Finishing a November Novel

Treat it as it is: a first draft.

Are you scrambling to meet your deadlines for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month)? Consider again the experience of my friend Chandler Birch, who in 2013 decided to try to write a novel in a month.

The challenge gave Birch his start. “Prior to that,” he says, “I … Continue reading

Must You Write Tightly?

Don’t try this in your initial draft.

Forget tight writing and let your book’s first draft flow. Then practice tight editing. As Strunk & White advise in The Elements of Style, retain only those words that earn their keep. No freeloaders.

In the process you’ll find many candidates for deletion.

Three Tasks for Scene Openings

Do your first lines make these essentials clear?

I thought I knew the way. But heading from the unfamiliar location, I took a wrong turn. What I saw didn’t align with what I’d assumed. My only recourse was to go back, check things more carefully, and start afresh.

I’ve experienced that not only … Continue reading