Tag Archives: writer

Writing outside the outline

I planned my novel. I planned for a month, writing notes, character sketches, plotting the novel chapter by chapter and now I’ve found myself writing a whole chapter that I didn’t plan. Ok so, there was a secondary character, a friend of the protagonist, who I had previously sketched out to include in the novel. I didn’t know when she would appear, then I didn’t know if I would need her at all and now I’ve written a scene starting her and the protagonist.I know this secondary character is needed, but I feel a little uneasy that she took up a chapter…well 4 pages when I wasn’t expecting it or hadn’t planned her at this point. But I’m happy that she has made her entrance because she will come in handy later.

I’m still plugging away slowly at writing out the plot. I know that what I’ve written so far isn’t very deep. Its the surface level, the first draft of a plot. I will have a lot of work ahead of me for the next round of re-writing. Maybe I should hit the pause button and really think about how I can write more in depth with the protagonist and her conflict. I should print off a big sign that says “CONFLICT” and “ANTAGONIST” and “SETTING” as reminders to keep these things present in the story because for the moment they are quite scarce.

Progress so far:

  • 70 pages written (hoping to make up for my missed target last week)
  • wrote and unplanned chapter 8 and made some notes of scenes to write in chapter 9

I can’t think of any “Novel Writing Tip of the Day” because I haven’t thought of anything useful lately. I am feeling particularly novice in this whole novel writing business and I should start looking for a writers support group or something to keep my motivation up.

Cheers to all those writers who have finished their first draft!


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Identifying the Antagonist

Doing more reading than writing lately, I’ve discovered a small problem. Before I began writing, I knew the general storyline and what the central conflict was going to be, but what I didn’t create was the antagonist. Yes, its seems logical for most people that all stories should have an antagonist, but for some reason I had mistaken my conflict for the antagonist and so here I am.

Thinking about this predicament, I tried to identify an antagonist. I had developed and introduced a character in the story already who could serve as an antagonist. The issue is that this character cannot be the one and only antagonist driving the whole story to its climax. This antagonist is part of a bigger picture.

Unfortunately, I’m not writing fantasy or an good vs. evil story so this is where I am stuck. The antagonist  was supposed to be a place, but as far as I’ve read, a place doesn’t qualify as an antagonist. It kind of has to be a person. So I will use my already in play character and make her the antagonist who will represent the place as well. How’s that? Not enough details to know right?

Enter the antagonist: The protagonist’s boss at work. So far she doesn’t play a large role, but I will have to make her more present and make her be more “antagonistic.” It will take some creativity, planning and beautiful execution for me to be able to pull it off; the antagonist being a person who also represents an “place” or “an idea.”

Sounds more complex than what I was going for. I wonder if it will work. I will think about it as I continue to write out the plot for the first draft.

Progress so far:

  • 68 pages (missed 10 page target per week)
  • started chapter 8
  • discovered major issue: lack of antagonist/conflict driving the story

I will keep chipping away at draft 1. Hopefully by the end of this draft, I will come up with a way to make into a real novel with all its respective parts.

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Plot, plot, plot

I was on a role. I had preplanned a few chapters in advance. As I started writing today, I realized that having one or two events planned per chapter isn’t enough to go off. Its hard to keep the plot going. How do you fill all the space between the scenes with engaging narrative? I need to entertain the reader while they read what’s going on in between the dialogue.

I guess the main problem comes down to the plot and character development. My characters have specific jobs and a good portion of the story takes place in an office. How exciting is that? Not. So what can the characters do that is interesting besides talk to each other? Reading about someone working is not entertaining, unless they are a sexy fashion editor, PR person or some other glamours job. And even then the writer has to be super creative in making the plot progress. I find myself writing similar things in each chapter because going to work is somewhat routine.

How do author’s write an interesting and entertaining story from beginning to end? There are a bunch of entertaining scenes, but how does the author move from one scene to the next while still keeping the readers attention?


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Opposite of writer’s block

I don’t know what to call it other than the opposite of writer’s block. I don’t necessarily have a flow of idea, but the storyline if filling out. I think that if I could make the time to dedicate a solid 3-5 hours of writing, that I could make some serious headway. I sat down this evening to write and I had filled four pages in no time.

I have finished chapter 6, which is pretty short and I wrote a few notes of what to cover in chapter 7 and even some notes for chapter 8. This is good. This is good I tell myself. I just need to make the time to write. I am doing well of keeping on track. I’m still making my 10 pages per week.

This is the hard part of having a full-time job and writing in the evenings. But I better not count my chickens too soon because the scary slow period could kick in at any time. For now, I will enjoy the flow while it lasts and will try to write whenever I have a free moment.

If you have a full-time job and are writing on the side, do you write in the early mornings or in the late evenings? How do you make the uninterrupted time to write?

Progress so far:

  • 54 pages
  • Planned out chapter 7, just need to write it now.

Research shows:

I need to find a pen name and I need to find one now! Any potential readers need to have someone they can identify with. They will never remember “An Author’s Log”. Readers need your name so they can easily find your work. I have a pen name that I’ve been mulling over for a few weeks now. I think I’m just to nervous to fully commit to it yet.

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