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So You’ve Lost Your Mind and Want to Write a Novel


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Presentation from Writer-In-Residence Kurt Dinan's workshop on Saturday, February 4th, 2017 at the Main Library.

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So You’ve Lost Your Mind and Want to Write a Novel

  1. 1. So You’ve Lost Your Mind and Want to Write a Novel Kurt Dinan Writer-In-Residence The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County
  2. 2. Who the heck am I?
  3. 3. Who the heck are you? You are a writer!
  4. 4. Writing Ideal vs. Writing Reality
  5. 5. April 6, 2016: Joseph-Beth Booksellers
  6. 6. Novel 101
  7. 7. The Basic Equation Forced Inspiration + Crazed Dedication A Novel
  8. 8. IDEA vs. Concept Idea a What If…? Question Concept A developed idea that has: 1. A protagonist 2. A goal 3. An obstacle
  9. 9. Name that concept! A small time boxer gets a once in a lifetime chance to fight the heavyweight champ in a bout in which he strives to go the distance for his self-respect.
  10. 10. Name that concept! An intrepid archaeologist races against time to beat the Nazi’s in discovering the ultimate weapon-- the lost Ark of the Covenant.
  11. 11. Name that concept!  In a soon-to-open theme park, a team of scientists must stop cloned dinosaurs who are eating workers and tourists.
  12. 12. Name that concept!  In a future where the government selects a boy and girl from the twelve districts to fight to the death on live television, a woman volunteers to take her younger sister's place for the latest match where she not only fights for her life, but to retain her humanity.
  13. 13. Why a concept is so important
  14. 14. Group Concept Building
  15. 15. Partner Concept Building Idea: Protagonist: Goal: Obstacle:
  16. 16. Brainstorming Ideal Reality
  17. 17. How to Brainstorm 1.Set a number 2.Write everything down 3.Follow the thread
  18. 18. Where to begin
  19. 19. Brainstorming Activity #1 List Favorite books, movies, TV shows Favorite characters Favorite plot elements Favorite plot devices
  20. 20. The Most Important Question
  21. 21. Brainstorming Activity #2 Games to Play:  The What If…? Game  The If Only… Game  The How Would Things Be Different If… Game  The I Wonder… Game
  22. 22. Become and Antenna • Listen to podcasts • Read non-fiction • Read the news • Watch documentaries • Talk to people who are smarter than you • Everything is an opportunity to learn
  23. 23. Write Everything Down!
  24. 24. Brainstorm Activity #3  Write down people you know who are “characters”  Write down interesting jobs  Write down interesting quirks people have  Write down cliché/stock charcters
  25. 25. Brainstorm Activity #4  What are you an expert in?  What worlds do you know?  What unique experiences have you had?
  26. 26. Two Additional Tips  Give your characters theme songs  Surf Google Images for your character
  27. 27. Brainstorming Activity #5  List high conflict settings or situations  Lists settings with a wide variety of people  List “contained settings”
  28. 28. Developing Your Protagonist What do they love most? What do they fear most? What would friends say is their greatest strength? What would friends say is their greatest weakness?
  29. 29. But most importantly… A B
  30. 30. Now what?
  31. 31. Pantsing vs. Plotting
  32. 32. My recent approach
  33. 33. Dealing with Writer’s Block
  34. 34. The Problem, As I See It
  35. 35. Writing Tips Be willing to change ANYTHING Exercise and chew gum Play What If…? Steal!
  36. 36. But most importantly…
  37. 37. Remember! You are a writer!