I mentioned last week how much I’ve been enjoying reading Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird and since then I read something in there that I think is pretty useful, particularly if you’re going to do NaNoWriMo.
It’s Alice Adams’ formula for writing a short story. But it would work just as well for the first draft of a novel, I think. It’s ABDCE:
You begin with the action that is compelling enough to draw us in, make us want to know more.
Background is where you let us see and know who these people are, how they’ve come to be together, what was going on before the opening of the story.
Then you develop these people, so that we learn what they care about most. The plot – the drama, the actions, the tension – will grow out of that. You move them along until everything comes together in the…
… after which things are different for the main characters, different in some real way.
What is our sense of who these people are now, what are they left with, what happened, and what did it mean?
What do you think? Would you find that useful? Particularly for NaNoWriMo? What’s your favourite writing book?