Sunday, June 1, 2008

How That Novel Idea Becomes A Novel by Jim Ross

One day you wake up and announce to the world that you would like to write a novel. Pardon the pun, but that is a novel idea. At some point in time that is what everyone dreams about. Let's face it; we all have a story to tell, don't we?

In reality though, how does it all really come about?

For me, the writing itself is relatively easy. The sentence structure; the punctuation; the correct spelling are all general tools that don't cause much of a problem for me. And I assume that is true for a lot of other writers.

In my opinion the challenging part of writing is dreaming up the topic. It takes much thought to come up with a story line and develop a plot. Creating scenes is a taxing exercise of the mind. Putting the actions in a readable sequence is also tricky. The story must flow and force the reader to stay interested enough to turn the pages.

In my personal experience it may take anywhere from a few weeks to several months to figure out how I'm going to make a story work. Once I identify the subject matter that I want to write about a subconscious energy sort of kicks in. Even though I continue to live daily life, the inner thought process is constantly at work trying to figure out the details of the story.

One trick that I found was that exercise helps me to reach a state of relaxation that allows for my mind to reach an open phase. While jogging I have found that the demands on the respiratory system and muscle groups have allowed for me to reach a freedom from within.

Another valuable time of discovery is in the middle of the night or shortly after awakening in the morning. For some reason the mind is not clogged and burdened with the goings-on of everyday life. Still another mind-enlightening time is while I am driving down the interstate in my car. During those moments I have found that it is always a good idea to have a pen and pad of paper easily accessible to jot down ideas.

At any rate, as I mentioned earlier, the time that it takes to sort events out in my mind varies. One of the things that I love to do is create characters. I can actually see them and hear them. Once the scenes are figured out and put into the proper sequence, then I have the freedom to place my characters into the action and have them deliver the message of the story.

It is fun to create twists and turns as the story is delivered. It is enjoyable to place hard-to-attain hurdles in the path of a main character as he or she travels on their journey. It is pleasurable to exploit their weakness and make them vulnerable to the actions of the other characters. Most of the characters have some sort of a purpose. Even if it is merely wallpaper in the action of the story, they seem to fill out the scene is some way, shape, or form.

So, in a nutshell, even if you decide to sit down and write a novel, just remember that it takes a great deal of planning to actually decide how the story is to be told. It is so very important to have an orderly procession of events and actions that follow in a logical manner. Characters have the freedom to deliver the message. The trick is putting them in situations that allow for the message to be delivered in an entertaining and meaningful way.

Good luck! Writing is a fun exercise of the mind. You'll find that it becomes a little easier if you do some sort of pre-planning before you start. After all, when you take a drive in your car it is always better to have a destination in mind. Otherwise you merely wander aimlessly.

About the Author:
James Ross, a University of Missouri-Columbia graduate, went to a keyboard and let the words flow through his fingertips. Lifetime Loser is his first novel. Consumed by the writing bug, he is working on more books. Visit James Ross.

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