This is the first in a 5 part blog on how to prepare yourself to actually get some keyboard time and hammer out the next great American (Horror) novel. First a little about the thought process behind this series. If you’re anything like me, you don’t get up every morning, make yourself some coffee, and automatically start writing. If you do, you’re either extremely disciplined or very lucky. Most of us have to carve out some time during our day somewhere in between work, school, time with our significant others, taking care of kids, social media mindlessness, and friends. THEN, you have to actually be in the mood to write. If that magical combination of sheer will, and opportunity arises, you want to be ready. First, I’ll explore some of the more serious aspects of preparation, then at the end I’ll cover some of the more fun examples.
So, on to # 1 – Desire. You have to WANT to write. That one should be easy. If you are a writer, then you know you were born to write, to create, to imagine a world and then map it out on paper or on a computer screen. If I’m not writing, I’m usually thinking about my current project, my characters, my settings, and my plot. I’m playing around with how different characters would handle situations, and how those situations would affect the other characters. Most of all, I strive to figure it all out and get it down in some kind of sequential order that makes sense and doesn’t have gaping plot holes. Let’s face it; we are basically world building. If we are writing fiction, those people, our characters, don’t actually exist. You might have one or two that are modeled after real people, but generally, they are conglomerations of many different peoples’ attitudes, prejudices, likes, dislikes, thought patterns, and probably quite a few of your own traits as well. This takes an enormous amount of thought and effort to think all of that through. Stephen King said in his book, On Writing, that writing is like an archeological dig. We work to unearth as much of the story as we can without damaging it.
So, how do you get desire? I’m not sure you can “get” it. I think you’re born with it and have to work your ass off to develop it, to practice it, and figure out what works and what doesn’t. You’ll know if you have that desire because you’ll be writing, every chance you get. It’s something you’ll have to do. The desire comes from making writing a priority in your life. You’re going to have to give up some things. That’s just how it works. There aren’t enough hours in the day to watch a ton of TV, play around on Facebook, Reddit, and Pinterest, play video games, have a social life, and then try to write a novel. Remember, you’re world building. Immerse yourself in that world, make it real, make it your own, see the bark on the trees, and the texture on every tombstone. Above all, have the desire to create meaningful characters. Characters are what get readers coming back. Because hopefully, if you did your job right, that world you created has become real to your readers as well.
Up next: Perseverance