(I was going to blog about stuff related to Swords Versus Tanks (so about swords and tanks, mostly) but I’m busy editing Episode 3 (“Pyramid of Blood”) and NaNoWriMo is here…)
The writing process is always a cycle of trial and error, call it “create and tinker.” Humans are better at problem solving than inventing in a vacuum. No surprise, then, that the real story building usually happens in the tinker phase. Unfortunately, most new thoughts apply to characters and plot, e.g. we look at the scene we just wrote and realize it would be better with ninjas, and if the main character lacked her right foot. Sure we can write the rest of the book as if that were now true, but as the changes accrue, most of our first draft becomes condemned, which seems… inefficient. This is why I like outlining.
Like Winter, NaNoWriMo is coming and aspiring writers are even now planning to do a Frazetta on the whole business of writing a novel. This is great — momentum is all — but it’s way too easy to grind to a halt or lose time going round in circles trying to reinvent the wheel.
I wrote a book on all this, but some of my previous blog entries might also help you avoid dead ends and rampage through your novel to the very end — I promise you both an affirming and life changing experience.
So, here they are in digest form:
Some Writing Advice That’s Mostly Useless (And Why): The following writing advice is mostly useless — “Work on your motivation,” “Revise, revise, revise,” “Have a chaotic life,” “Just write,” “Know grammar and critical terms,” “Practice skills in isolation.”
World Building Historical Fiction using Military Thinking: Don’t fall down the rabbit hole of research or worldbuilding. Instead use a layered approach, focussing your world building as you descend from Strategic (villas exist and can be raided for supplies), through Operational (this villa sits on this ground amidst these fields), to Tactical (here is the ground plan of the villa and here are the people guarding it) level.