Monday, February 4, 2013

90-Day Novel Project Update 2

  From Kate's Writing Crate... 

              I'm now on Day 35 of the 90-Day Novel project.

Days 7-28 follow the same pattern as Days 1-6 that I wrote about in my first 90-Day Novel Project post. Author Alan Watt shares his thoughts and insights on a variety of topics then asks his fellow writers to answer two or four open ended questions, spending five minutes on each question.
Watt addresses problems some—or most—writers face as well. He also provides support to strengthen his readers' resolve to finish their novels. On Day 7, he states, "We are uniquely qualified to tell our story. Everything we need to know to resolve the dilemma at the heart of our story lies within. Our job is to maintain a spirit of curiosity." On Day 8, he continues," If our hero is at peace at the end, be curious about where he is not at peace in the story. If he's willing to share intimacies at the end, be curious about the secrets he is keeping within the story. This gives him a dramatic arc. It gives him somewhere to go."
On Day 13, Watt shares, "Story structure invites our subconscious to organize a host of disparate ideas into a coherent narrative that leads to a transformation. We are seeking to imagine a story that becomes bigger than we are, where we step back with wonder and say, 'Where did that come from?"'
On Day 15, readers are also assigned to read Alan Watt's novel Diamond Dogs. On Day 22, readers look at a story structure analysis so they can see how Watt's prompts, thoughts, and insights apply to a novel. He welcomes readers to start working on their novels after Day 22, but recommends waiting until Day 29.
In 28 days, I'd only answered the assigned questions. However, I put a lot of work into my novel's characters, backstories, plot, subplots, and settings.
After Day 28, there are writing assignments, but no more prompts and questions. Watt switches to support and cheerleading. On Day 34, he says, "Even if we don't understand why it's being written, we can trust that when we've completed our first draft we'll begin to see patterns that will lead us to a more specific understanding of our story."
On Day 35, Watt notes, "Expecting too much too soon can be a fatal mistake. Of course we should strive for excellence, but excellence in the first draft involves dancing with the muse, not self-flagellation…"
What a lovely goal: dancing with the muse. It sounds so much more fun and easier than writing.
Trust in the process. Get your story down on paper. That's what matters.
What I most love about this book are Alan Watt's thoughts and insights. He takes you at your word that you want to be a novelist and that you are willing to put in the work. He is a mentor sharing what it takes to complete a novel successfully with those ready to write their own.

My next update will be Monday, March 4.
How are your novels coming along?

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