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Thursday, March 12, 2009

the 14 week novel - week one: ideas

I’ve been trying for a while to write a new YA novel. It started last summer, got pushed to November for NaNoWriMo, and it’s still not written. I have several novel starts, but I don’t have a finished novel yet (probably because I’m trying to write multiple novels at once). It’s time to do something about that.

I will finish a novel in 14 weeks, even if it makes me crazy. Anyone want to join me?

Here's the plan: each week, I’m going to give myself an assignment, which I will also post on my blog, along with quotes and/or links to helpful articles. The first two weeks (starting today) will be the planning stages, and then I’ll be trying to write about 5000 words a week until I get to the end. If I have left over weeks at the end, they will be focused on polishing and planning for revision.

Here is the assignment for week #1:
Come up with an idea for a novel or an interesting character. How?

* Play “what if” with your idea or character: What if this happened? What happens next? What would be the best place to start the novel? What does my character want, need, fear? What happens if they get what they want? What happens if they don’t?

* Keep going until you don’t have any more questions, or set a timer and brainstorm for a set amount of time, like an hour.

* If you are like me and have multiple novel ideas you want to write, pick one. Or pick a main novel and don’t work on the other one(s) until you are done with your assignment for the main novel each week.

Quotes for this week (most from LA SCBWI 2005):
"There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are." – Somerset Maugham

“The difference between a good movie and a B movie is that the characters in good movies are believable. The ones in B movies are more likely to go to their attic in their nightgown in the middle of the night to investigate a noise, which nobody would really do.” - Kathleen Duey

“Give yourself time for your subconscious to work...Make lists of every solution to the problem that you can think of. Even if you don’t come up with a solution on your list, it’s a warm up for your head, and you might think of it later (while in the shower or on a walk, etc.).” - Gennifer Choldenko

“It’s what you do with the junk (ideas) that matters. Add light to junk in a cylinder and it becomes a rose window (kaleidoscope). Add light to ideas and they become a story.” - Rosemary Wells

“Everything in a teen’s life is about first experiences and emotional extremes…they are in a constant state of humiliation.” - Sonya Sones

“Write EVERY day, like it’s your JOB.” - Christopher Paul Curtis and Gennifer Choldenko both said this about how they work.