This is topic Novel Writing Exercises in forum Open Discussions About Writing at Hatrack River Writers Workshop.

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Posted by mikemunsil (Member # 2109) on :
I am most pleased to FINALLY have turned the two novel writing challenges from Liberty Hall into exercises. They are freely available to ALL at Liberty Hall's wiki, located here:

If you do the entire exercises, at the end of 60 days you will have the basic worldbuilding information to support writing your novel AND a novel outline in 20 sections. I suggest doing the exercises with writing partners.

Please feel free to use the exercises, with attribution if you post them online somewhere. Also, please let me know how they can be improved.


Posted by Andrew_McGown (Member # 8732) on :
That is fantastic.

Your goodness, hard work and genuine benevolence are astonishing.

We will forward your name to the pope when you're gone.

The Catholic Encyclopedia will one day read:

Saint Mike: patron of scribblers, cat cursers and despoilers of carpet.

[This message has been edited by Andrew_McGown (edited September 17, 2009).]

Posted by Owasm (Member # 8501) on :
As one who went through both challenges to the very end, I highly recommend these exercise regimes.

My own recommendation is to start doing the world building first. Then when you need more plotting for the world building part, start the novel outlining exercoses and sort of interleave them as you go with most of the outlining occurring after the world building is done.

Mike's novel outlining exercise is a variation of the snowflake method and I found it very useful.

I did my own version of NaNoWriMo in July with the outlining exercise and wrote 53K in two weeks because of the pre-work. (I had my world building done ahead of time.) If you have intentions to participate in NaNoWriMo, I'd get cracking on these two exercises.

The world building exercise resulted in the creation of another novel idea that needs more of the outlining part (although some of that has been done during the worldbuilding part). That was well worth the effort.

I'd also try and work with a few people participating along with you. The feedback from doing it over at Liberty Hall in the forums was invaluable.

It's well worth it. Mike did a great job.

[This message has been edited by Owasm (edited September 17, 2009).]

Posted by AWSullivan (Member # 8059) on :
Thanks for sharing Mike!


Diabolical Plots

Posted by mikemunsil (Member # 2109) on :
Thanks for the kind words and the links!

Please note that there are literally 100s of links and resources on our Wiki to assist writers:

Table of Contents

* Resources for Writers
o Glossary
o Tom's Tiddler
o Novel Outline Mind Maps & Spreadsheet
o Online Resources
+ TinyURL
+ Word Counters
+ Mechanics of Writing
+ Software
+ Forums, Workshops & Author Tips
+ Online References
+ Publishing
+ Research Links
+ Worldbuilding
+ Markets


Posted by Robert Nowall (Member # 2764) on :
[deleted 'cause somehow it wound up in the wrong thread]

[This message has been edited by Robert Nowall (edited September 18, 2009).]

Posted by lbdavid98 (Member # 8789) on :
I'm really starting to kick myself for not having looked online for writing resources sooner. I think, on some level, I just always considered it a solitary pursuit... I joined a couple writing groups when I saw flyers for them, but the stuff I'm finding now that I'm looking for it... Hatrack, Liberty Hall, the Black Hole (not encouraging)! Thanks for the link and the work that went into making this information available.
Posted by genevive42 (Member # 8714) on :
This is awesome. It makes the idea of outlining seem a lot more like fun.

I'm planning on doing NaNo and this is going to help a lot.


Posted by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (Member # 59) on :
This looks to me like a great way to do NaNoWriMo.
Posted by mikemunsil (Member # 2109) on :
Yeah, it was the idea of trying Nano yet again without being prepared that got me started on this. Not that I think doing all this pre-work is the ONLY way to go, but for some of us, it helps a lot.

The outlining IS an extrapolation of Randy Ingermanson's Snowflake method. I made sure let him know what I was doing ahead of time so that he could object if he thought my interpretation was too derivative. He didn't have any objections.

Wouldn't hurt though, if you're unfamiliar with his methods, to go take a look:

The worldbuilding exercise is my own what I thunk up all by myself, which is why it isn't as good as the outlining, but worldbuilding is a LARGE task, and doing it in 30 days is tough.


Posted by mikemunsil (Member # 2109) on :
Owasm, I know that each of the exercises was tough to get through, and you may be the ONLY person who completed them all. What do you think about my combining them into a single 45-day exercise instead? Interleaving the bits and pieces, as you did, and leaving out some of the critiquing? Focusing the critiquing instead on larger views instead of being as specific as I was?


Posted by Owasm (Member # 8501) on :
A 45 day program would certainly work as there are a number of critiquing days folded into the plans and Sundays were catch-up.
Some of the environmental aspects of the worldbuilding and the outlining might be combined as well.

As far as the critiquing levels, I thought the more detailed critiquing challenged my work, which was very good at the formative stages. So I would still request as thoughtful a critique as the critiquer has time to give. General thoughts are still great, but other people's comments can lead the writer to down paths they wouldn't consider on their own. It did that for me.

I can't emphasize enough the group aspect of the project. I would recommend at least three, but even if a writer has a spouse or friend comment on their work at each stage it would make the output better. The group comments really helped the process and, kept me at it.

For NaNoWriMo, a writer who has gone through the exercises, could just concentrate on writing.

[This message has been edited by Owasm (edited September 19, 2009).]

Posted by Architectus (Member # 8809) on :

This only takes a hour to watch, then, depending on the person, a few hours or a few days to come up with everything needed to start a novel.

It's worth checking out.

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