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Pen to paper at last … well ... almost

It’s my first week working on my first novel, and I am still alive! The wonderful thing about writing a novel in today’s world is that there are so many pieces of online advice, forums, and tools to benefit from. The frightening thing is that there are so many online pieces of advice, forums and tools – it’s difficult to know where to start and what to sift.

Most of my time has been spent on the structure of the storyline. I started with Lisa Cron’s e-learning The Craft of Story. In fact, I went through the course twice – first to absorb and take on board all the learnings. And again to actually apply all the exercises to my own trilogy structure. Perhaps I am mad to start my first novel as the first book of three. Certainly this phase of the work – creating a story outline – is taking three times longer as a result. But I’m hoping this upfront effort will pay off in the long run.

I want to keep my readers hooked for a second book

Sue Weems’ article on How to Begin a Story is really useful for determining which scene I should open with. And I promise – there’ll be no dreams or waking up involved! Advice on how to connect the beginning and the end of the book is so valid … and yet I really struggled with making this happen. At one point (mid-week) I was seriously tempted to write the last chapter first. I didn’t have a meaningful ending. I wanted to leave the audience feeling that there was sufficient resolution at this juncture, but on the other hand, I wanted to keep my readers hooked (for the second book of the trilogy).

How to Structure a Killer Novel Ending by Brian Klems pointed me in the right direction with his blueprint for storytelling. As Brian points out “… it’s better to plan Part 4 ahead of time …even if you get a better idea of how to end your story along the way …”.

Finally, Jami Gold’s Basic Beat Sheet brought my story outline together on paper. You may have guessed by now that I am a bit of a structure-geek, so when I found this beat sheet I was over the moon. I know writing is meant to be all about letting your creative juices flow, but I’ve always been someone who likes to be creative within a structured environment. Everyone’s different, but this really worked for me.

... follow me on my journey as the characters come to life...

Next week the actual writing starts. In the meantime, I’m trying to get my head around Scrivener. To be honest, I am somewhat daunted by the number of blogs and video courses that claim to teach Scrivener fast and easy. It’s can’t be that difficult… can it?

On top of actually working on the novel itself, I quickly realised that I have an online platform of zero subscribers (not including my husband). So I started my social media accounts and website this week. Please forgive me for any social (media) faux pas I make along the way. I hope some of you reading my blog will follow me on my journey as the book evolves and the characters come to life.

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