Novel Writing 101 – Lesson 1 and 2

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Now that I am qualified as a Library Assistant and I have completed Styling Essentials, lots of new things are in the works.

I decided to take a novel writing course – a short one – online – so that I can further develop enhance my skills in that area of writing, so I am not just freely blogging, or typing away with no thought. Novel writing is not careless, it is complex, and there is so much to it that I thought it would be a challenge to take up a new course in something else that I love and am passionate about!

It is through Universal Class which is the same provider I used online when doing the Historical Fiction writing course online as well.

You start out with being shown what your Learning outcomes are, such as:

Defining what a novel is

Describe working philosophy

Summarize novel writing methods

Select a specific class to write about

Select a specific genre to write about

Select a point of view

Summarize manuscript formatting

Create a storyboard

Define the synopsis

Summarize 5 elements involved in fiction writing

Describe building character development

Describe plot/conflict development

Summarize plot requirements

Create the setting, theme, style and tone

Create the climax, identify critical scenes. Recognise cause and effect.

Create proper dialog and illustrative details

Write a conclusion. Edit and revise. Publish the work.

Lets begin with the first lesson!

LESSON 1

Definition of. a novel

“If there’s a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”– Nobel Prize-winning American author Toni Morrison

With origins dating back to poetic prose from thousands of years ago — Elizabethan times, fanciful French romance narratives from the mid-17th century, and episodic, central-figure adventures from the Spanish Don Quixote era — novel writing is an art form that has long been an integral part of our culture.

WHAT IS A NOVEL?

  1. A fictional prose narrative of considerable length, typically having a plot that is unfolded by the actions, speech, and thoughts of the characters
  2. The literary genre represented by novels

In our contemporary world, the use of “novel” has shifted to focus more on the central character, than on the plot. Also playing a defining role in the novel, is the sense of realism. novels are developed as fictional stories the underlying element inherent in all are truisms based upon human behaviour and the ways in which we interact with others.

Novel Features

As a whole, the three primary features of a traditional novel include:

  • A cohesive, believable plot structure
  • Well-defined, credible characters
  • A strong undercurrent of reality

It has been said that a work of fiction is measured by how well, or poorly, the author is able to unify the story and control its impact. Therefore, the only obligation of the writer is to make the story flow well for the reader, and have strong elements of interest.

Classic Examples

  • Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility (1811), and Pride and Prejudice (1813); 
  • Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre (1847); 
  • Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights (1847); 
  • Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter (1850); 
  • Herman Melville’s Moby Dick (1851); 
  • Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884);
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby (1925); 
  • Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises (1926); 

Can anyone write a novel?

wanting to write a novel, and actually writing it, are entirely different things. In order to produce a novel, you first will need to create a structure around your project, define your objectives, and prioritize this project in your life to ensure you follow it through to completion.

Novel Writing: Rewards and Payoffs

Attracted by the following rewards and personal payoffs, many people do go forth with their plans to write a novel.

  • Satisfaction of achieving a hard-earned goal.
  • Medium to utilize creative skills, which may not otherwise be used in one’s professional life
  • Opportunity to hone one’s writing skills
  • Forum to focus one’s ideas and life experiences
  • Area over which one does not need to conform to anyone’s standards or rules
  • Outlet to showcase one’s theories, ideas and creative visions (albeit masked within a work of fiction)
  • Ego-gratification endeavor, culminating in one’s name appearing on the book jacket of countless copies
  • Lasting legacy

Regardless of what becomes of the finished product — picked up by a publisher, self-published, bestseller, etc. — the fact that you stayed the course in writing your novel is something that will remain with you for your entire lifetime.

Committing to the generation of your novel, and seeing it through to completion, is an endeavor that will leave you with a new-found confidence that will carry over on to any project you put before yourself.

Ideally, the following chapters will help you feel more secure with the novel-writing process and, thus, better able to navigate as you head out on this memorable journey.

I had to upload an assignment

Lesson 1 Assignment

Here is what I did:

My favourite novel that I like to read is called The Governess of Highland Hall and the Author of the novel is called CARRIE TURANSKY

I am a sucker for English Historical Romance novels, and when I read this front to back, I loved it from the characters to the setting to the situations etc. It is a perfect and ideal novel to look at as it is my favourite english historical novel based in England.

This is one of my favourite books because I am a sucker for English Historical novels and out of all the ones I have read, this by far has to be my favourite because of the story, and the writing is so easy to read, yet so eloquent and very English at the same time without it being too verbose. 

It gives you a beautiful feel overall when reading, because of the choice of words, and the way it is written. The author puts words in a very articulate and expressive way through the characters view points and sets a delightful tone throughout the story. 

When the reader is reading this kind of book I believe that they would be experiencing something pleasant as even though there is a section with conflict, the way it is beautifully written, it would give a feeling of delightfulness, which is also captivating, enchanting, joyful and cheerful. 

I also had to submit three paragraphs for my novel and submit an Exam.

