into the country of the novel

Water Nymph, John Collier 

Finished scene. 1098 words. It’s a good scene, and I accomplish what I wanted to do in it. It conveys Ferrant’s conflict and shows him in action. It’s a good draft of a strong scene, and now I’m going to let it be until February.

Looking over the outline as it stands, and wondering what I should do next to develop and advance the story, I think I’ll not try to impose or contrive anything. I think I’ll write it from what I have and see what comes up in the writing. I’m not a deliberate plotter; I’m not a plotter at all–although a novel needs a plot. That is the bone structure of story, the skeleton upon which everything else stands, and every well written novel has a plot.

I think it is best for me to simply set my characters in motion. This first draft may not have the concrete plot points I’m aiming for because I can’t see them clearly right now, but I’m sure they are there buried in the details of the action I’ve sketched in outline, and when I get to the writing, I’ll learn what I need to know and the plot will come clear. Right now the details I’m writing are giving me a map to follow. They are directions into the country of the novel.

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3 thoughts on “into the country of the novel

  1. Have you seen Donald Maass’s “Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook”? it accompanies his Writing the Breakout Novel (which I haven’t read as yet) but the workbook has some excellent exercises in it that you might find helpful. I started using it with my novel writing class and will do the exercises myself when I get time. Everyone really enjoyed doing them and found them very helpful for character and plot development.

  2. I love the names of your characters, and the whole stonemason scene sounds terrific. The worlds you create contain an army of stories. From Ezekiel’s valley of dry bones, a promise was made. And a rattling sound was heard, the bones came together with muscles and flesh formed over the bones, and the four winds breathed into the story and brought it to life. Are you ready to believe the promise?

  3. Yes, set those characters in motion — and they just might pleasantly surprise you. Never underestimate their own ability to keep the “momentum” of the story going.

    Always a pleasure to look in on your blog!

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