Writing on the Fly

We're almost finished with the first month of the new year. Hope everyone is having a great start to 2013!

Last month, I participated in a blog hop, where one of the interview questions happened to be how long it took me to write my novel (You can read it here). A few readers asked me how I managed to get the first draft down on paper in 90 days.

The short answer: horribly.

At that time in my life, I was having trouble adjusting to a move from the mid-Atlantic to Oklahoma. I turned to writing daily as a way to cope and keep busy. Great for my mind, bad for the story itself. I had only a faint understanding of plot structure and conflict. Which is why I wish I had the book pictured above.

Victoria Lynn Schmidt's Book in a Month is essentially a workbook jam-packed with motivating chapters and thought-provoking exercises that get you to delve into your novel. The prompts and exercises are meant to be practiced daily alongside the writing of your first draft. They start off with honing in your story's theme, followed by structuring the events into three acts. From there, you proceed to character development.

I purchased this book last summer when I had a deadline and couldn't use my usual pantser writing technique. I've found the information helpful in getting a basic outline down and understanding the characters. If I had been able to zero in on my protagonist's motivation in the beginning with my first book, it would have saved me a few less drafts.

The downside to Book in a Month is that it's meant to be used only once for each novel. Since you write in the book, you're supposed to go out and purchase a new copy for every subsequent first draft. Since I personally don't have that option, I've taken to putting my answers to the exercises in a separate notebook or computer file. It's probably easier to write in the book. That way you have all your notes to easily reference, but you make that call.

If writing nonstop for 30 days isn't your thing, this book at the very least gives you a solid workable outline for when you do start writing the draft. It's worth taking a look at.

Last year, I said I would take up the guitar as a New Year's resolution. Well, let's just say I took it up and put it back in its case. Are you keeping with your resolutions, lol?