Writing a Novel Journal Post 1

This month I’ve decided to do something a little different.  Though I’ve been involved with several writer’s groups and organizations over the years, I have yet to complete a novel length project. There, I said it. Whew, that feels better. I have published a short story and for a time had a column in a local newspaper yet I feel that my knowledge about novel writing is lacking.  What I can do is share what I am doing each month to finally complete a novel. Hopefully you can learn from the things that I do right as well as from my mistakes.  My plan is to tell you what I have or haven’t accomplished each month and also ask for any advice or suggestions.

I am a Realtor so I do have flexible hours but I do have a problem with making writing a priority.  I feel I need to focus on what pays the bills first and my writing project usually comes after work and family.  

I understand time management and that if I don’t schedule it into my day and even if I do schedule it into my day, it doesn’t always get done.  My affirmation is: I will make writing a commitment.  I will schedule time into each day to write, starting now.

This past month was spent developing my story and main characters so my page count is not very impressive, 6 pages.  My writing project is a Women’s fiction story with a paranormal twist.  I have a younger woman and an older woman who are being pulled together by the spirit of a third woman.  Because the third woman is in spirit form, I think I made the mistake of not working on her character.  I will be developing her character more this month.  I wasn’t exactly sure how to use this character but because I have been catching up with the Desperate Housewife series, I like how they used Mary Alice’s voice as the opening and closing of each episode.  I’m thinking I might let this character make an introduction and then go on to my other main characters and let them finish telling the story.  I trust I will figure it out. 

Since I feel so insecure about the whole process and like the idea of having someone to hold my hand, I am working with a book.  It’s Book in a Month by Victoria Lynn Schmidt Ph.D. 

My working title is Finding Faith.  Faith Mercer is a misfit.  She has never felt as though she belonged.  It is about her search for family.  Another key character is Rose Abbott, an older woman who is lonely but won’t admit it.  Because of grief, she has pushed people out of her life and feels that it’s too late and resists any urge to reach out.  I’m playing this whole journal thing by ear.

Next month, I am planning to attend a writer’s retreat so hope to have a lot more to share next month.

How do you begin your stories? Do you start with the plot or the characters? Do you use an outline or write the story as you go? I really am curious.

Until next time.

Virginia