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Friday, October 12, 2012

How To Write A Novel In 70 Easy Steps

  1. A wild Shiny New Idea appears!
  2. Experience mini spazz attack over awesomeness of said idea.
  3. Figure out first, middle, and last names for all characters, even though you don't hardly know the plot yet.  Spend hours searching Google images for the perfect picture of said characters.
  4. Realize the Shiny New Idea isn't worth anything, and abandon it.
  5. Work on some other project.  Or possibly something productive and necessary, like Stats homework.
  6. Forget about idea for a week.
  7. Suddenly remember idea while in the shower, and accidentally get shampoo in your eye out of excitement.
  8. Sit down at computer and start madly typing the first chapter.  Something beginning with "It was a dark and stormy night" will do.
  9. Realize you only half dried yourself off from your shower.  Go back and get a towel.
  10. Type more words, and realize that you have no idea where this is going and need to do some planning.
  11. Buy one of those massive post-its and start making a ginormous plot diagram for said book.
  12. One does not simply make a plot diagram.
  13. Realize that your email absolutely must be checked right this very second or a baby panda will start to cry somewhere in China.
  14. Make a playlist for your novel.  Listen to it constantly.
  15. Eventually finish plot diagram. (Key word: eventually.)
  16. Return to writing.  Write two more chapters.
  17. Spend hours searching the internet for the perfect quote to put at the front of your book.
  18. Write a few more chapters.
  19. Realize that once again, your email must be checked RIGHT THIS INSTANT or WWIII is bound to start.
  20. Make a New Year's Resolution: Become J. K. Rowling.
  21. Return to writing.  Add a spontaneous battle scene.  Family members enters room and wonders what on earth you think you're doing.

  22. Finish battle scene.  Clear Google search history, because "How long does it take someone to recover from getting slammed in the head with a sword?" and "How big of an army would you need to conquer a small country?" just look suspicious.
  23. Decide that this novel is going horribly and it's not worth it to finish it.
  24. Abandon said novel. 
  25. Rename computer recycle bin "Dianoga Trash Compactor".  Right click novel file.  Computer asks "Do you want to send Best_Novel_Everrrrr_ASDFJKLYEAH!.doc* to the Dianoga Trash Compactor?". 
  26. Click "yes", and spend a moment congratulating yourself on your wittiness. 
  27. Spend a day free of work-in-progress woes.
  28. Remember how beautiful and glorious Best_Novel_Everrrrr_ASDFJKLYEAH!.doc was, and revive it from the recycle bin  Dianoga Trash Compactor.
  29. Continue writing novel. 
  30. Include a Monty Python and the Holy Grail reference in novel, because, well, why not?
  31. Write more.  And more.  And more.
  32. MORE.
  33. Spend an entire Saturday writing.
  34. Wake up Sunday morning unable to form a coherent sentence.
  35. Finally write that British Literature paper you should've started a few days ago.  Accidentally write about one of your own characters instead of a BritLit character.
  36. Write a fabulous argument between protagonist and antagonist**.  Spend half an hour watching that one GIF of Tyrion Lannister slapping Prince Joffrey for inspiration.  (That random guy in the corner...his face...LOL.  I don't know who he is, but his expression gets funnier the longer you watch it.)   (I had this, but the link went weird and I lost it.  Hm.)
  37. Finish another chapter.
  38. Decide that the sidekick actually needs to be a girl, not a boy.  Spend a very long time changing all related pronouns.
  39. Decide pronouns are the worst idea in the history of mankind.
  40. Yet again, your email MUST BE CHECKED.  Or else...
  41. Write for five more minutes.
  42. CHECK EMAIL.  After all, some African prince probably needs your bank account number right this second.
  43. Keep writing.  OHMYGOODNESS, you're almost done!
  44. Or at least, semi-close to being done.  Kind of.  Getting there.
  45. WORDS.
  46. Invest $0.99 in a one of those NaNoWriMo word count goal apps.
  47. Decide some of your characters need to be eliminated.  Have a massive Round Robin Mariokart tournament.  The loser gets the big old delete button.  So does the character who drives the entire Rainbow Road without falling off once, because anybody who can actually do that has way too much time on their hands.
  48. Go through another anger spurt against your novel.  Delete it again, and this time empty the recycle bin.
  49. Realize that you've made a horrible mistake.
  50. Remember that you just saved your novel on a flash drive a few days ago.  Revive novel.  Breathe sigh of relief.
  51. New character appears.  Name him/her Qwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnm because you can't think of anything better.
  52. Write more.
  53. Have one of those wonderful writing hours in which it takes you exactly 61 minutes to write 53 words.
  54. Realize you've reached the final chapter.  Have another spazz attack.
  55. Start writing at about 8:30 pm.  Stay up writing final chapter around 11:30, even though you usually go to bed around 10 and you have to get up for school tomorrow.
  56. Realize you've reached the last sentence.  
  57. Write a final sentence.
  58. Realize that your final sentence was "I can't believe I'm actually done with this thing; I need chocolate."
  59. Delete said sentence.  Type an actual final sentence.
  60. Sit there staring at sentence for ten minutes, unable to bring yourself to type that final period.
  61. Finally bring yourself to finish the sentence.  Realize that your book is actually finished.
  62. Whoop of joy/grin like a six-year-old who just stole a cookie without being caught.  
  63. Sob of loss.  
  64. Repeat steps 62-63.  And again.  Lather, rinse, repeat.
  65. Go into withdrawal because you have no idea what to do with yourself now that your work in progress is finished.
  66. Spend the next few days in a daze of "I can't believe I did all this.  What do I do now?  How do I words?"
  67. Revise novel, etc. etc.  
  68. Write a query letter.
  69. ?
  70. Profit.

Now, you finally know the secret to writing a novel (just in time for NaNoWriMo!).  After all, only 70 steps?  How hard can it be?

I'm sure all the non-writers are thinking that I'm weird.  But if you've written a know what I'm talking about.

What are your favorite steps?  Least favorite?  Anything to add?

*Don't deny it.  We've all named our story file something that intelligent.
**I don't know about you, but I love writing argument scenes for some reason.  Especially ones between two protagonists.  I have too much fun with those.
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  1. Whoa...that's exactly how my writing process is. Well, except for the part where the novel actually gets finished. :D

    And, yes, I've named my novel something like "Best_Novel_EVARRRR_2093yur9zbhr9e." It usually happens around midnight, when I can't think of anything better. Sometimes I just slam my face into the keyboard and just save it as whatever that turns out to be. (I actually have done that. Yes, I am quite strange.)

  2. Haha, this is so true. That pretty much summed up my writing process. XD I always spend hours searching Google for pictures for my characters and even more hours making a playlist. And I always celebrate with chocolate when I finish a novel, lol! Great post.

  3. I was nodding all the way through that. XD
    I love writing dramatic argument scenes. Then I realise said scene has no relevance to the story. But I can't bear to delete it, so I have a whole folder for random scenes in the vague hope that one day they will become useful.

    Although I think that the revise step needs a whole 70 steps in itself XD

    1. Yes, revision needs about 150 steps of its own. :)

  4. I'm laughing too hard now to write my outline.

    *Coughcough* Okay it wasn't like I was writing it anyways. :]

    Oh I love writing arguments. And monologues. Anything that leaves my MC either crying or fuming and I write it. Sometimes with a smile. Wow I need to get out more.

    I love 50 because it's a miracle. Then you're all happy to have a story again... to haunt your every step and keep you up at night. *sighs* You can never win. :]


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