What I have learned from Dead Novel Ideas

I don’t usually write like this. My Medium profile (cheeky link) has been made of poetry and short stories, however, with NaNoWrimo on the horizon, I felt compelled to share some lessons I have learned about writing novels. I doubt this advice will be unique, in fact, its probably the same crap under a different title. I write this article with hopeful optimism that it will finally click for people that this advice might be worth following

  1. Don’t listen to the inner critic.

I have a killer inner critic (he has caused me to delete this article 3 times already). I haven’t given him a name that I can share to the public, if you have suggestion please do share. I learned quite quickly that an inner critic is counter productive and if your not careful it will start to creep into other elements of your life. My first piece of advice to you is to not to listen to it. Your story will not be perfect but if it was perfect it wouldn’t be worth reading. If everyone work was perfect, we would have the same uniform bullshit in every novel. Flaws in stories is what makes the story interesting, it engages the reader because your world is flawed like their own. It might inspire said reader to take the concept and try to make it better (that’s where my novel idea has come from).

2. Don’t get bogged down in planning.

Planning isn’t for everyone, I don’t like having instruction when I am writing, hence I haven’t planned my novel extensively. Even if you do enjoy planning, don’t overdo it , give yourself room to be flexible. I have learned there is one rule to writing “make sure the character sticks stubbornly to his values”. Which swiftly brings me to my next point

3. Give your protagonist values he sticks to throughout the story.

Every interesting story consists of a protagonist who has an uncompromising moral compass. I recently watched A Bridge of Spies, the story of a lawyer who leads the hand-off of a Russian spy for an American drone pilot.

Be warned, there is a small spoiler ahead…

Hanks risks the whole deal at one point in the film to save an American student who was arrested earlier in the film. Hanks’ character had spent the whole film following the traditional American values. I was gripping the chair hoping that the film wouldn’t betray the character by letting him settle for just the one American. Although the story is based on a true story, Hanks’ character is textbook example of any good protagonist in a fictional story. Stubborn to the end.

That’s my lecture. If you want to be my writing buddy on NaNoWrimo (you will be part of a very small circle) then my profile is here. Thanks for reading.