The New Years resolution at the top of my list is to finish The Black Sea, my novel in progress. And not just to finish it but to wrap it up in two to three months. Admittedly some of my motivation comes from all the New Years resolution posts I’ve seen from people to write not one but two or three novels this year.
Three novels in a year, seriously? If they can do that I can certainly bring this novel I’ve been struggling with for almost two years across the finish line. Lucky for me there’s lots of great advice out there about how to whip your messy draft into shape.
- Novels begin with first drafts, and for some writers, like me, that can be the hardest part. True confession, after two years I am only now nearing the end of my first draft. If I’d read How To Write A Successful 1st Draft (Without Stabbing Yourself In The Eye With a Spork) maybe I’d be done by now. Some much great advice here including, “The object of your first draft is to write a skeleton. An ugly skeleton. It’s to get all the scenes down and to get into your characters’ heads.”
- One of the hardest things about first drafts is that when you’re done you have the really fun job of tearing apart, oops I mean revising, everything you just wrote. In The Greatest Lesson I Learned in Writing This Year, YA author Beth Revis walks us through how she wrote “about a half million words just to find the right path” for the current fantasy novel she’s working on. And she did this while working on another novel at the same time. Wow!
- While your first draft is like a delicate flower that just needs to grow, once you get to the rewrite stage in addition to being willing to change everything, you should also weed out tired tropes and stereotypes. Things in books that should be left behind in 2016 points out many annoying tropes that occur in YA including the abusive relationship that is portrayed as romantic (Twilight), and the “Missing-in-Action Parents trope” that enables teens to save the world all by themselves.
- This might sound challenging but challenging yourself is what it’s all about, and YA writers are doing more and more of that. If you want some inspiration check out These 60 Diverse Books To Look Forward To In 2017.