know how your characters are going to grow and change. You sit your butt in the chair and for a few days you write like a maniac.
Then something happens. Things change. You get sick. Your car dies. You have to work more hours. Life happens and you think, I don’t have time to write.
Or, you sit at the keyboard and the words don’t come. You get stuck and think, why did I tell anyone and everyone I was writing a novel? I can’t write. There are too many things getting in the way, and besides, my writing sucks.
Does this sound familiar?
Author Natalie Golberg says:
“The aim is to burn through to first thoughts, to the place where energy is unobstructed by social politeness or the internal censor, to the place where you are writing what your mind actually sees and feels, not what it thinks it should see or feel.”
Obviously, this is something many people want to learn how to do. I decided to make a Power Point presentation and teach How to Write a Novel in 30 Days at our local library. Jim gave me permission to use his notes, and I added some of my own too. (Thank you, Jim.) The presentation was a success and taught a few writers how to write their first drafts FAST. I call these FAST DRAFTS because that’s what they are. They are the first draft of your novel and the goal is to write them FAST. (Susie May Warren at My Book Therapy calls them FAST DRAFTS too.)
A fast draft is the first draft of your novel. It’s not one you want to share with anyone, but it gives you bragging rights that you’ve written the words, and it gives you the bare bones of a novel to work with. Yes, there will be many edits after, but for the sake of flushing out the novel–the first draft is done ONLY if you can plow through it until the end.
How do you do this?
One word at a time.
But what if the words don’t come?
There are certain problems many writers encounter that make them FREEZE and they never finish writing their first drafts. The only reason writers fail is because they quit writing. Don’t let this happen to you.
Below is my first tip that will help UNSTICK you. Please look for more tips coming soon. To find the other tips in this series click on each one: Tip #2 Setting Goals HERE, Tip #3 Which Scene Should You Write HERE, and Tip #4 Distractions HERE,
Create your inciting incident. Something has to happen TO your main character that sets him/her on a journey. Her normal status quo will be disrupted by something or someone. In The Hunger Games, the movie starts with Katniss in her ordinary world, but when she volunteers to go to the Games in her sister’s place, everything changes. That’s her inciting incident. Find yours.
Inciting Incident Wikipedia definition: The inciting incident is the point of the plot that begins the conflict. It is the event that catalyzes the protagonist to go into motion and to take action. Rising action involves the buildup of events until the climax.
To move your story forward you must have something happen to the protagonist that sets him or her on their story goal journey to find an equilibrium in their new “life.”