These were my beginning steps, the ones I listed in my post “The Start” on September 16, 2018:
1. Set up a writing blog.
2. Figure out a working title for my upcoming Nanowrimo book.
3. Read three books for research to learn about wilderness survival, animals in the wild, and 19th Century witches.
4. Watch five horror movies to analyze tropes, plot points, and pacing.
5. Read Word Painting by Patricia McClanahan, and work the exercises to become a better wordsmith.
6. Write a brief synopsis of my Nanowrimo book.
7. Develop a detailed Nano outline during October.
8. Write my Nano book in November.
9. Become a supporting member of the Horror Writers Association on December 1, 2018.
10. Weeks one and two of December: Work on editing the first novel I wrote in 2018, a practice novel called The Witch of the Manor House. It’s horrible. Is it salvageable?
11. The rest of December: Take a break from writing, and read three literary horror novels.
With a tweak to step 5, I got ’em all done.:-)
Horror movies tend to end abruptly.
Regarding step 4, I learned that horror movies tend to peak at a terribly exciting climax, then end abruptly afterwards. Now that my mind is looking for it, I’d say most of the horror novels I’ve read lately are the same way. That’s good to know . . . whether I adhere to that practice or turn away from it. If there are any other newbies out there, I highly recommend breaking down movies and novels of your genre to discern their structure. It was super helpful!
Regarding step 5, I thought Word Painting was good, but some of the exercises were suited to more experienced writers. I picked up Stein on Writing by Sol Stein and found it more accessible. I will revisit Word Painting in the future.
It ain’t salvageable.
And finally, regarding step 10, nope, Manor House is not salvageable, but I do like the premise, so I’m going back to the outline and starting over. In fact, that’s my first quarter 2019 goal: Outline (which I’m doing right now) and rewrite The Witch of the Manor House.
Second quarter, I’m going to edit my 2018 Nano novel.
I’m excited about both the first and second quarter projects. Later this year, dare I say it? I expect to enter the query trenches. Even if I get nowhere, I think the experience of querying will be educational.
“Oh! Great Idea♥”
The feature image for this post shows two notebooks I use to brainstorm ideas for characters, figure out plot questions, and stuff like that. On the salmon-colored notebook, my daughter taped a little label, “Oh! Great Idea♥.” Wasn’t that sweet of her?
Well, gotta go beat that outline into submission!