Pile of library books and DVDs for research on Steampunk and 19th Century India
Sometimes the most difficult part of writing a story is believing in it. Not believing that every word that drops off your fingertips is awesome, but knowing that eventually you can make the story into something worth reading. Here are my tips on how to build that faith into your work.
I Can Fix That
Learn your craft with the zeal of a lioness after a zebra. Or a young man after the girl of his dreams. Or a monk fervently seeking to know his God. (Pick the analogy that works for you.) Learn how to craft fine sentences, even better stories, and invent characters, settings, and image systems for your novel. These are the tools of your trade, and when you have a secure handle on them, you will be able to say to any criticism or self-doubt, I can fix that.
Write a Crappy First Draft
This is my NaNoWriMo motto, and one that I hand out frequently. I just read a quote in @WriMo about Pixar, a company famous for making very high quality films. In essence, it said that everything awesome, starts out crappy, and you have to Trust your process. I have to remind myself of this every, single time I start a new story. It doesn't flow off the fingertips awesome; I have to make it that way in revisions. (See the first tip.)
Nail Down Your Fears With A Steak Knife
As I'm writing Third Daughter, my steampunk fantasy romance NaNo novel, I'm having bouts of terror because 1) I love steampunk, but I really have no idea what it is, 2) I'm writing 19th century Indian Steampunk in an alternate universe, which apparently only THREE other people in the known universe have done, and 3) I'm not feeling the voice yet. It's really the last one that scares me, but it's related to the first two. So, I sat down and free wrote until I realized my fear was that this story would take more research than I expected, and I didn't have time to do that AND write the story. I pinned that fear to the table with my pen, went to the library for some research materials (see above picture of library booty), and already feel better about the story. In other words, I trusted my process, which at the moment was demanding more research. (See the second tip.)
I hope these tips will help you get through your NaNo writing, or whatever writing mountain you're currently climbing.
I'm off to watch a DVD called Vanity Fair:
"The corsets and high waists of the 19th century meet the lush colors and visual splendor of India..."Okay, maybe FOUR people have actually written about this before... and I believe I can be the fifth. :)