by Jasper Conway
Laura’s note: Today’s post comes from my favorite guest blogger, Jasper Conway. Jasper is a seventh grade student who enjoys a good story.
I’ve wanted to write a novel for a while. During quarantine, I knew I would have extra time. So I’ve been working on a novel called Midnight. So far, I’ve written about 16,000 words. Here are 10 tips that have helped me that may help you too!
1. Planning is good. When I came up with an idea, I wrote down all the characters and their lives. I thought up each chapter, and what would happen in each one.
2. Consider the hero’s journey. Many authors use this outline. The hero’s journey involves the character finding their quest, finding a mentor, discovering new places, and dealing with challenges including an internal one. The story reaches a climax and resolves. This is a good prompt to keep in mind.
3. Write first, edit last! Get your ideas out, just write. Then after you complete the writing, you can edit to your heart’s content. This way you have the entire story and can cut from there.
4. Write outside. During coronavirus, it seems scary to go outside. However, you should go outside, because the fresh air will let you relax. No loud sounds of children, but pure time to write.
5. Write in the afternoon. Many times, people feel that morning is the time to write. However, the best time is between 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. These three hours are the time when everyone is taking a break, so you can have some quiet. Many kids finish home school at this time.
6. Work around your children’s needs. Make a schedule. Many parents, including mine, have trouble working around their kids’ needs. Disruption can cause problems when writing. So make a schedule of your kids’ calls and your Zoom calls and other things. This way you can make sure you have a few good hours to write.
7. Don’t feel you have to write. When writing a book, you will feel pressured to write. I advise against this. You don’t have to write. Two hours of good writing is better than forcing yourself when you don’t want to write. Wait until you have a good idea.
8. Take a break. It’s okay to take a break if you’re slumped. Don’t force yourself into writing. The words will come when they’re ready, so relax. Remember writing a book is fun, not stressful.
9. Even a tree might help! When I’ve been writing my novel, something that helped me that seems crazy is…a forest. We hike through a forest and that helped me visualize a scene. Even the smallest details of a tree in your backyard can help you describe a tree in your story, or a couch, a chair, a table, and more. Use your surroundings to help you write your book.
10. Have a good snack. A snack is everything. Now that you have the time, the place, and a story, one of the most important things is a snack. A good snack can help you stay motivated to work!
Photo: Don’t blame Jasper for the state of mom’s office