Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Listing of 6 Writing Rules for Fiction

     With NaNoWriMo coming up next month I thought it might be useful to share some writing rules to follow. Remember, do NO editing, revising or even thinking about the grammar and stuff while you write for the month. All you need to do for this month is write, write, write. The goal is 50,000 words for the month, but if you really get into it you could easily write a lot more. Last year I wrote over 85,000 words in November. The book I wrote was Odessa. The one being published in April 2011!

     These are some writing hints that are a bit more than hints. They are more like rules if you wish to end up with a product worth revising and spending the time to submit for publication. These rules apply to every genre.

1.      1-Include conflict with tension – every story has these and there’s a good reason for that; without either the story is boring. Before you write word one have a clear conflict in your head and outline several steps of tension you will follow to build suspense
2-  2-Start the story at the beginning of the story – NO backstory or descriptions. Begin writing the story with the ACTION that starts the story. Once the reader is hooked you can introduce a backstory and character description.

3.     3-Don’t tell too much too early – provide hints and foreshadowing to build reader curiosity.
4-  4-Make sure you have planned a story arc as well as character arc. Before writing you need several basic items planned out and written down so you can refer back.


Inciting Incident: what causes the story to become a story
First Plot Point: The Set Up; What makes the main character become part of the story, how do they become aware of the problem


Second Plot Point: The Response; What causes the main character to accept his problem
Climax: The Attack; The turning point of the story-the main character handles the problem which ramps up the tension


Resolution: How does the main character fully resolve the problem
Denouement: Final wrap-up for all characters concerned

5.      5-Include information, dialogue and description that relates directly to the problem and the solving of it. Do NOT include description or dialogue simply because you think it’s beautiful or funny. If it doesn’t push the story forward – DON’T USE IT.

6.      6-Lastly, REVISE, REVISE, REVISE. There is no time appropriate time frame for how long you should spend revising, rewriting, editing (and yes, they are all different). It depends on your story and your skills. It also depends on how many times you’ve done it. My first book took two years because I hadn’t a clue what I was doing. My last book took two months.

I'm adding some links for you to go to the NaNoWriMo Young Writers' page and sign up http://ywp.nanowrimo.org/user/register;  http://ywp.nanowrimo.org/howitworks;  http://ywp.nanowrimo.org/resources



Mayra Calvani said...

Great advice, thanks! I might do nanowrimo this year.

Rebecca Ryals Russell said...

Thanks Mayra. If you decide to do it look me up and we'll be buddies. I'm Vigorio on NaNoWriMo.

Pat Dale said...

Excellent article, Rebecca! I wrote an 88K saga two years ago that is being published by Muse January 1, 2011. Your points are concise and spot on. Thanks for sharing with us.
Pat Dale

Cheryl said...

Excellent article. Thanks for sharing.


Karen McGrath said...

This is great for planning, thanks Rebecca!

Last year I began NaNo with my story and character arcs and wound up so far off my plan but with a better story. No matter what you need a starting point.

NaNo helped me stop editing long enough to smell the flowers and get the story written. It's last year's NaNo that's getting published this spring. NaNo really works.

Best wishes to all who are doing it this year. My id is Karen McGrath if anyone wants to be writing buddies.