LESSON 2

“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: Read a lot and write a lot…reading is the creative center of a writer’s life…you cannot hope to sweep someone else away by the force of your writing until it has been done to you.”– Stephen King

Novel Writing Boot Camp 101

Writing Schedules”Try to write every day; if you don’t, you’ll lose the rhythm of your prose, as well as features of the plot, characters and, most importantly, your ‘voice’, the very timbre of the book that you are trying to maintain.” 
— David Armstrong, author of How Not to Write a Novel: Confessions of a Mid-list Author

Thus, in order to acquire a manner of discipline around your novel writing process, the first thing you will want to do (before mapping out the story lines, or fleshing out your characters), is to assess your project in terms of the total time it will require you to invest.

Once you have gained an idea as to the amount of time your novel will demand of you, you will then be able to determine when — during the course of your busy life — you will realistically be able to sit down, concentrate, and write.

if we were to effectively use the time on our writing that we spend aimlessly wandering the Internet or mindlessly watching television, then we should be able to carve out a sufficient number of writing sessions per week.

Focus/Motivation

After formulating a working writing schedule, you can shift your focus to the best ways for sustaining your motivation and ability to focus solely on your novel.

It is at this point that you may find yourself falling somewhat short in your ability to hold your attention throughout long, intense writing sessions. Fortunately, should you find this to be the case, there are numerous methods you can employ to increase your levels of concentration and motivation.Capturing your ability to focus on one activity for a sustained period of time, is something that can be greatly enhanced by integrating some form of regular meditation into your life. The simple act of learning how to sit still, and focus your mind, offers immeasurable benefits. Not only can it increase the satisfaction you derive on a daily basis, it can also contribute to your writing, in terms of allowing you to hold your thoughts for longer periods, and to explore multiple story scenarios without losing sight of the principle idea.

Helpful Novelist Tips

Chart your progress — Documenting the number of hours worked per day, and specific novel-related tasks accomplished, can be helpful in numbers of ways

Create an incentive for meeting your daily/monthly/overall writing goals — If you need to encourage yourself to stay on course, you may want to build in a series of goal-oriented incentives. 

upon wrapping up the entire novel, do something very, very nice for yourself! Go to the movies, buy yourself a new piece of jewellery, perhaps a pretty journal like I posted in my previous post, 4 Books to read this year in 2020. And buy yourself some flowers if no one else is going to buy them for you!

Good Health

As a whole, it is probably most important that, as you divide your time up among your family, friends, work, and writing, you pay attention to what you are eating, the amount of sleep you are getting, the time you are allocating to physical fitness activities, and the degree to which you are using stimulants, e.g., tobacco and caffeine.

While you are attempting to stay focused and encouraged, it is essential that you take good care of yourself to ensure that your productivity and the quality of your work do not suffer.

Lesson articles featured are:

How to overcome writers block: 14 tricks that work

Lesson 2 Assignment was:

Exercise: To get a realistic sense of the amount of work/time you will need to commit to writing your novel, take a few moments to look at your calendar and block out the day\times you can allocate to the project. You can begin by answering the following questions: 

1.  Realistically, how much time will you be able to commit per week to writing?

2.  Do you have an ideal timeframe for completing your novel?

3.  What types of activities, e.g., exercise, meditation, establishing calming environments can help you get and stay motivated during your blocked out writing sessions? 

I am about to submit this exercise tonight and then tomorrow will work on Lesson 3!

I showed you my example of my first assignment in Lesson 1.

In the comments tell me if you would enjoy doing a course on Novel Writing. Would you do Novel Writing 101?

What is your favourite novel to read?

Can you write Lesson 2’s exercise in the comments below?

Do you like to write during the day or night?

If you could quit your job and write for a living would you do it?

Emmalisa

Creating Characters


Hello everyone.

Before we dive into the next topic in the Writing 101 series, there is a housekeeping issues I’d like to address. I have decided that I will publish writing posts not once but twice a week. You heard correct. That is twice not once a week. These days are Monday and Friday. I am going to try my best to get one done and published on Friday which will begin this new routine. Now for this evening’s topic.

Characters

Every book (whether good or bad) has characters. It is not a book or a story with a cast of main characters and secondary characters.

As the title suggests, main characters are the ones that drive the story.

For example, Frodo and Sam in Lord of the Rings drive the story. The same goes for Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice.

What should an author’s characters look like? Most characters are shaped from the author’s experiences. They are a form of who the author knows and of herself.

Developing characters that are based on yourself is totally okay too. Many authors before us have done this. I have two examples of this.

The first comes from one of my favorite childhood authors: Madeleine L’Engle. She wrote the famous Wrinkle in Time series and the Vicky Austen series.

When asked if she was like her heroines, she responded that she was both Meg Murray from A Wrinkle in Time and Vicky Austen.

My second example is J.K. Rowling. Rowling based the character of Hermonine a bookish young red head on herself.

Now, how does one go about forming a character? Well, it is safe to say that it is good to start perhaps with a name. Then from there start describe the person. Does she or he have blue eyes? Brown? Hazel? What hair color do they have? Where do they live?

But characters are more than just how they look. You need to make them three dimensional.

