Page name: NWW Step 1 [Logged in view] [RSS]
2011-06-26 14:36:24
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NWW Step 1

A part of Novel Writing Workshop

Goals and Assignments
Find/develop a topic
Share topic on forum <joinforum:34:NWW> (Novel Writing Workshop)



As you may remember from our prologue, one of the most important parts of writing a novel is having an idea. It's very difficult to write a whole story about something you're making up along the way. That works for some, but not for us (especially if us includes me, a person very lacking in creativity).
We want to make something up before we jump into the writing process!
Therefore, for everyone who doesn't have an idea yet, I have gathered some resources that might help you come up with one.
1. Don't try to come up with a bestseller/masterpiece/genius/perfect idea. This will only make you stress out and reject your own ideas. It won't take you years to write this novel, thousands of writers do NaNoWriMo in one month! You won't lose anything by writing a novel that ends up not meeting your standards. You're bound to get something from the novel you can reuse, if only the practice.
2. It's okay to pull on real life experiences. Perhaps you hear something in your history class about a pharaoh that sparks a story in your mind - historic fiction! Run with it! Maybe your friend's relationship would be fascinating but you just want to tweak this one little thing...tweak to your heart's content! Life is the source of all stories.
3. Personal investment. You have to like the idea/want to write the idea.
4. Make note of the things you're curious about. What if prostitution was a respected, legal profession in all nations? Would they hand out business cards at cocktail parties? What if Mesoamerica had never been invaded by the Spaniards? Would the Inca and Maya be advanced civilizations with the rest of us? You get the idea. Novels are a great way to explore your curiosities.
5. Ask a friend. Sometimes the least writerly people comes up with the greatest ideas!
6. More to come.
Plot Generators - A nice idea/plot generator with some character ideas. - Has a basic little plot generator on the top right of the website home. - Has a lot of fun generators listed under "Story Inspiration." Try them all out, you may get inspired! - Slightly more hands on, fun generator for multiple aspects of your story. - Straightforward generator - Humorous and simple detailed Dan Brown sequel generator ;) - Has lots of generators, including plot, character name, character profile, first line, and more. - Not the prettiest website, but it has a nice generator that lays the information out in some basic outline necessities: introduction, conflict, development, climax, denouement.
Getting a Feel for Genre
Here are the fiction genres listed at Barnes & Noble's website (minus a few that don't apply for us):
Christian Fiction
Gay & Lesbian
Historical Fiction
Literary Criticism
Mystery & Crime
Science Fiction
Teen Fiction
War & Military Fiction
Women's Fiction
Because I love you, I have gathered the current top five bestsellers in each of these genres (with a little adjustment). You'll notice that there is some overlap. Why have I done this? Because good writers read.
What can you do with this list? I suggest one of two things:
A. If you have an idea, pick out the genres you think your book might find itself and skim or read a book or two from each.
B. If you don't have an idea, what do you know about? What are you good at writing? What do you love writing? Pick some genres, skim these books, spend an afternoon at the bookstore and just read the first, middle, and last chapters of each. You may find that you'll read one and suddenly feel like you've finally found your niche, the place where your writing style and topic choices are very normal. If nothing else, you'll get some ideas.
Christian Fiction
The Shack - William Paul Young
The Twelfth Imam - Joel Rosenberg
The Screwtape Letters - C. S. Lewis
The Chronicles of Narnia - C. S. Lewis
Hidden - Shelley Shepard Gray

The Sunset Limited - Cormac McCarthy
Complete Works of William Shakespeare - duh
For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf
A Raisin in the Sun - Lorraine Hansberry
A Doll's House - Henrik Ibsen

The Vampire Chronicles - Anne Rice
Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
Pleasure Prolonged - Cathryn Fox
The Mammoth Book of Best New Erotic (v. 3) - various authors
All Jacked Up - Lorelei James

