Because really, who doesn’t love jumping on bandwagons once in a while?
So let’s take a little walk through the teachings of Yoda and how they relate to novel writing.
Regardless of your chosen genre, the decision to write a book is the decision to delve into the depths of pages four and five of Google search. You will follow rabbit holes until you know Carrot Top’s performance schedule in Vegas. You’ll discover medical conditions you never thought possible. You’ll reference a funny thing your friend did in casual conversation before remembering your ‘friend’ is a character. Be prepared.
You may walk into your novel writing experience with notebooks and pens and outlines and character sheets, but those won’t save you. At some point, you’ll find yourself researching ‘dirt layers in Idaho’ for three hours because a character is waiting at a roadside turnout for you to get your accuracy in place.
Get real comfortable with your computer and sitting on your butt.
A month ago, I started braiding my hair. I never braid my hair. But one of my characters does. Those little quirks you gave your character? You better be damn prepared to absorb them.
Stare at the DELETE key. Memorize its position. Practice on a backed-up document. This key will be your best friend and greatest foe.
“What the hell?” is oft-muttered by writers as they find themselves struggling to stay the course of their outlines. Sometimes, you just have to let it go and switch to the direction the manuscript is taking you.
To write a novel, you have to write. Schedule it, time it, count minutes or words, morning or night…figure out what works for you and do it. Two paragraphs in a week will get your book done faster than excuses.
Know your protagonists, get inside your antagonists. Why are they who they are? Motivations are powerful. If I have anything in my sparse outline prior to starting a book, that’s it.
Yes, there are industry standards for novel length based on genre. Know your genre’s expectations and stay within the zone. In publishing, size matters.
Back. Up. Your. Work. Email yourself drafts every few days. Computers can crash and burn, but emails are accessible from anywhere. BACK UP YOUR WORK.
Welcome to Edit Land. Please collect an axe and a stack of tissues. You’ll need both.
Writing a book is a lot like painting white walls white again. It feels unending and pointless at times, you can’t remember what you did or where you started, and you realize halfway through you’ve left bare spots. But I promise you, it looks amazing at the end.
Your work is not perfect. None are. Whether you use friends, online beta readers, or pay a professional, get your writing critiqued and study those comments. See your weaknesses and attack them. I’m terrible at physical descriptions, so that’s my focus this year.
And whatever you chew on from page eleven of your Google searches.