What does that mean? It means you must make your characters as real as possible. Readers must feel as if they characters they are reading about are real. Like someone they have known all their lives. Otherwise they won’t care about the story.

A while back I came across a wonderful worksheet for writing characters. A worksheet that goes beyond just giving your character a name, eye color, and hair color but it goes deeper to help you flesh them out.

Character Chart

I hope you find this chart helpful. Please let me know how forming your characters goes in the comments below. I’d love to hear how it goes! I am also filling out this chart for my characters in my new story.

Comment below and I will share how it is going for me as well. Stay tuned for the next installment which will be coming out on Friday. Until then, happy writing!

This is part of the Writing Series, Writing 101 with Gabrielle Emmons. The first post was “How to start a novel”.

“How to start writing your novel” – with writer, Gabrielle Emmons


Recently I have been talking and collaborating with my very good friend, (a novelist and history enthusiast), an intelligent, studious and amicable lady who strives for greatness in her writing, Gabrielle Emmons. We have been talking a lot about writing in general and I came up with the idea of her doing a guest post on how she begins to write a novel. This is fantastic for those who are budding authors, ready for a new breathe of fresh air or something to their writing life.
I am proud to introduce her to my blog and with the upmost sincere thanks and gratefulness to have her feature on here.
You will find the full article here on her blog, Gabrielle M Emmons and you will also find that she works and keeps up with her own numerous blogs showcasing her work and authorship.
My absolute favourite blog of hers is Tea, Books and Britain because well, you know me! I have become the bit of an Anglophile! And the title is just Oh so perfect! And sums up my life basically. A cup of tea while watching “Escape to the country” or “60 Minute Makeover” has truly been the highlight of my afternoons.
Before I post her article I totally recommend for you to check out her excellent Book Review on “The Mark of the King”. This description on the back cover definitely makes me want to delve into it.

After being imprisoned and branded for the death of her client, twenty-five-year-old midwife Julianne Chevalier trades her life sentence for exile to the fledgling 1720s French colony of Louisiana, where she hopes to be reunited with her brother, serving there as a soldier. To make the journey, though, women must be married, and Julianne is forced to wed a fellow convict.

When they arrive in New Orleans, there is no news of Benjamin, Julianne’s brother, and searching for answers proves dangerous. What is behind the mystery, and does military officer Marc-Paul Girard know more than he is letting on?

With her dreams of a new life shattered, Julianne must find her way in this dangerous, rugged land, despite never being able to escape the king’s mark on her shoulder that brands her a criminal beyond redemption.

So, even if you haven’t clicked on that review, bookmark it or save it on your internet and make sure you get that little glimpse of a story of great and hopeful history. It truly has made me want to read it very soon!
In her Writing 101 – a new series blog post she states how we specifically have been discussing the idea on HOW to BEGIN writing a novel. It has truly been amazing talking with her about ideas and brainstorming and starting that novel in particular.
Now, let’s get started with her article which was published on September 12th 2017 on her History with Flair website. Grab yourself a drink (tea or water) and a notebook & pen or laptop. There is an activity at the end!

Many people have asked me how do I start the process for writing a novel. They have also asked me how do I find inspiration/ideas. So I thought I would do a blog series featuring writing. This is the first in the series and you can find more about it here.
So pull up a chair, grab your favorite beverage (mine is tea), and let’s get started. (Just a heads up there will be an assignment at the end of this post. But it shouldn’t be too bad).
First off, there is no one way to start the process of writing a novel. Each author has their own way of how to start that is unique to them. The key is to find one that works for you.
For example, some have a vague idea right away. Others have pictured a character or characters. Again, others have a couple of scenes already figured out.
It is all up to you.
For me, it varies. For my WWII novel set in England (which I have put on hold for now), I already had a vague understanding the plot.
For my Autumn themed story that is currently in the very early stages, I knew I wanted to have setting of the novel be during the Autumn months in MA because I love the Fall. I also knew who my main characters were.
Okay, homework time.
I want you to grab your favorite notebook and writing utensil. You can use your laptop if you prefer to type. I usually for this stage write it in a notebook and then transfer it to the computer later on.
Now, I want you to write down five ideas that could be potential stories. Don’t feel bad if you can only come up with one and two. It is a start.
The most important thing to remember is to have fun. Writing a novel should be fun.

How did you go with the activity?
I thought I would share one idea I came up with. Here is what I wrote:
Idea 5. Professor Wickman travels to London to start a new job at the City University of London. Committing his time and energy to his work and study is his priority and is all work, but through a period of time he learns to apply his work to excellence and focus on a project with his enchanting partner Lady Grosvenor from the affluent suburb of Mayfair. They eventually fall in love whilst working together and get married at St George Hanover Square.
It is not a complete idea but that is an example of ideas. First off starting with the main character, then a setting, place or particular location, the body and then the minor character fixed in there somewhere.
I skipped a whole part of what “could be” (a long plot) There could be so much more I could add to it and I am excited at the thought of creating a story again!
but I liked the idea of this so much I am thinking I am giving away a good story already! Well, that can be my next project!
Emmalisa