I read a great article in this month's 'The Writer' magazine. I wanted to share a couple points from Jess Lourey's, A pyramid Approach to Novel Writing.
First off, how many times have you mentioned you're a writer and the person you're talking to starts gushing out storylines. They have a whole plot developed in their heads, but they've never written a word. Jess Lourey's article is about taking the next step and actually putting all that energy into a novel.
Her pyramid steps include:
1. Summarize your novel in one sentence.
2. Expand that one sentence into a full paragraph.
3.Create your characters.
4. Sketch your setting.
5. Develop each sentence from step 2 into a full page description.
6.Do a rough outline.
7. Write the novel.
I'd like to focus on numbers 1 and 5.
I find it very interesting that Jess starts out her process with a one sentence summary. For some reason this is what I always do at the end of writing. I have a whole plot in my head when I start off. I like her idea better. First, because that one sentence you write is what you'll use later on in pitches and query letters. And second, because it refines your idea. It is so easy to write a long run on sentence that turns into a paragraph. It really helps focus your thoughts if you condense. It leaves out all the other crap that is throwing you off track.
In her step five she mentions an idea I love. She says to "include at least two sound, two smell, and two feel details on each page." I'm now in the process of rewrites for The Ruby Pendant and I like the idea of having a little checklist to help. As an author it is important to show and not tell. I think her advice will help in this area.
You can check out "The Writer' magazine at http://www.writermag.com/ .