I was honored this November to serve as one of the pep talkers for the National Novel Writing Month Young Writers Program. Here's the start of my piece (read it in entirety at NANOWRIMOYP):
By now your hair needs a trim, your room's a mess, and your Facebook friends are worried you're dead or in a monastery. At this point in a story, voices in our heads whisper that we're wasting time.We should be doing something more valuable, right? Why are we spending hours alone in front of our computers? How does that help a hurting planet?
Don't listen. Storytelling is a powerful act. Stories have the mysterious power to widen hearts and change minds. The human psyche is never quite the same after receiving a story.
In some ways, novelists have even more storytelling power than the best Hollywood directors. Unlike Steven Spielberg or Peter Jackson, we share the direction of our story with our readers' imaginations. Together, an author and a reader cast the characters, create setting, and decide on pacing. Because written and oral stories require more audience participation from story consumers, I think they embed more deeply into the psyche.
We novelists also get access to all five human senses. Moviemakers can provide a top-notch experience of sight and sound, but that's as far as they go. Since our co-director, the imagination, resides within the reader's mind, we also can engage the senses of taste, smell, and touch.
As you're writing, here are three tips to empower your co-director ...