Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Next Year's National Novel Writing Month

Can you really write a novel in thirty days? You can if write it like a screenplay using screenplay structure. In yesterday's column, I talked about how I did much better last year during National Novel Writing Month. Today, I am going to talk about how I will do it for next year. If you want to try to write a novel in a month, read this carefully. For those of you are still cranking away, you can ignore this column.

Before I even begin, I'm going to come up with fundamental questions in my own life. The first question is where am I now? The second question is --where do I want to be? That's going to be the basis of the plot. The main character will go on a journey from Point A to Point B, based on those two questions.

Next I will come up with the three acts--the beginning, the middle and the end. Since a National Novel Writing Month project is 50,000 words, we'll even break it up. In Act I, we will see the hero much the same way that I am right now. We will see him or her in their normal environment. Act I should be short, so we'll spend about 12,000 words there. I'm figuring that I will write about two thousand words a day, so that's six days of writing. I'm going to say that each day is a scene, so there will be six scenes. In the sixth scene, (or is it the sixth sense?), something really bad has to happen to the main character.

The hard part of course is Act II which wI will hit on my seventh day of writing. The hero is going to make a vow to do something and go off on a journey. About halfway through, he will hit rock bottom, or in film version, the inmost cave. I like to think of Indiana Jones facing the snakes in the middle of Raiders of the Lost Ark.The hero will have better things happen to him after that, and almost get his goal at the end of Act II. That should take me to about 38,000 words.

Right around Thanksgiving of next year, I will be ready for Act III I will know the final showdown by then. I want the hero to be confronted with his greatest challenge, but is doing it on his home turf. His normal world that we saw at the beginning, is now under siege and he must rise to the challenge.  That should take the final 12,000 words, with about 1,000 words to set up the sequel.

That's the plan for now. See you next year!

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