Getting back behind the typewriter keys…

I must admit that writing a novel is one of my favorite things to do when it comes to my own personal writing. However, even though it is a challenge, I wish that I could write and publish a novel once a year.  Sounds like a great concept in my head, and I am up for the challenge.

I have been notorious for challenging the writers that step into our cozy office here at the Peppertree Press to write a novel, if they haven’t already.  Perhaps they write children’s books or poetry, and have never written a novel before in their lives. So, to challenge your writing skills and to step out of your comfort zone by writing something completely different would give you that “stretch,” so to speak.

 Perhaps using your own life experiences, and basing your novel on a topic you know or lived and fictionalize it. Most of the authors that I have challenged look at me in total shock, and either take on the challenge or not.  

“It’s easy,” I will add with encouragement in my voice and a “you can do it” attitude while offering some easy tools of the trade.  Just start with a clean sheet of paper and write. It is your choice, pen to paper or keys to keyboard, first person or third person. The only thing that matters is that you start the writing process. Will you choose a mystery, a romance or perhaps a little of both?

Once the first word is written, then the question is how dedicated are you as a new novelist to stay on a daily writing schedule?  I asked that question of myself just recently and now I am asking it of you, the novel writer reading this blog.  

Just like blogging, it is a commitment to stay true to your schedule and daily routine of writing while incorporating other wonderful things like working, family, friends, dinners, appointments, laundry and all that lies between.  

I have been writing my third mystery novel, The Ribbon Key  for quite a while now, and I must say it is difficult to even admit to myself how much time has passed since I had clicked the keys on my keyboard.   Let’s just say that my 31,000 plus words have been sitting on the dusty shelf far too long.  I can honestly say that I was getting frustrated with myself for not finishing this book. What was keeping me from continuing to write?  At the time I was on a roll and literally hit the breaks.   So, I came up with a plan to get me back on track, and hopefully you as well.

Print out your manuscript – all finished chapters including your notes.

Your notes can be paragraphs that you had written in-between your chapters…those paragraphs and ideas that you had come up with and literally had no clue as to where to place this  paragraph.  This is totally normal, I promise.

Hint:  Highlight them in yellow and push them down in your manuscript for later use.

Once your pages are printed, reread each chapter out loud and make copious notes By reading your chapters out loud it will help you determine if you are stumbling over words and if your sentences flow.  If you, the writer is stumbling on your own words, chances are your reader will as well.

  • By reading your chapters out loud, it will refresh your mind of the direction you were going back when your book was not covered in dust.  By reading your chapters over again, your characters will creep back into your brain and you can reintroduce yourself to your characters, and all of you can become acquainted again.
  • It would be a good thing if the characters that are swirling around in your head wake you up in the middle of the night and surprise you with the next chapter idea.  Because of this in the middle of the night interruption, make certain there is a pad of paper and working pen on your nightstand…just in case.
  • Get some index cards and list your characters, describing their role. Their characteristics, backgrounds, family members, job.   Title it “Cast of Characters,” listing them in the order they appear in your manuscript. Even though some of them might have a small role to play, still list them. They are still a character and there is a reason they are on the page and included in your story. They might just come back up as a witness to a crime or the whodunit part to your novel.
  • List out all of your loop holes from each chapter endings that leads you to the next chapter and gives your reader that I want to turn the page feeling.  It is our responsibility as writers to keep the reader interested and turning those pages to ultimately get the surprising ending.

Once you have done this your creative juices will be back on track, you will be writing happily behind your typewriter keys and keeping your pages dust free.

Until the next time we chat,

Keep clicking the keys…

Julie Ann

We welcome you to reach out to us, stop by our office for a chat, take the grand tour of our website and find out how you can turn your manuscript into a published book. (941) 922.2662

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