Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Writing a NIV: Progress Report II


Writing is a process.  Thinking about my own process helps me grow as a writer.  What works for me might not work for you, but maybe you'll find a few useful bits along the way.  I hope you will share your tips with me as well. 

Today, I'm sharing my prewriting. As you'll see, it took a few months of planning before I even started writing a first draft.  Here's what I did.

  • I've read dozens of verse novels because I enjoy them.  After several attempts to write one, I realized that I needed to go beyond reading for enjoyment and actually study them. I looked at one element at a time and took notes. Most verse novels are character-driven so I started there and examined things like: voice, behaviors, and character arc.
  • I did a lot of research to learn more about the issues and struggles my main character faces.
  • Next, I had an idea to get to know my main character. For many years, I've kept a journal. I believe that is where my truest voice comes through. So, I chose a spiral notebook that my eleven-year-old character would like. Everyday for a month, I wrote entries from her POV.  I let her decide the topic for each entry.  My NIV is inspired by my own childhood so she and I share a lot of  the same memories and emotions.  
  • In my personal journal, I wrote about why I the NIV is important for me to write, how it will serve children, and examined why the character had to be eleven years old.
  • Meanwhile, I looked through images on the internet to find pictures that were similar to the characters and setting I had visualized. 
  • I wrote several pages of character sketches.  These have been so helpful when I have questions about a character's thoughts or behaviors.
  • Then,  I made a map of the setting (and glued the house and other items) on a sheet of cardstock. 
  • Finally, I made a timeline of plot points.
All of these things went into a large 3-ring binder with labels for each section. I also included a second spiral notebook where I had been jotting notes and ideas for possible poems. I like structure so having all of these pieces organized in one place was essential as I wrote my first draft.

There are many ways to plan a novel. I hope you'll share some of your prewriting tips in the comments. 
Next week, I'll talk about drafting.  i have a few resources that you might want to check out. 

Thank you for reading and sharing.

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