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Do You Want To Write A Novel? One Man's Story

May 14, 2008
If you're like a vast majority of people living in the world today, then you probably want to write a book sometime before you die. What an admirable endeavor that would be, you say to yourself. But how do I go about doing something like that? The other voice in your head talks back to you.

Let me take a moment to explain to you what I did.

For years and years and years I wanted to write a book. Either I didn't have the time or I didn't have the story or I didn't have the characters. However, what I found that I was really good at was having an excuse. So in that case, what was the end result? Nothing!

This story had been gnawing at my insides for a number of years. A good friend of mine happened to be a doctor. We did a lot of things together like attending sporting events and going out to dinner and golfing together. On several of these occasions I mentioned this story that I had floating around in my mind. In the days that followed I mentioned it more and more. Then one day he said something that turned on the light bulb in my brain. He said that he thought that my story would make a great movie!

My first reaction was that I was flattered. In some respects I agreed with him because of the storyline and characters that I had created in my head. However that comment caused a new set of problems. The first problem was how to write a screenplay for a movie. The only thing that I had accomplished up to that point in my life was that I done a lot of things and had gained a lot of experience. Sadly, writing a screenplay was not one of them.

The next step was to figure out how to accomplish that. The online information that is available in today's world helped me there. In a matter of a few clicks I found any number of screenplay clubs or sites on the internet. On an impulse I joined one of them. In the days that followed I found out that one of the accepted industry standards was a software program appropriately named Final Draft. Those people were contacted and before I knew I had an outstanding software program downloaded onto my computer.

The first part of the problem was solved. The second part of the problem was how to use the software. Using the trial and error method, I discovered many of the capabilities of the software. Then a thought dawned on me. That idea involved the basic essential of the entire process. I had to sit down and actually write my first sentence.

The ensuing period of time allowed for that and for the sake of time and space approximately ninety days later I completed the first draft of a screenplay that I thought was going to take Hollywood by storm. After contacting the screenplay club that I had joined I found that they had the experts available to critique the project. With a click here and a download there, I sent the screenplay off to see what the experts thought about my "blockbuster" screenplay.

A few days later my hopes were dashed. The critique was scathing. It was obvious that I didn't know what I was doing. So, it was back to the drawing board. Three more drafts ensued. In my mind each was becoming better than the prior one. Then on one evaluation my evaluator mentioned that I did have a good story and good characters. That was the positive feedback that I needed to continue.

The next six to eight months were spent with a consultant who showed me how to develop the characters and storyline of a screenplay better. Rewrite after rewrite followed. Finally after a total of ten rewrites I actually felt as if I had a screenplay that was worthy of being sent to the powerful people of the motion picture industry. My product was still lacking some of the main ingredients that are necessary for a film, but the basic essentials are there.

In some conversations that followed it was decided that the best way to get attention for the screenplay was to write the book. Initially I balked at that idea. However, after thinking about it for a couple of months I decided to go for it. A wonderful tool was at my disposal. That happened to be the recently completed screenplay that I had written.

With that document I sat down and wrote my first novel. When the book was completed I actually felt as if the story was better in prose than in the screenplay format. However, I think that is a common thread that people notice about books and movies. Most people say that the book is better. In my case it allowed for me to fill in the blanks that are open-ended in a screenplay.

When everything was said and done I found that the challenge and discipline needed to write a novel was tremendously rewarding. Writing a book has been one of the most fulfilling accomplishments that I have ever done. After approximately four years what had started as a dream in my mind actually got put on paper.
About the Author
James Ross, a University of Missouri-Columbia graduate, went to a keyboard and let the words flow through his fingertips. Lifetime Loser is his first novel. Consumed by the writing bug, he is working on more books. Visit James Ross.
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