I hope you’re enjoying your spring. My post today is actually a list I call “12 Maxims of The 90-Day Novel.” These are twelve things to consider while writing your first draft:
1) When we stay out of the result, we move in the direction of our story.
2) Story involves a transformation. There can be no transformation without surrender.
3) Our idea of our story is never the whole story. It’s not that our idea is incorrect, but that it is incomplete.
4) We are a channel for the story. When we hold our idea of the story loosely and allow our characters to live, our perspective on the story widens.
5) Character reveals plot. By staying connected to our characters’ primal drives, conflict arises, and the plot thickens.
6) By allowing our writing to surprise us, a coherent narrative gradually reveals itself.
7) When we try to figure it out, we tend to kill the aliveness of our characters and our story flat-lines.
8) When we explore the nature of a moment or scene, we connect to what makes it universally relatable.
9) By exploring the opposite direction of where we believe our story ought to move, we are led to a more dynamic and clearer version of the story.
10) When we see our characters as functions of a universal dilemma rather than real people we tend to loosen our grip on how they ought to behave, and consequently they appear more like real people.
11) Story is malleable. When we stay connected to the ineffable impulse that got us 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, we cannot make a mistake. Everything we write either belongs or is leading is to what ultimately belongs in our story.