Preparing for Book 2

The first thing I need to say is that I am very sorry for not getting an article out last week. While I love the rain, the power apparently does not.

The time has finally come. It’s time to start writing my second book. The second book will be a continuation of this first book. “But Michael, you don’t even have the first book published yet. Why are you starting your next project?” The answer is simple; I’m a writer, that’s what I do. This time next week my 2nd draft will be in the hands of my Alpha Readers. I won’t have anything to write until I get their feedback. So, while I wait I might as well start the second book.

These last few weeks I have been throwing ideas around of where I want the story to go. I know how it is going to start and how it is going to end. In between I have a few ideas that I know will make it into the story, but for the most part it’s all up in the air.

When I started Dust (it’s what I’m currently calling my first book) I knew that it was going to be a trilogy. Knowing that places and people would be appearing in all three books I took notes while I wrote. Whether you are writing a stand alone novel or a multi book series I recommend taking notes. It helps keep track of character names, descriptions, places, rules that you put in your world. What you don’t want is have issues with continuity.

Next week, November 1st, is the start of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). Every year I say I am going to participate but I never do. Last year I even started, but quickly stopped when I realized it was taking away from the novel I had already begun. This year is different. My second draft will be done. I figured this was the best time for me to start Book 2.

NaNoWriMo is a writing event that takes place during the month of November. The goal is to write 50,000 words by the 30th. To put that into perspective The Hobbitis 95,022 words. To “win” NaNoWriMo authors need to write 1,667 words a day. I’m personally going to try and write 2,000 words a day. If I do the second book will be finished on the 24th.

More information can be found on their website http://nanowrimo.org/. I encourage all of you to participate. NaNoWriMo is a great time to write that novel you have always wanted to.

On a side note I would like to thank everyone who has been reading the blog. I appreciate the emails and comments I have received. While I haven’t responded to all the messages I wanted to let you all know that I do read them. Also, subscribe to the blog to be notified by email when new posts are available.

Novel Progress
Draft: Second
83.97% Complete

Reading as a Writer

Last week I talked about how writers need to write. This week I want to discuss how writers also need to read. As writers we need to read a lot. There are several reasons why we need to be reading. We should be reading for learning opportunities, to support the writing community, and of course enjoyment. Each of these reasons for reading is equally important to us as writers.

Learning Opportunities

If we don’t read how can we be expected to write well? When we read we learn how other authors create their work. We see how they tell a story and develop their characters. When we read we have the ability to learn how seasoned authors have mastered their craft.

When we read we should make an attempt to read novels that are similar to what we are writing. We are not reading these books to make our novels sound like theirs. We never want to do that. We need to create unique stories that are our own. We should be reading to learn why these books are successful and apply what we learn into our own novels.

The book I am writing is about a young woman who travels across the country. After I finished my first draft I realized that the first 20,000 words weren’t working for the story. I kept struggling with ideas about how to make the beginning more interesting. My character just traveled from town-to-town and the story kept dragging on and on. Soon after I started working on the second draft I began reading The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub (Which I highly recommend everyone to read). I started reading this book because I enjoy reading both these authors. I had no idea what this book was about and just started reading. It must have been divine intervention that I started reading this novel; it’s about a boy who travels across the country.

I read how these two masters took their character, Jack Sawyer, across the United States. Seeing how they wrote their novel it opened my eyes to a new way to write my own story. With this new knowledge I deleted those 20,000 words and started the beginning over. While it was painful to do it was well worth it. My novel is so much better now that I made those changes.

Supporting the Writing Community

If we don’t read others’ work then why should we expect others to read ours? Karma, golden rule, whatever you want to call it, is an important principal to follow. Earlier this year at a convention I had the opportunity to hear published authors speak about writing. All the authors that were presenting knew one another and knew each others’ work. As they spoke they would reference each others’ novels as well as other authors’ writings.

Think of where you work now. While your colleagues work on different projects you probably have some inkling of what they are working on. Well, the other writers in the world are also your colleagues. We should and need to have an idea of what they are/have been working on. So we must read. After reading a book, tell people about it, get their book to sell more copies. It’s exactly what you hope happens to your own book one day.

Enjoyment

The main reason any of us read is for the enjoyment of it. Novelists write to entertain. While it is important to learn as we read, we don’t want to forget why we began reading in the first place. Enjoy yourself. Turn off your phone, curl up on the couch, crack open a book and spend an evening reading.

We get so busy in our lives that we don’t make time for reading. Since I have been focusing on editing my own book I can’t remember the last time I immersed myself in the world of a book. While it’s not a lot of time, I plan on taking 30 minutes a day and just reading.

“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”

― Stephen King

It’s fun to read your favorite book over and over again or to read everything within a particular genre. Just don’t forget to expand your horizons. While I prefer reading fiction such as King and Straub I make it a point to read other types of work. I’ve read everything from classic fiction to modern nonfiction, and everything in between. It’s important to read a little bit of everything. It’s also fun when you read something that you were expecting to be boring and it turns out you just found your new favorite book.

Use the comments section to let us know what you are currently reading. If you have a topic you would like me to cover or a question you would like answered send me an email at Axeman@thisweekinwriting.com.

Novel Progress
Draft: Second
75.00% Complete

Writing Habit: Write Every Day

When I began This Week in Writing I made it a point to write every day. This has not been an easy task. Some days I’m so exhausted I can barely form a sentence. Other days I’m able to write for hours. Whatever the case may be I refuse to go to bed until I have written for at least 30 minutes.

Why do I insist in writing every day? It’s to ensure that I build a strong habit of writing. A common belief is that doing something for 21 days will form a habit. I’m starting to think there is something to this. Tonight’s blog post marks the 21st day since I started This Week in Writing and the 21st day since I’ve been writing consistently.

Habits don’t come easy, especially when it comes to writing everyday. When you make the conscience choice to write everyday there will be an adjustment period. This adjustment period isn’t just for you; it’s for everyone around you.

I told my wife that I now consider my writing a part time job. This meant that I would be spending less time with her and the girls at night; just as if I went to go to a part time job. If your end goal is to be a full time writer then you need to be dedicated and begin to write as if it were a part time job. My goal is to work towards writing at least 20 hours a week.

If we want to be writers we have to write. We have to write a lot. And if we want to make a living from our novels we have to write even more. These last few weeks I have made it a point to write at least 30 minutes a day. Now that I’m used to that I plan on writing at least 1 hour a day.

Think of how much time you actually spend writing in a week. Is it sufficient to complete your novel? Last week I wrote about setting goals. To help ensure that those goals are met I challenge you to write for at least 30 minutes each day for the next 21 days. I’m confident that you will see an improvement in how much you write in a day.

If you have a topic you would like me to cover or a question you would like answered send me an email at Axeman@thisweekinwriting.com.

Novel Progress
Draft: Second
71.16% Complete