5 Things I’ve Learned (So Far) While Writing My First Novel

1. Freewriting is fun but when you’re creating a long, complex novel, outlining is your bestfriend. I started writing this novel with just a few basic plot points and as I wrote, I sort of just winged it. The story has since revealed itself to be more complex and longer than I anticipated. I thought it’d be just a novella but this baby is well over 30,000 words and I’m not even halfway done and I’ve taken down notes of more stuff I want to add during the revision process. I believe my writing process wouldn’t be as tedious if I’d created a well thought out outline before hand.

2. It’s best to have more than just a few characters. I’ve fallen in love with my main characters but my main characters need some help conveying the whole story. Since the start of my rough draft, I’ve added about ten new characters to my story. Not every one has a huge role but they are extremely important because they help populate my fictional world, one that I am trying to make as vivid as possible. Not only that, they help with the cohesion of my scenes.

3. Research your supernatural elements. Magic is a prominent theme in my story yet I only knew a few things about the metaphysical details I wanted to apply. If your magic system is closely related to real world practices, do yourself a favor and research as much as you can. Watch Youtube videos, read some books and talk to people. We want our work to be as authentic as necessary.

4. Find a well-seasoned author of your chosen genre and analyze the crap out of their writing. Pay attention to how they set up their fictional world, how they set tone and which literary devices they utilize. I suggest your author of choice be especially inspiring to you.

5. Know your literary conventions. And to know your conventions, you have to identify what genre(s) you’re work best fits into. Romance novels have different attributes than horror or crime novels. These attributes are what define romance and readers buy them expecting some romantic stuff to pop off. My readers will have certain expectations of my supernatural thriller so I have to make sure I deliver (just have to make sure it’s not too predictable or cliche).

I hope these tips have helped. Thank you for reading 🙂

– B. Brown

How to Create an Internal Mindset Conducive to Writing | Jane Friedman

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.janefriedman.com/mindset/amp/

There are two mental settings that are particularly relevant for writers:

  • Fixed or growth mindset
  • Abundance or scarcity mindset

Jane makes a very important point on her post. If we are constantly learning and growing, so will our talent and creativity. We shouldn’t worry about tapping out. We also shouldn’t assume that just because something has been done already, it wouldn’t be worth our time telling a story with our own voice. Our perspective is unique and that’s what makes people want to read your ish: your personal style. Being too critical and wondering what the next guy is doing will only stunt your creativity. That’s why mindset is important. 

Too often we second guess ourselves and our work, but our individual work is all that we can produce honestly. Don’t second guess yourself, improve yourself and find out what you need to do to make yourself stand out.

Write every day and you’ll find your way.

– B. Brown

(image courtesy of Pinterest) 

Showing and Telling

There is a difference between telling a story and showing a story.

Telling:
The wife left the house in anger.

Showing:
She glared at him, before snatching the ring off and throwing it at his feet. The windows shook as she slammed the door behind her.

Neither is better than the other although most creative writers aim to show what’s happening, to paint a picture that provokes interest. There are times, though, where it is best to tell. Maybe to avoid extra fluff or maybe to simply report something. It depends on your intention; it’s all up to your discretion. Just be mindful about what would be the best way to mediate your concept.

– B. Brown

(art: Woman writing, 1934 by Pablo Picasso)

3 Quick Writing Tips

1. Find your witching hour. What time of day or night are you most open and honest with yourself? When is your brain is most cooperative and your heart most willing to spill the beans? You have a rhythm that is deeply influenced by the rest of the universe, I promise. You have low and high points. Steady and sporadic beats. Perigees and apogees. Pay attention to yourself and you’ll realize your peak times.

2. Find your totem. And it doesn’t necessarily need to be a silver spinning top like DiCaprio’s. Just something tangible that you can hold that’ll help you tap into deeper areas of yourself, something that triggers or soothes the way you need it to, no matter what, something that will help center you where you need to be, no matter what; an anchor. It helps. I have a little rose-quartz elephant that aids me emotionally.

3. Fix your social media diet. Have you ever felt weighed down by your social media feeds? There’s always that one person who puts out nothing but negative remarks. Or how about those six major news channels that report how tragically the world is burning – in high definition? Is there too much violence, sadness or death in your feeds? That shit effects your flow, I’m so not sorry to say. Broaden your horizons. Expose yourself to the better parts of this world that still remain. Change your diet and fill your feed with affirmations, kittens and beautiful people doing beautiful things. It’ll raise your frequency. Don’t be distracted by the evil. No, no, Satan, not today!

I hope I’ve helped some. It took me a long time to learn these things and I’ve grown from them tremendously. And if you guys have any tips you’d like to share, lay them on me.

– B. Brown

(book sculpture by British artist Bronia Sawyer)