“William Faulkner’s conviction that the writer’s duty is “to help man endure by lifting his heart” comes to mind — storytelling is still literature’s greatest duty.” Susan Sontag, Sontag on Storytelling, BrainPickings
Thoughts of my writing friends moved me to write this morning. Shout out to my friend, poet, scientist, and animal lover, Briahn. Another shout to Redwood Writers, a branch of the California Writers Club. We need inspiring and thought-provoking quotes. I hope you find in this post a kernel of encouragement.
I am a storyteller writing novel-length fiction.
Like most of you, I continue reading a variety of nonfiction in the form of news, writing craft advice, history, and biography. This day I find myself charmed by a post on BrainPickings. BrainPickings brings together both sides of my mind. Currently, it is the only email subscription I read daily. You might want to pop over and steal a few minutes to read the full post.
“Be serious.” By which I meant: Never be cynical. And which doesn’t preclude being funny.” Susan Sontag
“Serious fiction writers think about moral problems practically. They tell stories. They narrate. They evoke our common humanity in narratives with which we can identify, even though the lives may be remote from our own. They stimulate our imagination. The stories they tell enlarge and complicate — and, therefore, improve — our sympathies. They educate our capacity for moral judgment.”
By the way, I have thrown caution to the winds and jumped into my third National Novel Writing Month. Although I “won” the two years I entered, this year seems a wilder breast to get a handle on. On one hand, it does not matter if I write a 50,000-word manuscript again in thirty days but on the other, I want my Dog Leader Mysteries book two in good shape to go in 2018. Book one in the series sits on the editor’s desk, and hopefully, I will have a final draft off to copyeditors early next year.
Remember, it is not how many words you write.
Think of it as how many story arc’s you keep. Only keep the parts of story action, theme, and words in your story that matter. The revision comes much later. Keep writing forward in your first draft, add all the details the story needs.
Later, like months later, you will revise by creating a new document draft to fit your dreamed-first draft story vision. Keep going. You didn’t learn to walk in one day. No one writes a novel in one day either. One page, one step, and fall. One page, one step, and fall not as far. Two steps, find your balance in your story world. Look around inside, write what you see. Fall.
Write what you envision and keep going. Feel your story. Write each day in a state of expectation that your dream story can be caught on paper.
If you stop writing, don’t beat yourself up.
Be glad for starting. Be grateful for the story mind in you that wants to know the deeper story you write or want to write.
Get closer to your vision (outline or synopsis) in your story mind
Do not let go.
- Keep asking, where does my character want to go?
- Am I lifting my reader’s heart?
- What happens next in this story?
- What do my main characters want and need?
- Where do I see this story ending?
- Try out a few endings (early to see where it is headed).
Do you read novels? What fiction do you enjoy? Do you write stories? Are you taking on National Novel Writing Month this year?
Thanks for reading and sharing, Deborah Taylor-French
Don’t miss this Wednesday’s post by Cindy Grant.
You will want to see and read it. High-quality informative writing from a writer who loves pets. Plus fab professional dog photographs,