Friday, 2 November 2012

How to Write a Serialized Novel

Materials Required: Cork board, post-its, map pins, pens,
mug of hot liquid, laptop

Prepare – Write a big chunk of the book before you post the first chapter. Otherwise you risk being unable to produce Chapter 2 which could lead to an inferiority complex and the belief that you're a useless writer with no ideas. The latter may be true but there’s no need to let the world know.

Get out of bed – Obvious and yet often quite tricky. You must resist the urge to melt into the warm embrace of your partner, cat, dog, chimp, water bottle, pillow... Do not be fooled by the voice, inner or otherwise, that calls out for ‘Five more minutes’. Before you know it 5 minutes have turned into an hour of strange dreams and your writing slot has come and gone. Remind yourself that the reward of completing a serialized novel will be much greater than a few more minutes cuddling someone or something that you may well be cuddling for the rest of your life anyway.  

Fuel – Put the kettle on while your computer is warming up. A hot tea will replace the cuddles you have sacrificed by getting up early. Tea, in this case, refers to any hot liquid in a mug, including coffee, perfumed herbal stuff (although I can’t recommend it) and water with something in it, like a floating lemon, slice of orange or spoon of honey. Don’t be too imaginative, you need to save your imagination  for your upcoming chapters.

Write  - The first hour is crucial. Do not check your mail, do not tweet, do no comment on banal facebook statuses, do not comment on interesting facebook statuses, do not ‘like’ anything. Write. Write. Write. Don’t edit, don’t reread. Don't play about with the font. Don't text people to tell them that you finally did it, you finally got up early to write. Just write damn it! 

Edit –  Edit a chapter a couple of days before you post it. For the purpose of continuity you might need to read the whole book from time to time. It might be that you've forgotten your character is supposed to have a limp, in which case you’ll need to reinstate it (he’ll forgive you in time).

Trust – Your pre-written chunk of novel provides a buffer when you get stuck. When this unhappy time comes and you’re staring at a blank screen with tears in your eyes and demons in your mind, keep calm. ‘Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen,’ said the essayist, Ralph Waldo Emerson (along with a bunch of other people on twitter). You have committed to this project and you will finish it. Sit on the floor with your cork board of post-its and trust that an idea will come.

Spray Painted Banana story board looking healthier now & ... on Twitpic

My serialized novel SPRAY PAINTED BANANAS is live on 
I post chapters every Monday and Thursday.

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