Why is it so hard to write a novel, and especially hard to sit down and write your first novel?

Because you’ve never done it before.

Any endeavor can be extremely difficult for a beginner.

But the more you do — or even the more you sit at your computer and think about writing even if you don’t do any actual work — the easier the process becomes because you are becoming mentally psyched up to do it.

And one day you’ll discover that it’s not so hard after all.

How can I write the first chapter of my fantasy novel as a scene that happened 8 years previously?

 There are two ways and either way works well:
  1. Write the scene as a prologue instead of as a chapter. It’s done all the time and it works great. The only thing to remember if you use this technique is not to make the prologue too long because, for some reason, readers are turned off by a really long prologue and will simply skip it and get to the book itself. Even if the prologue is essential to the story and you do your best to make sure the reader understands that fact, they still tend to skip it if it’s too long.
  2. Write the first chapter as a ‘flashback.’ This is usually done by using the first paragraph to set the scene that the present/real action is in and to kick-start the flashback. Then the last paragraph in the chapter brings the reader back to the present.

About rain — rainbows — writing — stories of wonder.

It’s raining today. Sort of raining, just enough to get everything wet and make me not want to go outside and stand in it because I’d get chilled and soaked, though the ground will still be thirsty when it ends because it’s not coming down hard.

Still, considering we’ve been in a ‘red flag’ event for a while — forest fires so likely that it’s scary — I love that it’s raining. Love it.

Perhaps one of the things I love most about rain is what comes afterwards. And that’s a rainbow. Once in a while the rainbow is double, making for double the wonder and double the beauty.

I always feel lucky when I see a rainbow, and if you’ve ever seen a double rainbow—two rainbows on top of one another— it’s an amazing sight.

But triple and even quadruple rainbows are possible. Okay, maybe they are found more often in scientist’s labs than out-of-doors after a rain, but they are still beautiful. Scientists in a lab used water droplets and a laser to create a 200th order rainbow. I can only imagine what that was like!

But I’ve tucked the idea and a gorgeous mental picture in the back of my mind because I fully intend to use it in a future story.

Imagine a world where seeing a rainbow is considered good luck and a double rainbow would bring double the good luck. Then imagine a character seeing a rainbow to the 200th order.

What a story that would make. Will make.

More about black cats. Yep, there’s more.

Black cats are as easily adopted as cats of other colors.

Although euthanasia numbers for black cats have been some of the highest of all cats, their total number of adoptions was the highest of any hue as well. There may just simply be more black cats than other colors.

Furthermore, the Black Panther movie has made black cats so wildly popular lately that animal shelters are often not able to provide all the black cats people want.

So does it surprise you that I chose a black cat as one of the main characters of my latest small-town romance, A Very Black Cat?

Of course it doesn’t and if you read the book, you’ll see why he’s so perfect for the role he plays in the story.

How can I get readers to relate to a non-human character in a story?

 

I suspect it’s the ONLY way to describe a character because, as humans, we don’t know how to describe anything other than ourselves and, fortunately for writers, that includes a huge range of characters from the most lofty, nicest characters imaginable to the worst scum of the universe.

How do I write a science fiction short story when I don’t have any ideas on what to write about?

 

No, I didn’t steal the stories themselves, that would be impossible when all that was given was a one or two-sentence blurb giving a general idea what they were about.

But they gave me ideas that eventually ended up becoming my own stories.

Sometimes I’m sure I changed the endings, though that was usually impossible to know since the endings are seldom given away in those brief descriptions.

I probably also changed the protagonists to suit my whims and the needs of whatever story was beginning to form in my imagination from reading those brief descriptions.

Still other times I’m guessing that I changed the settings, time frames, socio-economic status, family situation, age or sex of the protagonists. Again, I’ll never know because such things are seldom explained in those short descriptions.

Whatever I did, each and every change made the story so significantly different that the result was never even remotely recognizable as the story that provided the inspiration.

I wrote for the women’s market so I looked for women’s stories. If you want to write a science-fiction story, then look to that genre for inspiration.

The picture is the cover of one such story I wrote.

And good luck to all you writers out there.

Does writing exhaust or energize you? What are some common traps for aspiring writers?

 

Traps for new writers? They are all mental:

  • Thinking you’re not good enough, which is a trap because writing is a craft that, like every other craft, can be learned.
  • Thinking that your writing is good enough ‘as is’ and falling in love with your own work to the point that you’re not willing to change a single word. Or sentence. Or paragraph. I can’t count the number of times I’ve mentored a new writer whose work would have been wonderful — and more than up to publishing standards — IF they’d have been willing to rearrange or eliminate a few words. Okay, a LOT of words. Because new writers tend to use way more words than are necessary!
  • Thinking that you just write what you want to write and it will be published and read by interested readers. Wrong! Publishers — and readers — want to be able to find what they are looking for easily and that means looking in familiar categories for something that they will like. So if what you write falls easily into some genre — any genre — you’re good to go. If not, you’ll struggle to find readers.
  • I’m sure there are many more but those are the ones that come immediately to mind.

Another interesting factoid about black cats. (They are healthy.)

THE GENE THAT CAUSES BLACK FUR MIGHT MAKE THESE FELINES RESISTANT TO DISEASE.
The mutation that causes a cat’s fur to be black is in the same genetic family as genes known to give humans resistance to diseases like HIV. So perhaps their color has less to do with camouflage than disease resistance. Scientists hope that as more cat genomes are mapped, we may get a step closer to curing HIV.

Hummmmm. Any black cat owner could tell those scientists that black cats are — well — special.

Black Cats. Gotta love ’em.

There’s a lot to love about these black, fur-balls as evidenced by holidays in their honor. What, you say? Holidays just for a specific color cat?

Yep.

The ASPCA celebrates Black Cat Appreciation Day annually on August 17.

In England, October 27 is National Black Cat Day.

I mention these because my latest clean small-town romance features a black cat. In fact the title is A Very Black Cat. I didn’t know when I sat down to write the book just how the cat would play against the other, human, characters but it worked out just fine.

Of course. Because Little Guy is a cat. Need I say more?

Check it out:      http://www.Amazon.com/dp/B07BTGN58M

 

I’m trying to write a plot line for a book but I keep on overthinking it and eventually hating them. How do I see it through to the end?

2. Describe a second main character in the same way.

3. Describe any other MAJOR characters the same way. Don’t worry about secondary characters, keep a note pad handy to scribble a description as they appear in your story. (This will save time and effort if you never need that character.)

4. Write down the problem that the whole story revolves around. Again, no more than a few sentences, one is usually sufficient.

5. Write down when your main character(s) begin to engage with that problem. No backstory, no long, boring description of scenery, just jump right in with the action that pertains to the main problem of the story.

6. Write down the solution to the problem. This might take several sentences but usually only one or two.

8. Jot down a paragraph describing the scene that will get the story started. That’s number 5. This is the beginning of your story.

9. In a sentence each, describe as many scenes as are needed to get from number 5 to number 8. Number 8 is the ending.

One caveat: long stories need lots of scenes, short ones only a few. If you are writing a novel, look up ‘story-boarding’ and use that template to make sure your reader doesn’t get bored in the middle.

A second caveat: don’t overthink it. A scene can be described in one sentence and not need to be fleshed out until you are ready to write that scene. This way, you don’t get frustrated by trying to get every detail figured out in advance. And you’ll find that many times your story will change as you write it so not having gone into a lot of detail will mean you didn’t do a lot of extra work.