Unlock the Muse – July 11, 2018

It’s the second week of July, and my Camp NaNoWriMo project is booming. I begin to wonder if I set my word count goal too low. But I’m sort of liking the no pressure fun, and the freedom it’s given me to really play with ideas. Though, my plan to finish drafting my novel has turned into plotting out the larger series. Work is getting done, however, so I’ll go with it. I’m working on my “deliberate prelude.”

Here’s your July 2018 week two prompt:

If you could be reborn during any time in history, which era would it be? Why?

Now, set the scene for a new historical story. Free write about the pros and cons of your chosen era. What sort of story will you set there? A romance? Paranormal western? Zombie apocalypse?

Getting through week two of a month long novel writing challenge might be the hardest. The newness and enthusiasm of week one has settled into the reality of a horrible first draft. By the way, all first drafts are horrible, so you’re not alone!

In No Plot? No Problem!, Chris Baty offers this tip for week two:

On days when you don’t have the time to write or energy for a full writing session, you can help keep your word debt low with quick writing sessions I call Check-Ins. These are noveling quickies where you just poke your head into your novel for twenty minutes or so, add a pinch of color here, an embellishment there, and then call it a night after 500 words or so.

It may seem like a pitiful drop in the bucket, but every word you write is one less you’ll have to tackle the next day. The main point of a Check-In, though, is to help you maintain a creative connection to your book so your imagination will continue to nibble away at the story until you sit down for the next full-blown write-in.

It’s grammar week! Though not precisely a grammar issue, in the “Elementary Principles of Composition” chapter in Strunk & White’s Elements of Style, there is this advice on writing:

Choose a suitable design and hold to it.
A basic structural design underlies every kind of writing. Writers will in part follow this design, in part deviate from it, according to their skills, their needs, and the unexpected events that accompany the act of composition. Writing, to be effective, must follow closely the thoughts of the writer, but not necessarily in the order in which those thoughts occur. This calls for a scheme of procedure. In some cases, the best design is no design, as with a love letter, which is simply an outpouring, or with a casual essay, which is a ramble. But in most cases, planning must be a deliberate prelude to writing. The first principle of composition, therefore, is to foresee or determine the shape of what is to come and pursue that shape.

Happy writing!

Please consider sharing your response to the writing exercise. Got a question? Just ask!

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