Novel Writing

New novel worries: How do you know when an idea is worth #writing?

Freytag's pyramid
Freytag’s pyramid (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As I run down the final stretch of publishing Valley of the Bees, I am itching to get started on my next novel. I don’t want to waste all of this momentum I have built while writing my last novel. After all, gathering and maintaining momentum seems to be half the battle of writing!

My first problem was what to write. Luckily, I had plenty of ideas. I just couldn’t seem to choose one. I was ready to write one novel one day and a completely different story the next. When I finally settled on an idea that held my attention for more than a couple of days, I thought the battle had been won. A vibrant story world has taken shape in my mind, and my main cast of characters is coming to life.

Then I realized: I have no plot!

Where is this story going?

It’s an essential question to answer! There is no story if there is no plot. Who wants to read a novel-length document full of interesting characters who meander aimlessly through an interesting story world? It might be interesting for a bit, but engaging? Will you want to finish reading the book if it obviously has no point? Can I pull off a Seinfeld with my next novel?

This is where I am today. I’m freewriting my hands off trying to determine where this story is going. I like the characters and the setting enough that I think I can live with them long enough to write a novel about them. But, what is the novel about? Where is my plot? What am I going to do to my characters, and what are they going to do about it?

I’ve almost reached the point where I want to stop taking notes and just start writing the scenes that are begging to be put on paper. I just hate to start writing a novel without a plan. I learned a long time ago that “pantsing” never gets me anywhere. I have to plot first if I hope to finish someday.

But then again, maybe my writing process is evolving on me, and I should just go with the flow. What do you think?

Check out my fundraising website to learn how to get a signed copy of Valley of the Bees!

It looks like a real book!
It looks like a real book!

1 thought on “New novel worries: How do you know when an idea is worth #writing?”

  1. Go with the flow. Characters determine action. The protagonist’s motivations and desires drive the story. So ask yourself, who’s the main character? What does he or she want? What will he or she do to get it?

    Actually, literary novels sometimes don’t have much plot and are all about character, often the internal lives of character like Virginia Woolf’s novels for example. Plot-driven novels tend not to have much character development. I’m convinced that most readers really prefer character-driven novels with plot that evolves out of the characters.

    Don’t push yourself. actually. Write what comes out and just let it all ferment. PLAY with it!

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