Tuesday, February 7, 2012

You asked, I answered. This is how I write...

Dozens of people have asked me over the past year how to write a book. Normally, I say...just write. That doesn't always go over well, but I don't always know how to tell someone who's never written a short story how to write a novel. While trying to go to sleep last night, an analogy I heard once on one of the writing boards I stalk started playing through my head. I just added a little to it....

When starting a book, you have to think of Adam and Eve.

Want a bite?

 Yep, that's what I said-Adam and Eve. Everything has to start with the bones. Not everyone does this part the same, but all stories end up the same way - the skeletal form of a novel. Some choose to outline. Some choose to wing it. I'm a little of both. Sometimes I have a fabulous idea, but have to sit down and type out a few things to see if I can make it work. Other times, I outline nothing more than the character or world building. When I write a story I want to know where the characters went to school, their favorite colors, their fave food and drink, why they act the way they do, even if they've ever had an ingrown toe nail. Now, of course a majority of this never makes it into the book, but it helps me get to know the characters better.

Other times, I know what I want to happen, but I'm not sure which order, so I outline the approximate events. A lot of times this will tell me if I even want to include certain events, or eliminate them completely.

The next part is adding the meat. Obviously, we can't walk around as nothing but skeletons. It would cause mass panic, and people would try to hunt us thinking we were zombies.

Gr. I'm a zombie..

This is where after planning what I want to happen, or maybe even after doing the mad dash to get the story out of my head, I'll go back and add details. Maybe I need to add more description of the room which will play a huge part in a scene. Maybe I need to add more description to a fight scene to make it more intense. Or maybe I need to do a little more research about a certain species of creature, or illness someone is inflicted with. The story is now resembling a real novel.

Now, at times, we women (and some men) want perfection. Therefore, we have to go through the book and remove the moles, warts, blemishes, and all imperfections. Beauty marks may look good on a woman, but they don't in a novel. Well, at least not a lot of beauty marks. You don't want to send a novel into the universe covered in zits!
I'm sexy and I know it...

What I mean by imperfections is all those repeat words, the excessive 'that's, and all of those annoying adverbs! Kill them! Kill them all!!!! Okay, not all. But adverbs should be like any seasoning...used in moderation.

There. Hopefully this short description helped someone. How do you write? Do you have some advice for those who are finally sitting down to write the book they've always dreamed of?