Bare Bones

It's that time of year again, my favorite time of year—Fall—and the golden leaves and cooling weather indicate more than just the passing of seasons. Tomorrow is November 1, which signifies the commencement of National Novel Writing Month. I'll be joining tens of thousands of writers across the globe as we attempt to pen 50,000 words from November 1-30. This will be my 6th year participating, and I can't wait to get started.

The notion of writing a novel in 30 days can be very daunting, which is why I propose viewing it from a different angle. It's not just a novel I'll be writing, but someone's story. It's my job as a writer to take you on a journey that you'll willfully follow, and expose you to my main character's heart and soul along the way.

The bare bones of writing, in my humblest of opinion, is nothing more than accurately capturing human behavior. There are things you will write that are going to initiate predictable responses. If your main character gets her finger cut off, she's going to scream. If someone she's close to passes away, there's going to be a period of grief that will branch out into other aspects of her life. One small decision in the plot has the power to shift the entire story. If you're writing and you feel stuck, take a few moments to sit back and reflect on where you've taken your characters so far, and what their natural reactions should be to what you've got in store for them next. It's not about being a great writer and understanding how a writing mind works—it's about breathing life into someone, and giving your audience a reason to give a damn. The fiction you create may become reality to someone in a way that you'll never understand.