Sunday, November 4, 2012

Writing My First Novel - Guest Post by Jennifer L. Fry + Giveaway

The Process of Writing My First Novel
by Jennifer L. Fry

**See giveaway info below**

I've been writing since I was a young child. As such, I have an attic full of poetry, short stories, character sketches, and plenty of unfinished work. At the age of 30, I had this epiphany moment where I decided it was time I write an entire novel from start to finish. Why had my attempts at novel writing failed in the past? Because I didn't have a complete plan.

I also realized that despite the fact that I am a prolific writer, I didn't know anything about how to structure a novel. So the first thing I did, once I made the decision to write a novel, was take an online writing course that was all about story structure. While I participated in the exercises for the class, I also began developing the plot for A Part to Play. I've always loved learning, so I found this part really exciting – I learned how to take a premise for a story and turn it into a complete idea with all the necessary structure to help it hold together.

I turned my writing lessons into an outline for my story. It was a connect the dots of sorts; I had all the dots, so the next task was to write the words to get from one point in the story to the next. I felt much more confident knowing where my story was going. I knew it wasn't going to evaporate the way so many of my novel writing attempts had in the past.

The next thing I needed was a deadline. I need to feel pressure to be motivated. So I made my goal to write the first draft of my novel in thirty days. Ambitious? Maybe. It turned out to be a lot easier than I expected. I wanted to write about 80,000 words, so I figured I had to put down about 2600 words a day to meet my goal. To some, this may sound crazy. But I had set myself up for success by: 1) Having a well organized outline, 2) Not having a full time job, therefore allowing time and bandwidth for several hours of writing a day, and 3) I made a conscious decision to turn off my inner critic. I did not self-edit, nor review what I wrote. Whatever words came out, I put them down. Period.

Writing the first draft of A Part to Play was the most exhilarating, freeing experience of my life. My end goal was not to be published. It was to accomplish writing an entire novel that told the story the way I wanted to tell. It didn't matter if it was good, it didn't matter if no one else understood it.

But then an amazing thing happened. By turning off my inhibitions, I allowed my natural talent to come through. As a result, my first draft was coherent. Even better than that, I actually liked what I had written, and so did my very first beta readers. Of course, I still faced edits and rewrites, which ended up taking about two years from that initial draft. I don't want you to think that everything from your stream of consciousness comes out perfectly the first time. But it gets you that all important first draft with a beginning, middle, and end. Then you have something to work with until it eventually becomes the final book that gets into reader's hands.  

A Part to Play 

Now available in print, e-book, or audiobook!

Comment on any of my posts today and one lucky winner will be randomly selected to receive a set of original character illustrations of Lucy, Chris & Isa from A Part to Play. These illustrations are not available for sell! 

1 comment:

Debby said...

What a great story. I like that you are still writing after all these years an now doing more with it.
debby236 at gmail dot com