Writing a novel is quite an undertaking. Trying to put a deadline on yourself is nearly impossible. I recently participated in the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo.org) which is a world wide competition to simply write a story of at least 50,000 words during the month of November. I succeeded. This success was documented while I was writing. So what is the next stage? Well first, I have to get people I trust and respect to help edit that work. I have heard that the best method is to let a work set for a while to mellow. I disagree, at least for me. I want to have some sort of finish.

I have found my initial editor in my wife. Although she does not write herself, she is an avid reader of every genre. Besides being well read and well educated, she also has no qualms about telling me when I am wrong. Being a writer also requires a thick skin. I do not understand the stories of writers who have all of these demands and how they must be treated with kid gloves. They are just people like anyone else and should behave as such. Of course if I become rich and famous author, this opinion may change.

My next task is to keep writing. The best way to do that is to just jump right back into it. I have not set a new deadline, and I don’t have NaNoWriMo to help me now. I have decided to change my genre completely. My first effort was a romance. It is hard for me to admit that, but the fact cannot be avoided. My new effort is definitely science fiction. I have many more characters with major roles. I am also trying to be much more diverse in the personalities of my characters. I will continue to try to avoid too close of association between my real life relationships and my characters. Some association cannot be avoided. We develop our ideas of self and others through our personal contacts or plagiarism from other sources such as literature, television, radio and plays. The best we can do is avoid direct copying, from life or from other sources.

During my first Endeavour, I had the benefit of being on travel for work with plenty of time in the evenings, plus hours on airplanes, to write. These opportunities are continuing but will not be indefinite. I am trying to force myself to a March deadline. This will correspond with a change of my travel responsibilities will be changing from long term to short term events. I want to use these opportunities to the best of my ability while they last. This column will document how well I stick to my deadline.

This column will be different from my NaNoWriMo day by day story development. Instead, I will concentrate on areas of writing that I am focusing on or struggling with during the week I am reporting on. I have never been a reporter, not even in high school. I have always written in the ‘create’ way, supporting a poetry publication and short story booklet in high school. Each column will be between 500 and 600 words. So for this first installment, I have concentrated on what I plan to do, both with my next work and with this column. Check again for updates in the near future. –KEEP WRITING–

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Martin writes about writing in his weekly column Ramblings from Martin.

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