Paris Was Ours - Penelope Rowlands
I Remember Nothing - Nora Ephron
What the Dog Saw - Malcolm Gladwell
Me Talk Pretty One Day - David Sedaris
Holidays on Ice - David Sedaris

Gay & Lesbian
Sing You Home - Jodi Picoult
Holidays on Ice - David Sedaris
Push - Sapphire
In My Father's House - E. Lynn Harris
The Glass Menagerie - Tennessee Williams

Historical Fiction
Water for Elephants - Sara Gruen
The Land of Painted Caves - Jean Auel
Sarah's Key - Tatiana de Rosnay
Half Broke Horses - Jeannette Walls
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - Mary Ann Shaffer

Killer - Stephen Carpenter
A Discovery of Witches - Deborah Harkness
Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King
Hollowland - Amanda Hocking
Immortal - Lauren Burd

Other People's Love Letters - Bill Shapiro
Saul Bellow: Letters - Saul Bellow
Public Enemies - Bernard-Henri Levy
Letters to Jackie - Ellen Fitzpatrick
Letters to a Young Poet - Rainer Maria Rilke

Literary Criticism
Deconstructing Obama - Jack Cashill
The Book Whisperer - Donalyn Miller
The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide - Stephenie Meyer
My Reading Life - Pat Conroy
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings - Maya Angelou

Mystery & Crime
Tick Tock - James Patterson
Treachery in Death - J. D. Robb
Millenium Trilogy Series - Stieg Larsson
Dead Reckoning - Charlaine Harris
Worst Case - James Patterson

A Discovery of Witches - Deborah Harkness
Pale Demon - Kim Harrison
The Land of Painted Caves - Jean Auel
River Marked - Patricia Briggs
Dreams of a Dark Warrior - Kresley Cole

Science Fiction
The Second Ship - Richard Phillips
Immune - Richard Philllips
Swarm - B. V. Larson
Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card
Out of the Black - Lee Doty

Moon Dance - J. R. Rain
A Discovery of Witches - Deborah Harkness
The Wise Man's Fear - Patrick Rothfuss
Shadowfever - Karen Marie Moning
Dead Reckoning - Charlaine Harris

Teen Fiction
Hunger Games Series - Suzanne Collins
House of Night Series - P. C. Cast
Lorien Legacies Series - Pittacus Lore
Witch and Wizard Series - James Patterson
The Mortal Instruments Series - Cassandra Clare

Millenium Trilogy Series - Stieg Larsson
The Twelth Imam - Joel Rosenberg
I'll Walk Alone - Mary Higgins Clark
The Book of Lies - Brad Meltzer
The Given Day - Dennis Lehane

War & Military Fiction
The Things They Carried - Tim O'Brien
Matterhorn - Karl Marlantes
The Art of War - Sun Tzu
The Lotus Eaters - Tatjana Soli
Valley Forge - Newt Gingrich

True Grit - Charles Portis
Blood Meridian - Cormac McCarthy
Threads West - Reid Lance Rosenthal
One Thousand White Women - Jim Fergus
The Brave - Nicholas Evans

Women's Fiction
The Land of Painted Caves - Jean Auel
The Weird Sisters - Eleanor Brown
The Help - Kathryn Stockett
The Forgotten Garden - Kate Morton
Sarah's Key - Tatiana de Rosnay


Your Assignment

Keep that idea fresh for NWW Step 2! I can't tell you how many times I've come up with great ideas while driving or jogging or something and told myself, "Oh, I'll remember it" -- I didn't. Don't count on your memory, write it, record it, email it, whatever you have to do, but don't forget it!
Share your topic with the rest of the NWW workshoppers at the forum: <joinforum:34:NWW> (Novel Writing Workshop). Fellow workshoppers respond with positive feedback and brainstorm ideas for how topics could be further developed. Please do not tear others down or criticize.
Go back to NWW Prologue
Go back to Novel Writing Workshop
Continue to NWW Step 2

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