A NOVEL JOURNEY
Writing & Publishing A Novel
“If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write.”
Stephen King said it better than I could have. One of my favorite parts of beginning a new project is that it forces me to read more which may sound counterintuitive. But I assemble a stack that fuels the novel process in a variety of ways.
Research – Popular wisdom advises to write what you know, but we all have blind spots. In this case, botanical folklore fit the bill for an area I haven’t read but might provide more depth and texture to my story.
Voice – Books in the appropriate genre help with tone and vocabulary. For this book I need to revisit a few of my favorite MG authors like Kelly Barnhill, Katherine Applegate, and Cindy Baldwin, all with beautiful authentic voices.
Inspiration – This particular story intricately links nature to storytelling, so I hunted down magical poetry collections and not only writing about animals but instruction on how to draw them. (I love doodling in the margins of my stories, but I’m a stick figure gal so a little help doesn’t hurt.)
Writing a novel certainly takes time, but don’t forget to carve out reading space so that your toolbox is full!
I love magazines.
The old-fashioned hold in your hands, roll up and stick in a purse, ink smudges all over fingers kind. My addiction began with Highlights. Then there was Seventeen that published short stories by Joyce Carol Oates and Jodi Picoult alongside the best back to school clothes. I embraced my inner edginess with Sassy, and now Bella Grace and Breathe are scattered through the surfaces of my house.
This is how I write.
I forage for images, moments, inspiration, ripping out pages and tossing them in a silver mesh bin on my desk along with my own iPhone pictures extracted with a handheld printer. When it’s time to write, I grab handfuls and piece them together like a puzzle. Sometimes I already have the inkling of a story, and the images flesh out that inkling. Other times, I wait for something to make sense.
So, the picture above is my novel, or at least the novel to come.
It’s a mess right now occupying the space of a person at my dining table. I’ll take notes tomorrow. Outline. Invent names for people and places. Try to make sense of an idea that’s been rattling around my head for some time paired with this pile. It’s sort of wonderful, the moments before the novel is set and stone when anything could happen in the pages I write. Literally, anything.