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Saturday, February 02, 2008

Writing a novel . . .

     You know, one of the reasons I keep a blog is so I have a place to store links to things I don't want to forget. Today, I'm saving a link to an article by Jeff Vandermeer, "HOWTO Write a decent novel in two months." Hubbie sent it to me from boingboing of all things. It's short, but shares some great secrets to staying focused on the task at hand.
     I think his best bit of advice was to "Make sure you know what kind of novel you're writing." It helps you add necessary scenes, cut unnecessary ones, and keep the pacing true to the genre. Some of his advice is 'in the back of your brain you know this, you just never put it into words' type of advice. It's part of what I love about teaching. When you verbalize why you do what you do, you learn too.
     So, I promised to share a bit about my writing process as I work on my second novel . . . All I can say is, wow. And I thought getting into "illustrator mode" was hard! Still, I've done it once, so I know I can do it again. And now that I know what I'm writing (an actual novel), I don't think it will take nearly as long as the first foray did.
     This story takes place in the 1850s, so perhaps it takes me longer to travel back in time, but once I'm there, I have a hard time getting out! I love the research. I'm discovering so many stories and cool facts. I constantly stumble across examples of 'fact is stranger than fiction' and end up in amused shock throughout much of my day. I'll never include everything I learn, but I need to know enough to make my writing believable.
     For instance, Chapter Two has a lot of travel logistics in it. So the other weekend, I went to hang out with the Little Old Lady who helped me so much on my first novel. She actually had documents from her Great Grand-Mother travelling to America - even the name of the steamship. So, I spent some quality time on her floor, learning how to get around in 1850. What an interesting time it was. They were practically laying down railroad ties in front of moving trains! And how do you suppose they took baths? Well, I need to find that out...
     The writing is coming along well too. Once I get in the zone, my fingers can't seem to type fast enough. It's a great feeling, truly.
     Anyhow, more soon!

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