My Novel Strategy

Well, I am again embarking on the solitary mission of writing a novel, having again abandoned the one I was working on. I truly am excited about my new idea, however, and have already filled a few notebook pages and a few post it notes of story ideas. For those of you who are interested, I’m taking my entry for the contest at The Clarity of Night and am attempting to expand it into a novel, or novella, or short story, or whatever it becomes. As always, I feel excitement and hope at the beginning of this project. Hopefully this time it won’t end in apathy.

Anyhow, this post isn’t meant to be about the past, but rather the future. I have a new strategy I’m going to try out, and I think it can work. I know I don’t have it in me to make any type of outline for this novel, because number 1, making an outline isn’t fun, and number 2, I don’t think my creative process works like that. I do need some type of planning phase, though, so here is my idea: I’m going to write a very brief synopsis of what happens in my novel.

Here is a generic example (part of this example will be my real synopsis, the rest is just for illustration purposes):

The hero is bound to a tree for an unknown time, having been kept alive by a stranger who when the sun cuts through the trees, frees the hero and tells him he is to be king. The hero is nursed back to heath by the stranger, and learns that blah blah blah…

Anyhow you get the idea. What I hope to accomplish here is not to let my words get in the way (descriptions, character names, place names, grammar, punctuation, but to flesh out the whole story in vague terms so I know where it is going.  This will also give me an idea of scenes and chapters, or basically an “outline” of my story without having to create an outline.

This might not be entirely my idea, it could’ve been kicking around in my head from all the novel writing advice I’ve read over the years.  However, I really think this is going to work for me, and I’m excited, which is a good thing.

What do you all think?

13 thoughts on “My Novel Strategy

  1. Congrats on getting that spark of excitement. Everyone has a different process. I like notecards, some like lists and formal outlines. I can’t do a synopsis, but I know a lot of people who do. Whatever gets you there. The key is to keep up the momentum now and don’t stop. Have fun!

  2. I think it sounds like a great idea. I’m not much of an outline person either, but I know there has to be some kind of skeleton to my writing or it will all turn to mush.

    Let me know how it goes!

  3. I think any strategy you feel comfortable enough with to start writing from will work. If it motivates you and gives you a direction to start writing towards, you really can’t go wrong.

    I’ve been abandoning novel ideas as well. It’s hard to settle on an idea that you’ll be investing that much time into.

  4. Your plan sounds the first stage of a Snowflake plan. This is the part I usually do but I find doing a full Snowflake plan to be too restricting.

    I like the World Tree image in your example!! I’m looking forward to hearing more about your novel.

  5. Hello, this is my first time here.
    I read your entry at Jason Evans’ competition and liked it.

    I am not a writer, but recently have been pampering the idea of writing. Basically I write whatever comes into my mind, but very lately I have started writing one single short story, like 8-10 pages.
    Your plan sounds feasible to me as well, for they keep the wandering mind right on track. Later on, when you have the plot you can and should wander into directions, but I think it is useful to stick to the plan.

  6. SzélsőFa – Thanks you for stopping by. I recognized your name from Jason Evans’ competition.

    Thanks for the thoughts. I’m going to try to keep everyone updated on my progress here (assuming there is progress). Check back here when you get the chance!

  7. Pingback: Novel Plan Update « The Struggling Writer

  8. Hey SW, I tried that, did a brief for the first half of the book, it helped externalize the images in my head (hate that word, learned it in design school) . I found it recently while going through some archives yesterday. It was quite funny to see where I was and where I’ve reached. Wow, my writing was pretty bad.
    Still, helps solidify things. Don’t feel compelled to stick to the brief though, if you come across a better idea and the story goes off the track a little. In essence it’ll remain the same. Probably.
    I wouldn’t want to go back to beginning phase though, that was a mess.

    Erm, I’ll stop being unhelpful now.

  9. That helps, vintagefan, just heading about you experiences. I’m finding it very difficult to get started. I’m thinking about trying to write in a notebook on paper again, rather than the computer. The internet is too distracting.

  10. I wonder if you’ve read this post of mine. It’s basically some stuff I figured out about writing, though I don’t believe there is a formula to it, plus I don’t believe everyone has a similar process.
    All I know is, it might look like a hopeless mess in the beginning, but then you sort of start to settle into it.

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