Snowy Days and Mondays

So Central PA got its first blanket of the white stuff. What’s the big deal? I hear a lot of complaining about the weather this time of year – usually from the same people that say it’s too hot in July. I hope you’re not one of them. Life is too short to grumble.

I hope you get a chance to think about this week’s question and check out the updated Featurd Excerpt, but right now we have more important things to discuss.

How many words does it take to create a novel? I hear so many different numbers floating around. I don’t know if there really is a correct answer. I’ve heard everything from 50,000 to 100,000 words. Take your pick.

But how do you develop a small idea into a full-fledged novel? It’s no easy trick. These ideas are not all-inclusive, but hopefully, it will give you some things to think about.

Once you get that idea that just won’t stay out of your head, write down every possible idea you can think of that relates to it. A thought may come to you while at the mall. Or maybe while you’re out for a Sunday drive. Use some real-life situations that have impacted your life. Whatever it is, write it down. If you’re like me, you won’t remember these things ten minutes later. You’re probably not like me, but it’s still a good idea to write them down.

Some people like to have the whole story planned out complete with outline and notations. I do believe it’s good to have a plan and at least a direction and goal in mind for your protagonist, but I still like to see where my story goes. In other words, I’ve found that often a story takes an unexpected turn, even for me, the author. If I plan too much, that option is taken away.

As I mentioned before, I’ve been using Freewriter. It allows me to fully develop my thoughts into organized ideas which eventually become organized words on a page. There are character blocks where I can develop my characters as much as I choose. There are scene blocks that allow me to go deep into description of the scenes I’m writing. But the ultimate question is – will it be a novel?

Remember, I’m looking for a minimum of 50,000 words (80,000 is even better). Once I have a pretty good idea where I’m going with the story, I need to come up with a word count for each chapter. If I have 20 chapters with 2,000 words each, I’m going to fall short of novel length. I have a choice. I can either add more chapters, or make the chapters longers. If I add an extra 1,000 words to each chapter (making a total of 3,000 words per chapter), I now have 60,000 words. You can decide if you want to call that a novel.

If I need 3,000 words for a chapter, and I have three scenes in the chapter, I need to spend roughly 1,000 words on each scene. That makes for more crafting to fit the word count.

Now, after saying all of that, I just write. The story itself will determine the word count. I’d rather have a good, short story than a bland novel. Writing a novel is a challenge, though. Stay at it. Let the creative juices flow. The end is in sight.


Rainy Days and Mondays

It’s raining in Central PA, and it’s Monday. But let’s not let that get us down. Rain can be beautiful. It gives moisture to the land and water to drink. It feeds the streams and rivers. Monday gives us a fresh start to a new week, a place we’ve never been before. So let’s embrace it. Let’s live it to its fullest.

This week the Featured Excerpt is from Lawrence Hebb’s article, Spaceship Earth, Our Moon, Why Are We Going Back? Be sure to give it a read. Lawrence has also just released a new book, Safe Haven. You may want to check it out on Amazon.

Don’t forget to add your thoughts to this week’s question, too.

Someone had asked a question about revising our work before it is submitted for publication. Revision can be difficult and time consuming, but it must be done. As important as revision is, editing is also important, and in many ways it overlaps revision. I want to give you six steps to help with your editing and revision. Here goes.

  1. Give it some time. Before you begin your revisions, just walk away for a bit. Give it a few days, maybe a few weeks. Then go back and read it with fresh eyes. While you’re waiting, work on developing a summary of the finished story. You can use this to guide you as you do your editing and revisions.
  2. Get rid of the excess. Think about your summary. Think about the overall big picture of what you want to accomplish. Look for inconsistencies and anything that doesn’t advance the plot. Get rid of it.
  3. Read your manuscript in a new format. Print it out using a different font, maybe a different size. Make it bold. You might be surprised how many mistakes you might catch.
  4. This may sound trite, but read your work out loud. Use the changed font you printed out for this. When reading silently, it’s too easy for our brain to gloss over words and wording. Reading out loud will help you pick up awkward wording and inconsistencies that may remain.
  5. See it from a different perspective. Be hard on yourself. Consider every line. Are you saying what you want to communicate? Read the manuscript as if you are reading it through someone else’s eyes. It may not be easy to do, but look at your work as your worst enemy might see it. He’s probably not going to say anything good. Consider your words. Don’t just read them. Are your words clear? Are they concise? Do they flow? You’re the author. You can write anything you want, but your writing will be judged by the reader – maybe your worst enemy.
  6. Use editing tools. I’ll list three here, and you can do your own research to see what works best for you. Grammarly, Hemingway Editor, and FreeWriter. All are user friendly, and all have a free download.

