No matter how much you write or whether you have a quota, my advice is Don’t Stop. Don’t stop writing and don’t stop producing quality work. Your quality will improve and you’ll end up producing more material. Also, you’ll find you get even faster at writing without losing precious quality. For writers at all stages of their careers, the only way to get better is to write more. To learn by doing. Writers at all levels espouse different methods of improving quality, but in the end you’re going to have to discover your own path. Don’t stop looking for ways to improve yourself and your writing. There’s always something you could be doing better or some way you could tweak your writing style to improve the flow.
Do you write to a quota? If so, how many words do you write per day or per week? Let me know in the comments below and your comments could make it into my next video! To see the rest of my videos on the process of writing, social media, and the publishing industry, visit my Youtube channel.
In a recent panel discussion, NASA’s Chief Scientist Ellen Stofan predicted we would find evidence of alien life within a decade, followed by definitive proof within the next 20 to 30 years. I’ve talked about this previously, but it seems more and more respected scientists are coming out and talking about this. Now, I don’t believe NASA will find intelligent life within 20 to 30 years, but I can definitely see us finding microbes or vegetation of some kind.
However, there is one thing that I’ve been thinking about for a while now that bothers me. If we do find some form of alien life, in whatever form it happens to come in, how will that affect Science Fiction? Will our visions of the future be limited by what we know? Will the futures we write about be extrapolations of this ‘new’ world where knowledge of alien life exists already?
The premise behind a lot of Science Fiction is that alien life surfaces and most or all people don’t believe in it. If it starts being taken as a given that alien life exists, it will affect, necessarily, how authors write. If we do find alien life, there will surely be doubters, there will be new cults or religions formed, some may flee the religions that are currently out there while some others might flock to the religions to seek answers. There’s a number of ways this could go from a storytelling standpoint as well as from a ‘realistic’ standpoint. After watching the Batman V Superman trailer, it seems like Science Fiction is already changing to become more realistic given what we know.
Do you think we’ll find alien life? If so, in what form will we find it? How will the human race react? Has NASA lost it? Is Science Fiction doomed? So many questions! Leave your comments below!
Welcome to my guide on Novel Planning. Stay tuned every Wednesday for tips on writing, social media, and the publishing industry. If I can’t get around to a video, there will generally be a written blog on a new exciting subject!
I know some authors eschew the thought of video, so for those of you interested in reading the transcript rather than watch the video, read on!
“Hi everyone, I’m Trevor Schmidt, science fiction writer and general geek (General Geek). Today’s show is going to help you plan that novel you’ve been thinking about writing. So, break out that pen and paper and let’s get started.
These days it seems like everyone is writing a novel, but what sets apart the good from the bad? I’m willing to bet it’s planning. Today I’ve got a few tips to help you plan out that novel that will take your book to the next level. This will also have the benefit of helping to prevent writer’s block.
So, let’s get into it.
Step 1: The Synopsis:
The first thing I do when writing a story or novel is to write a one to two paragraph synopsis. This will help me later on as a quick reference guide. This also helps you if someone asks what your novel is about. Then you have a pre-made elevator speech ready to go.
Step 2: The Characters:
The next thing I do is write out a little bit about each character; just a short description and a little bit of backstory. This is something I often add to later because after I go through a novel I’ll be adding extra characteristics and then I’ll put it into that character description sheet so I can refer to it later on. Once you have your cast of characters sorted out it’s on to…
Step 3: The Breakdown:
One thing I’ve learned from experience is that I like to write about thirty chapters, give or take a few. For everyone else that might be a little different. One thing you can do is look at your favorite books or authors and see about how many chapters they write. Finding what’s right for you will be a little bit of a learning process. You don’t have to know exactly how many chapters you’re going to end up with, because this is just a starting point.
What I like to do with this is to write a paragraph for each chapter, and it’s just what happens. None of the technical details. The reason I do this is then I have a reference guide for when I write. Every day when I start writing, I can look back at where I left off and where I’m going. Having this quick reference guide is really helpful when you write yourself into a corner.
It is worth noting that I have never made it through a novel without changing this chapter breakdown. It is just a starting point. Sometimes not even this quick reference guide will help you. Sometimes you just have to write something sub-par and come back to it later with fresh eyes. That’s what the editing process is for. I’ve started every novel with these three steps and I’m currently on my sixth one.
Regardless of whether you want to use these reference guides later on, it’s a great exercise to help you really understand what your story is about and where you want to go with your novel. Sometimes just creating this reference guide is enough to give me insight into where I need to deviate from the plot in order to create a good twist.
I hope this short guide will help you as you plan out your novel. Subscribe to my channel for more videos in which I break down writing, social media, and that pesky publishing industry. I put out new videos every Wednesday so stay tuned for more tips.”
(Watch the end of the video for a special appearance by my cat, cringer. He’s a little shy).
If you found this guide on Novel Planning helpful, be sure to comment, like the video, and share it with your friends!
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