I am spending the month sharing this and that about my novel writing journey. Today I'm going to chat about 5 things that have absolutely not worked on my journey. Perhaps my missteps will help you.
1. Changing POV because someone suggested it -- I have changed the POV from first person to third person and back again a number of times because either a critique group partner, a teacher, an agent or an editor suggested the move. My experience with this advice is that the first couple of times it was a good exercise but ultimately I learned that POV is a decision that a writer must chose from her internal sense of how her story should be told. You need to dig into yourself and find your POV. Never change POV unless it is an internal decision. If someone suggested it, you better go into it with your reasons and no one else's.
2. Hurrying -- I have found you must let your novels grow at their own pace. Revisions must be performed at their own pace. Get to know your rhythms and don't rush. I know that the whole NANOWRIMO thing helps some folks move past procrastination but this advice is different. Every author finds a natural rhythm to create books. You may find you are not as fast as other writers. My best advice if you are slow, embrace it and don't hurry. Find agents and editors who can relate to your natural rhythms.
3. No Project Management -- Novels are big projects and they need project management. If you do not have a document aside from your book filled with character sketches, setting notes, outlines or summaries, spread sheets with scene pacing, etc., I doubt your novel is going to fly. I know my won't. Get a three ring binder, a beautiful blank book and some note cards or try ONENOTE or SCRIVNER or DRAMATICA and move into the world of successful novel creation with decent project management.
4. Focusing on the first chapter -- Oh, I have done this and I have seen so many others do this. A novel is a journey through multiple chapters. You must balance your attention on each chapter. If you have rewritten that first chapter 40 times and you have not rewritten your fortieth chapter 40 times, you are messing up. Every chapter must receive balanced attention to create a master work.
5. Staring at the computer screen -- I found that my novels were not getting polished enough because I was not searching out the reader experience. I find that I must print out my novel to get a good sense of where I'm at. Write a book that is shelf ready. I put my books on my Kindle. I change the fonts. I read the book aloud and then listen to the recording while reading the pages at the same time. Search out the experience of a reader reading your book. This will help you create a viable novel.
I hope my thoughts here help you write your own work. Come back next week. Seize the day.
This week's doodle is "From My Sketchbook":
Something true but I don't understand it.
Great, big, serious novels always get awards. If it's a battle between a great, big, serious novel and a funny novel, the funny novel is doomed. Neil Gaiman