You may be confused by the title of this post.
“Yonder?” what does that even mean?
A far distance.
Honestly, when I plan a novel, I might write a summary of the chapters or an overview of the book itself. I write down the main events and what should have happened by the end of the book. Also, I’ll jot down new characters and what changes characters will undergo throughout the book. Then, after research and adequate preparations, I actually write my book.
And guess what? I could probably count on my two hands how many times I look at the summaries and plans while I write my novel.
You can plan, plan, and plan, but no matter what, your fingers will write what you will them to. Oftentimes, I’ll add something big that wasn’t even planned! I might look back at characters changes and such, but I know how the book is going to end. As I write, I remind myself that This has to happen, so this cannot happen, and I must make sure this is resolved before that is.
The point is, I stay on course, but I add in extra stuff as I go along. Now, this is my technique. Some people routinely check their plans and have them intricately written out. Personally, I want to let my imagination soar…
but NOT wander… over yonder. (No, seriously!)
Don’t laugh just yet. Many writers, including myself, will get so caught up in writing that we forget what we’re writing about and why we’re writing it. It’s like your book is a train. You have to keep it on the right track, or you’ll fall off course. It may be a common analogy, but it’s true. As I wrote about in a previous post, focus is the key to staying on track in your writing. It may not be the most important thing when writing your novel (check out my last post!), but it is very crucial. Therefore, to keep your book on track, check out these tips:
- Does your story make sense? Check out my friend’s post about plot holes and cliches here. If your story has multiple spots where it just doesn’t make sense and confuses the reader, then you probably have plot holes.
- Are you still moving toward your common goal? In my novel, The Queen’s Messenger, Sawyer Princeton’s main goal is to deliver a letter. I have to keep her on track throughout the story while enhancing her love life and character. Also, I have to keep it interesting with other minor conflicts.
- Are your characters changing? If your characters are staying the same, then your book is off track. Your characters need emotional and physical battles!
- Are your descriptions consistent? I have a lot of trouble with this myself. Do you call a character’s eyes blue in one chapter and green in another? You can go back and fix this type of stuff later, but it does matter.
Now, there is the beauty of editing. Upon finishing your first draft, you should definitely go and check to see if your book stays on track. The longer the novel, the harder it can be to stay on the right course. Check for all of the imperfections. Remove all of the “dead ends.” If the scene doesn’t improve your book, take it out. Editing can be a cruel process (maybe I’ll talk about editing more in a future post), but it is necessary. I’m still learning how to properly edit my novels. If you are writing for NaNoWriMo, make sure you stay on track and edit your work at some point! Quality is even more important than word count.
As a side note, the title of the post was inspired by an animated Disney show called Wander Over Yonder. Not that I take much interest in the show, but I do feel that the title of it reflects the bizarre style of the show.
Perhaps, with focus and lots of editing, you will find at least an inkling to becoming published.
Until next time,