If you’re an author or someone who has at least made a valiant attempt at writing a full-length novel, you know it’s not a piece of cake. Still, I’ve met plenty of people who think writing a novel is as simple as sitting down at a computer and just typing out one’s story, letting it flow out page by page until it’s finished. Wouldn’t that be great?
The truth is that writing fiction is a complex task, even if you’re just banging out a short story. And if you’re shooting for a full-length novel, your storyline will get complicated, and your book will turn into a mind-numbing, convoluted mess if you don’t keep it under control. So, while creating stories is an art that most certainly utilizes your creative right brain, you must integrate the left to bring it all together. That’s why people who are equally strong in both brain hemispheres (not clearly dominant in one or the other) are often the most successful creative writers.
The task of writing by itself entails a lot of technical components. There’s grammar, spelling, punctuation, and sentence structure just to name a few. Then there’s the art of phrasing and word utilization to help make one’s writing “interesting” to the reader. Most writers have a distinctive “voice”, but it is their clever manipulation of words (both right and left-brained) that make it sing.
When you add the dynamics of novel-writing, those technical items multiply, as there are industry standards to adhere to, and they must be at the forefront of our consciousness as we write. For example, the point of view (POV) must remain consistent in each section or chapter, even when writing in third-person. That means every thought or opinion originates from a single character, and nothing about any other person may be revealed outside of what the primary character already knows or observes. In addition, the tense (past or present) must be consistent throughout the book, and there are hundreds of rules and guidelines about things like what should be italicized, where hyphens or ellipses should be used, when colloquialisms trump proper grammar, crafting active versus passive writing, and how to structure dialogue so it maintains a faced pace without making it hard to determine which character is talking.
Still, the hardest part about writing a novel is keeping the storyline straight, and I’ve always used an outline to help with that. At first, it gives me an initial road map to work from. But as great new ideas and changes pop up along the way, as they always do, a domino effect occurs, potentially affecting numerous other chapters. Perhaps an earlier event can’t happen anymore, or something different needs to happen instead to make the new scene possible. Maybe a character can’t say or do something because they weren’t part of an earlier incident, or something you planned for them to do later doesn’t make sense anymore.
But what do most of us do? We scribble down notes to go back and fix those conflicts later because we don’t want to squash the new momentum we’re riding. Then those notes start to multiply, and we end up with a colossal mess. Not only that, but we can’t keep things straight anymore, which leads to even more mistakes and storyline corruption.
My solution? Let the left brain take over and fix everything right now, as hard as that may be to do. Then edit your outline so it ties perfectly with the new story including all future outlined chapters that may have been impacted. That way, your outline will always be an accurate reference for where you are in the story including what’s happened up until now and where things are going. If you can’t work on your book for a period of time, you’ll know exactly where you are when you get back, and you’ll hit the ground running rather than spending hours going through notes and reading past chapters, trying to figure out what the blazes is going on. It may actually prevent you from walking away and never working on the book again.
Believe me. I’ve been there. And I don’t ever want to back myself in a corner like that again!
"James Bond Meets Fifty Shades of Grey"
Immerse yourself in the world class novels that combine action, mystery & suspense with tantalizing and tastefully written erotica. You’ll find all your sensibilities roused at once with Kevin Sterling’s ultra-sexy, action-packed Jack Lazar Series.
In this fourth action-packed thriller, Jack travels to Denmark for a business venture, but what seems to be a textbook transaction turns into a nightmare after he gets involved with Katarina, a vivacious Danish girl who apparently lacks a moral compass, not to mention an off button. After naively believing their liaison was just a random encounter, Jack discovers she’s connected to his business deal, and there’s a dangerous political group with skin in the game, too.
Katarina makes a convincing case of being a victim, not part of the conspiracy, but can Jack really trust her?
The firestorm gets out of control as Jack digs deeper, unearths the convoluted plot behind it all, and discovers that innocent people are being heartlessly killed. He’s not only horrified by the reason why it’s happening, but how it’s being done, and there appears to be no way to stop it from occurring again.
Then the scheme’s real objective emerges, launching Jack into action with intelligence operatives to prevent it. But that’s not so easy with assassins on Jack’s tail, forcing him to struggle for survival while trying to prevent Katarina from getting caught in the crossfire.
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Genre – Action, Mystery, Suspense
Rating – R
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