Are you writing right? Think of all those books and workshops out there on "how" to write a novel. Maybe, like me, you've spent your children's inheritance and years of time looking for the key to doing it right. In other words, if you're going to spend countless hours, days, weeks, and months writing a novel, you want it to be perfect. Sorry to slap you with a wet washcloth~~but there is no "right" or "wrong". Even all the experts who tell you how to write disagree on the way to do it.
To outline or not to outline~~that's a biggie question. One says that it is imperative to outline from beginning to end, to create a detailed character profile with a lot of information you'll never need in the actual novel, and to spend lots of time in preparation before sitting down to write. Other's claim that outlining blocks the creative process; that it is better to have a general idea of your story and characters~~then just sit in the chair, pump out words and allow the story to unfold.
Which comes first~~the author or the book? Some insist that you must spend months, even years, building an "author platform" making yourself known to the world before even thinking of starting your novel. Others claim that you need to get busy with the task of writing and getting books out there; the more you publish the greater your chances of getting noticed.
Start early or work into the wee hours? Those who get up at the first light of dawn say that your most productive time is as soon as your feet hit the floor and before even brushing your teeth. You're allowed to get coffee to your brain cells if you absolutely can't function otherwise. Some say the best time to write is at the end of the day when all work is done, the world around you is asleep, and you're able to focus on nothing but your characters and story. An urn of coffee nearby is recommended. Still others claim that any bits of time you can find to write is enough to get the job done around cooking, cleaning, your day job, changing diapers, walking the dog, mowing the yard, in other words~~type or jot down a few words in between "life".
So what's a new novelist to do? Won't there be upheaval and chaos without rules? Maybe so if we're talking about society. But when it comes to the arts, chaos often gives birth to creativity. According to Mark David Gerson, author of The Voice of the Muse, rules can stifle creativity and kill the spirit of individuality. He believes that you'll be a better writer if you listen to your heart and walk your own creative path according to your personality and life circumstances.
Throw the rules in the trash, then? Not at all. The advice and teachings of those who have met with success is valuable. But rather than trying to follow a rigid set of rules that may or may not apply to your talents or circumstances, use them as guidelines. Rules trap you into a mold. Guidelines direct you with wisdom. Listen to what connects with your writer's soul, follow the wisdom of those who lead you on your creative path, write, and enjoy the journey.
Copyright (c) 2014 Carmen Myrtis-Garcia