Happy November, everyone! For many people November equals NaNoWriMo. National Novel Writing Month. It's a challenge to write a 50,000 word novel in one month. I want to take this opportunity to go through NaNo with you, and to look at the writing process in great detail.
To start, let's discuss what it takes to write a novel.
There are the obvious elements: characters, setting, plot. If you've got these, you're off to a good start.
Let's look at them closer, shall we?
Let's start with the characters.
First, look at each of them individually. Where are they from? What is their back story? What brought them to the point at which your story begins? How do they speak? Do they have a specific dialect or accent? What are their strengths and weaknesses? What are their faults (they are human after all, so they can't be perfect)? What are their insecurities? Their demons? What old pains and resentments do they still carry with them? What events and people helped to shape them into the people they are today? Who are they? Not just their name, their hair color, their sexy lips. Seriously. Who are they. You want to have good, rounded, complete characters. Dig deeply to create full people on your pages.
Next is plot.
A novel is more than just Dick and Jane. A novel is a story. A full, complete story with full, complete characters, and a full and complete setting. By focusing on the details and layers of your characters, setting and story, everyone wins. You, as a writer, win because you get to experience the entire writing process. Your readers get to experience a great work by you. Don't chince your readers, and don't short change yourself.
Ok, we've gone through the basics. What else does it take to write a novel?
It takes courage.
It takes creativity.
It takes determination.
It takes a sense of humor.
It takes you.
You need to be there. Fully and completely focused. Be present. You need to give it your all, so make sure that you show up every day.
Writing a novel can be difficult, but it can also be a lot of fun and incredibly rewarding. NaNo gives everyone the chance to try their hand at writing. If you take on this challenge, make sure you give it all you've got. It'll be worth it in the end.