Wednesday, May 4, 2011
That First Novel
In college I studied teaching literature, not writing it. Two very different things. I have, ummm, one creative writing class (taken twenty-one years ago) in my how-to-write quiver. The arrows are dull, rusty, and ugly. Thankfully, superb writing helps landed in my quiver lately.
About a month ago, I met Lois Lowry. From all she shared, I gleaned this: Bring readers immediately into contact with characters and their conflict. Alright, my novel started in the wrong place. Characters in conflict first. Describe later.
Last week I read this blog post by Mary Kole telling me: Be careful about giving your novel a historical setting. Eek. That's what I write, middle grade historical fiction. Why? Because I love reading it. So I evaluated my story. Does my story need a historical setting? My answer: yes, mine does. Whew. Off the hook on that one.
Just yesterday I read this about MG main characters, warning me about who should rescue whom in MG novels. I evaluated who would (and should) rescue my character, save the day, and rescue others in my story. My answer: my MC should and will - at least in most parts of the story, everyone needs help sometimes.
Also yesterday, I read this about querying one's first novel. And thought, "Sheesh. I'm writing my first novel right now. Should a first novel be just practice?" I can't answer this yet. I'm hoping the answer is: No. Sometimes it's a good idea, but it doesn't have to be.
I'm hoping I'll be this Robin's Egg: when I hatch, eat enough, and gain strength, I'll catch the breeze and soar on my new, beautiful, strong wings. I'm curious, what kind of writing egg were you?