Novel Writing, Write Your Novel this Summer Challenge

Featured Writer Prompt: How do you prep for a new novel writing project?

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Do you outline first, or just start writing? |writing blue (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At Write Your Novel this Summer, we just launched our Featured Writer series where we will feature individual writers who are participating in our summer novel writing challenge. To become a Featured Writer, all you have to do is ‘like’ our Facebook page, look for Featured Writer Prompts, and submit a response to the prompt along with a link to your blog or online writing portfolio. If your submission is chosen, we will feature you and link to your page from our Facebook page (see the Notes section of our Facebook page for more details.)

Yesterday, I posted our first Featured Writers Prompt, but I have yet to receive any submissions. So I thought I would answer the prompt myself to try to get the ball rolling. I want to also encourage my readers to submit. This is a great opportunity to drive readers to your blogs and writing portfolios. It’s also a great way to find out about other writers and learn how they approach the novel writing process.

Our first Featured Writer Prompt

How do you go about preparing for a new novel writing project? Are you an outliner? Not an outliner? If you are an outliner, is there a specific style of outline you use? Or do you follow some other method?

My response

I have never been much of an outliner myself. But, when I began to really get serious about writing a novel, I found that I did need some kind of plan to follow to keep the project going. I tried traditional outlining, but that never really worked for me.

Last semester, in Advanced Novel Writing, my professor had us do an exercise in which we put our stories into the framework of Joseph Campbell’s 17 Stages of the Hero’s Journey. This got me thinking about the arc of my story and how I could build tension in all the right places. I think this is a useful tool to help the novice novel writer get started.

I also like to sit down and write a brief synopsis of the story I am planning. In this first stage, I focus on telling the story rather than showing it. I literally write, “This is a story about…” and then put down a beginning, middle, and end. Of course the story will evolve as I write it, but this gives me a jumping-off point. After all, you have to start somewhere. It also helps me keep my focus when I find myself running off on irrelevant tangents. It is helpful to occasionally remind yourself what your story is really about.

It’s your turn

So, how about you? How do you prep for a new novel writing adventure? Join the conversation on the Write Your Novel this Summer Facebook page.

~Mandy Webster

3 thoughts on “Featured Writer Prompt: How do you prep for a new novel writing project?”

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