Have you thought about your creative goals for this coming year?
If you’re planning to write your novel, here are 12 maxims that will guide you to the end of your first draft in 90 days.
1) When you stay out of the result, you move in the direction of your story.
2) Story involves a transformation. There can be no transformation without surrender.
3) Your idea of your story is never the whole story. It’s not that your idea is incorrect, but that it is incomplete.
4) You are a channel for the story. When you hold your idea of the story loosely and allow your characters to live, your perspective on the story widens.
5) Character reveals plot. By staying connected to your characters’ primal drives, conflict arises, and the plot thickens.
6) By allowing your writing to surprise you, a coherent narrative gradually reveals itself.
7) When you try to figure it out, you tend to kill the aliveness of your characters. Then your story flat-lines.
8) When you explore the nature of a moment or scene, you connect to what makes it universally relatable.
9) By exploring the opposite direction of where you believe your story ought to move, you are led to a more dynamic and clearer version of the story.
10) When you see your characters as functions of a universal dilemma rather than real people you tend to loosen your grip on how they ought to behave, and consequently they appear more like real people.
11) Story is malleable. When you stay connected to the ineffable impulse that got you started, the order of events may alter. Characters might be conflated, scenes added or deleted, but the essential story will remain the same.
12) In creating a story, you cannot make a mistake. Everything you write either belongs or is leading you to what ultimately belongs in your story.
Let this be the year you write your novel.