Getting writing help

As you know from my previous post, I intend to write a novel this year. I wonder who of you has the same desire. Feel free join me in this experiment and give your own novel a try.
I have bought Louise Doughty’s A Novel in a Year and plan to work through this week by week. While I will not post the content of her book (for obvious copyright reasons) I will post my writing in response to working through her weekly suggestions. Her book is aimed at helping you get ideas and draft material for a novel. Why did I choose this particular book over other equally helpful writing guides? I guess this one spoke to me, to my style of and ideas about writing, plus I like the idea of working through week-by-week tasks – it breaks down the idea of writing a novel into achievable steps, and I have a strong feeling that this will be both useful and exactly what I need.

A Novel in A Year

Here are the details of her book: Doughty L., A Novel in a Year, Simon & Schuster UK Ltd, London, 2007.

Whenever I post writing in response to one of her tasks, I will always mention her book so you are fully aware of what prompted the writing.


Exercise 1 (from A Novel in a Year):

The day after my eighth birthday, my grandmother told me that I was to be given a great opportunity. I was live in a castle with a princess, to be part of a royal household, to have a warm place to sleep, good food to eat and well-fitting clothing to wear. I thought it was another of the fairytales she spun me and found myself caught up in the fantasy, imagining myself a lady at court. But then she began, each day to add layers to this tale and make physical preparations, patching my coat for travel, stitching charms in the cuffs to secure my safe journey and herbs in the hem to dissuade biting insects. My imagination turned fearful; I didn’t want to leave my home and couldn’t understand why my grandmother wanted me to go.
Perhaps it is also worth noting that I complete these tasks as you would, spontaneously. I don’t self-censor, I don’t edit – they may be raw and rough and (like the one above when I re-read) pretty terrible! But, I have an idea and it won’t come to fruition without giving it a go. Plus, as I often told my students, sometimes you just need to get the rubbish out of the way so you can find the gold! Sometimes we would brainstorm and just write everything out randomly as things surfaced, simply to get it all out of our heads – then we would shift out the rubbish and see what was left to work with. On occasion what I was left with would be a shopping list or a list of tasks that I needed to compete, but once this was down on paper, I could get to being creative – I just had to get the daily more tedious things out of the way first.

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