National Novel Writers Month

It’s the first week of NaNoWriMo.  Have you started working on your novel yet?  You should and soon.  You may love to read, but find it difficult to put together a novelette, much less a full length novel.

What topic to write about is one of the toughest questions.  First you start on one, then switch to another before even making sense of the first.  There are so many great topics out there that need someone, anyone, to put them into words.  After a burst of writing for a week, you look back at your progress and think “I haven’t made it anywhere.”  You parse your scraps of stories and wonder “How can I piece some of these together to make a decent story under my deadline?”  You realize that this piece can go with that piece, and then if you write another page or two you could link them to another piece.  Finally you have something resembling a story.  But it needs polishing.  You rewrite it and come in just under deadline.

Then after it’s all done, you look around and realize you still have disconnected scraps of stories waiting to be linked to something.  “That’s OK,” you tell yourself.  They can be used in another story.  Perhaps another story can be written around them.  Maybe only a short story, but short stories can be expanded with time.  And the process starts again.

But before you can start on that story, you need to solidify the topic.  For all you new writers out there, there’s an old adage:  “Write about what you know.”  And then there’s the not so old one: “Write about what you want to know.”  If you are the curious type at heart, the latter is the better choice.  By writing about what you don’t know you will be learning all sorts of new and fascinating information.

Still can’t figure out the topic?  Then listen to your conversations with other people.  What do you talk to them about?  If you talk to others about it, you must know it fairly well or you’re learning about it.  Was there an off-handed comment made by the receptionist that triggered an idea? Expound upon it.


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