The Core Elements of Fiction Writing
Get Ready to Write
Better real late to never, sorry I didn’t get to post this belated writing hub from my spring half-day conference this past spring and summer. This was one of the last conference sessions I took back then and jotted down plenty of notes to share. This is just handy and timely, since Nanowrimo is just around the corner. You can use it for Nano, Camp Nano/Julno, or writing at your own pace. This course was accompanied with a workbook via the free Udemy self-paced course, since we’ve gotten a free waiver. In actuality, it would cost you $50 to take the course. I’ll included two screenshot of what the sheets of the workbook looks like, so you can make one at home and tailor it to your own fashion.
Place your butt in chair for writing. If you’re a writer, you create words on paper. You can finish a rough draft in 60 days, if you can commit to writing everyday. (Note: I’ve tried to do this for Camp Nano this past spring and failed, since I’ve managed to write 20 K in April. I’ll be trying it again for Nano next month and fill out the worksheet everyday.)
A Page From the Virtual Workbook
Second Half of Virtual Worksheet
The first thing you should do is make a decision. Treat your writing as a business with expenses on how to become a novelist or on the same system to be published for Amazon.
In Stephen King’s popular writing book, “On Writing”, this tip was to try thinking about ordinary people dropped into extraordinary situations. The best way to start doing it is with prompts.
Tools of the Trade
Fancy software and tools aren’t necessary to write a novel. Just keep it simple. You can use Google Documents, Microsoft Word, an USB drive and Scrivener.
Plan it Out
These are the skills I’ve learned in this course and passing it forward over to you. Do you want to know a “secret?” If you write 1000 words a day or 500 words per session, that’s a good word count goal, before you can call it a day. If you write every other day, it would take you about four months. If you have consistent production through discipline, you can “commit” and draw boundaries. Your family aren’t real good supporters for you to do your writing. When you’re finished writing, check the word count for your genre. For example, if you’re doing romance, aim for 60,000-80,000 words. That’s the ideal length of a novella. If you aim for 100%, you can cut than add in your first draft.
For every novel, there’s seven archetypes. We can mix them up for the framework of your storyline:
- The Overcoming Monster is when the hero defeats and returns world to order.
- The Rags to Riches is when the modest person has special talent.
- The Quest is when a hero’s on a journey, searches for prize and has a sidekick.
- The Voyage and Return is when an ordinary person becomes extraordinary and goes back to ordinary.
- The Comedy is when there’s confusion, miscommunication, and some humor involved.
- The Tragedy is when there’s no happy story, when the ego/pride goes awry.
- And the Rebirth is when someone’s redeemed, a dark force is closing to winning, and the hero saves the world.
As for genre, you write what you enjoy reading.
There are three parts to every story arc for your novel:
- The Basic Arc is the beginning of your storyline when there’s a set-up with the main character introduced with the inciting incident.
- The Middle Arc is when there’s confrontation, when you’ll encounter resistance, deal with minor challenges.
- Then in the End, there’s the resolution, when there’s a climax as the hero faces main evil force.
The Basic Arc should be 25% of your storyline, whereas the Middle is 2x bigger at 50% of your story, and the End is also at 25% for your novel.
Final Writing Tips
As for the workbook, feel free to use it and to create your own template. Write early in the morning and have everything you need in your writing space. Stand up and turn off distractions. Hit the word count you’ve planned for the day no matter what. Back up everything to save it. Create a quiet space or use white noise or headphones from distractions. There’s an app called RelaxWriting for your iPhone or Android or tablet.