That does it for this rainy Monday. Keep on writing!!!


Monday Has Arrived!

. . . And so has November. The holidays are upon us, and soon 2019 will be history. I thank you for joining me on this happy, November Monday. The winds are much colder; the sun a little more absent. The white stuff that appeared over the weekend has disappeared, but I know more is coming. That sounds like a good recipe for writing. Cozy up by the fire with a cup of whatever and your keyboard, and get to it!

This week’s Featured Excerpt is taken from Ruby Jean Richert’s A Day Alone Sitting On A Park Bench Proves To Be Enlightening. Drop her a comment and let her know what you think. Grab your thinking cap and help me think through This Week’s Question??? as well.

As I continue to explore the whys and how tos of writing I occasionally come across something I think is worth sharing. I’ve always been one of those writers that flies by the seat of his pants. I don’t use outlines. I usually begin with a beginning and ending thought and fill in the blank pages in between as I go.

But I’m trying something different with my new project, The Marisol Deception. I came across a writing program called Freewriter. It’s similar to Scrivener, but as the name suggests, it’s free.

I thought I’d try it on my new novel, and it has worked beautifully and really has helped in the development of the story. The suite contains a browser – no more switching tabs when i want to do research. There is a spellchecker (but not as effective as Grammarly which I usually use), a thesaurus and dictionary, productivity goals and wordcounts, just to name a few.

The thought canvas is what has really been helpful for me. It allows me to post virtual stickies with future thoughts, index cards as potential outlines, and allows it all to be seen in a separate screen as I write. I can map out my characters with more clarity, keep track of scenes even if I won’t be using them for several chapters, and develop settings in detail. On top of that, it’s even kind of fun.

How much it will keep me from flying by the seat of pants, I don’t know, but it does seem like it has made the writing process easier and more flowing. Here’s a link for you to try Check it out and let me know what you think. It may not be for everybody. I’m not even sure it’s for me every time, but for now, it seems to be working. If you need more information, let me know, but it’s certainly worth checking out.

Until next Monday . . .


It’s November

It gets no better than Pennsylvania in the fall.

The first Monday of November and there’s much to discuss, so let’s get started.

November brings many things including this year’s peak season for fall foliage. It’sw absolutely beautiful , and I love this time of year. November also brings the start of the holiday season with Thanksgiving. It’s a wonderful time, but shouldn’t be the only time we focus on the blessings and gifts that God has given us.

It also brings us to the National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo as it’s oftern called. NaNoWriMo was started by freelancer Chris Baty in San Fransisco in 1999 with 21 participants. The numbers have grown over the years to more than 200,000. You can learn more by going to the site.

November is also the month I started my new novel The Marisol Deception, (although it won’t be entered in NaNoWriMO). Cadeyrn’s Tale is now off to the editor for the final touches.

The Marisol Deception is purely fictional but is based on the apacolyptic events in the Bible book of Revelation. I’ve set my deadline is for April, 2020. You can read Part 1 of the rough draft here.

A tip for this week – I’ll make it short as I’ve already gone on too long. Surround yourself with good writers that can give you both positive and negative feedback. In our social media age, people are too kind. On HubPages I have to ask for constructive critcism, and even then, I don’t always get it. Positive is good, but unless you’re willing to face the good, the bad, and the ugly, very little progress will ever be made.

So I’m asking you to go back and read Part 1 of the HP rough draft and honestly let me know how I can improve. You can leave your thoughts on the Comments section of HubPages or just add them below in the MVOWC Comments section. I’m willing to do the same for you.

Well, next Monday will be here soon enough, so I’ll leave you for now. See you then!