Wednesday, January 16, 2008

GETTING FROM THE BEGINNING TO THE END OR HOW TO WRITE A NOVEL IN THREE EASY STEPS

NUMBER ONE:
FIND YOUR PREMISE

Here I am in the Pacific Ocean, which everyone knows contains more than its share of premises, ideas, and first sentences (and quite a few last sentences, too). It is rumored that this is where "My name is Ishmael" came from.
11 pm and 74 degrees.
Always helpful.
That's me. Not only do I provide instructions on the care and feeding of editors' Mothers, I also give valuable nuggets and novel writing tips. Just what the aspiring writer needs, to finish that sure to be best seller.
After selecting your premise you then have to (and here we have the next point)
NUMBER TWO
Write it until it is done.
This can be readily accomplished by putting a thousand monkeys in a room and letting them type away for eons. You can speed the process if you give them paper and occasionally bananas...

And finally: NUMBER THREE
editing and revisioning

It can be difficult to visualize this process. Here is an example of a novel with a great beginning and end but that has flaws in the middle. A writer must address this floppy structure or...um...their horses can escape.
Well I hope this helps.
I for one plan to follow this advice myself. In fact I will be back out in the ocean premise hunting tomorrow.
So I have a question.
Where do you land lubbers get your ideas?
Inquiring minds want to know...

29 comments:

Leatherdykeuk said...

Good advice and similes :)

Look what i got in the local Tesco yesterday:

... (missing picture)

buggrit. I tried to post an image, or the link to an image, of your book but blogger wouldn't let me.

Heidi the Hick said...

Honestly? I get most of my ideas from dreams and mental images. My latest one poured itself into my head. I'm not totally sure where it came from. My last one started with one image.

Now considering that the inside of my head looks a lot like that mangled fence....

Gina Black said...

I actually did an interview about this very thing.

Holly Kennedy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Holly Kennedy said...

In the bathtub, almost always!
And that means I keep pen and paper on the floor next to me while I'm soaking :)

D. Robert Pease said...

For me, first of all it comes from whatever I'm passionate about. Something that already consumes much of my mental energy is really easy to translate into a good story. I suspect that LOTTERY came out of a passion you had, or something you dealt with regularly (how the world views people with disabilities).

Chumplet said...

Mostly while I'm trying to sleep. One of my WIPs came to me in a dream. Trying to wring a premise out of it is the hard part.

Janet said...

I find my ideas in my head. Hopefully some day I'll figure out how I do it, so I can find them when I actually want to have them.

BClark said...

Ideas, my mind is full of ideas. I look at something and my imagination is and running. Only problem I never get around to writing any of it down, ah someday.
Love Your blog and as soon as I can will purchase your book. Barbara

Mary said...

I have too many ideas! They bubble up from a pot filled mostly with dreams, experiences, places, books, mood, music, people, films, animals, art, atmosphere, happiness, sadness, colour, and weather.

The Anti-Wife said...

My best ideas come when I'm walking the dog and have no paper to write them down. The ones that stay with me all the way home are usually the best.

Julie Weathers said...

My first thought is hoping a horse didn't go through that rail.

Where do I get my ideas?

Everywhere. Dancing Horses is a novel about people who kill champion cutting horses for insurance money. Got the idea from a news story about some show horses, who had been brutally killed for insurance money after the lost their edge.

La Patrona. Historical novel about the private lives of Captain and Henrietta King. Got that from reading a book about cattle barons and I saw a picture of Augusta Kohrs. I wanted to learn more about her, but Henrietta King kept walking around in my head. Turns out her story was a real keeper.

Dragon Valley. Seeing a drawing of a colorful, tiny dragon.

Paladin's Pride. Playing video games with my son.

Over The Hill. Humorous look at middle-aged divorce. You have to laugh at life sometimes.

I don't have a problem finding ideas. I just need to live long enough to write them all.

Bookfool said...

Ha! Great tips and the sagging fence had me chuckling. You're such a wit.

I'm a flying-in-the-mist writer. No ideas till I sit down and start typing. It's weird, but I guess it works. I've finished a couple of novels and used to be a pretty prolific short-story writer. My favorite part, hands down, is research. I can get so bent on studying up that I hardly write a thing. And, NaNoWriMo works well for me because I have trouble with my internal editor, who will soooo not shut up. When doing the NaNo method, I'm actually able to gag her.

One idea did come from a dream, but I'm afraid of it and have never gotten far. It's got a terrifying religious theme. In my dream, the critics were ready to stone me.

Church Lady said...

Land lubbers!? Dave F. uses that term too.
Your first photo is scary, to me. Would freeze every living brain cell into thoughts about survival.
Looks beautiful on you, however!
:-)

Demon Hunter said...

I get my ideas from everywhere. Sometimes they just come to me from looking at artwork, TV, driving along in my car, etc. Can't explain it.

ORION said...

Okay Okay...
"CALL me Ishmael..."

ORION said...

And the rail was blown down by a hurricane force wind a few weeks ago. The same one that blew down my wooden shed for my tack!

Anonymous said...

"'Do you know how I write my short stories? Here!' [Chekhov] glanced at the table, picked up the first thing that met his eye - it happened to be an ash tray - placed it before me and said: 'If you want it, you'll have a story tomorrow. It will be called "The Ash Tray."'"

Kimber An said...

The other night a story popped into my head and it's had me bummed out ever since. Why? It was Contemporary Romance! I don't write that stuff! I only write, yanno, weird stuff. Since the heroine of the novel I'm currently working on chucked my muse into a flaming tarpit, I'm shoving this story to the back of my head and waiting until I get a kitty-cat muse like you.

booklady said...

Wow, you really cleared that up! Suddenly writing my novel seems so much easier...

Sustenance Scout said...

Thanks for the advice, Pat! Would three kids in the room typing and eating bananas suffice? K.

ORION said...

Okay...monkeys...three kids...same difference. Although the kids would probably require more maintenance LOL

Sustenance Scout said...

You're probably right, lol!

Travis Erwin said...

We landlubber resort to hot showers. you should see my water bill those months when the muse is defiant.

ORION said...

Oh yeah! I love that one travis- it has me giggling...

writtenwyrdd said...

I get ideas from dreams, from things I read (both that which annoys me and I think I could do better and that which inspires me), and from asking what if a lot.

Katie Alender said...

Hilarious, Pat!

Michelle O'Neil said...

I got stuck at 11 pm and 74 degrees.

I'm freezing my A$$ off in Cleveland.

Anonymous said...

The line is "Call me Ishmael." Not "My name is Ishmael."