Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Nesting for Your Novel

You nest before you have a baby, right? Isn’t it only logical you’d do the same for your novel baby?

8 Ways I nest for My Novels

Dream of the Future
I let my characters marinate on my brain matter for at least three months. It’s a great test to see whether they keep my interest, whether I find myself more and more excited about them coming into the world. I delight in imagining their futures.

Clean Cluttered Space
Prior to writing a novel I make sure I’m straight on the characters and the plot of the hour. If I’m dealing with residual anger from a fight, I pray it up and let it go. That way my own stuff doesn’t get too tangled in the new baby.

Set Up Treasured Area
There’s a sweet endearing feeling that settles deep when you decorate a nursery. Same goes for grabbing my pens, journals, notes, and tea. I’m readying myself to step inside the pretend world of my characters. There’s an antic space associated with where I write—I get swallowed up in the couch or loveseat and slip into another realm.

Name Selection
Ever flipped through one of those almanac-sized books to find a name for your child? I’ve spent hours playing with words and their meanings in the selection process for my characters. In my third novel I named one man Dreg, and gave his sister the name Simple. They were raised by neglectful parents.

Decide on a Feeding Plan
The big debate—breastfeed or bottle feed. Translated for your novel this is the debate of when you’ll write, how much time you’ll devote to it, and how much research you’ll do in preparation.

Prepare a Trusty Bag of Goods
You buy a special book or magazine for the hospital visit. And unlike an actual birth experience, you’ll have time to polish up on books on the craft while you write. These books serve as wonderful educators about how to birth a novel. Think What to Expect When Expecting—What to Expect When Writing (now if that isn’t a great name for a book!).

Decide Who You Want to Help
Will it be Aunty Sue? Grandma Jean? A novel nanny? Once your novel is written, you’ll need to evaluate who will provide the most insightful feedback. Critique partners and editors are excellent choices at this stage.

Imagine Holding Your Baby for the First Time
This aspect of nesting occurs from conception until the second contractions start. (Contractions = edits, no?) It’s that ultimate dream of what it will feel like to have your novel baby turn into an actual book. To have and to hold. Born. Published. Out there for the entire world to read (and critique—unsolicited advice isn’t just unloaded on newbie moms of babies, but on novel moms as well).

Sweet Dreams, Novel Baby.
See you soon.

Have an example of nesting for a novel?

*In case you missed it, my critique partner, Jill Kemerer signed with Books & Such. Go congratulate her!
my article for Sage this month
***photo by flickr


  1. Yeah, as I mature as a writer, I'm definitely improving my initial planning to save myself "some" of the rewrites after I've written.

    And a HUGE congrats to Jill! That's awesome!

  2. I love this concept! I guess I have my own forms of nesting.

    And HUGE congrats to Jill! Eeeeek! That's a wonderful agency for her to be with...

  3. Have a marvelous 'pregnancy'! You're fairly glowing! Does the gestation period of a novel take about the same time as a human's? Perhaps that depends on the size of the 'infant', 'cause I think our son has been on his 'book' (dissertation) for almost 10 years - with all its various stages. All the best!

  4. This is so great. I love the word pictures you paint with your analogies.

    So excited for Jill!!!!

  5. Wonderful, Wendy! Really can appreciate the comparisons! Thank you!

  6. I love this analogy, but ugh, it reminds me that I'm supposed to be nesting for my real baby. But all I feel is tired! Oh well, hopefully all those nesting instincts will kick in soon on their own. :)

    P.S. I love the nest picture with the blue eggs. So pretty!

  7. You are so clever, lady. I appreciate your insights and the creative way you share them.

    I am getting ready to nest for a new baby myself: a book on prayer. Biting my nails and praying. Asking my Father to help me.

    On my way to Sage...

  8. I love picking names. It's my favorite part. And that's a great name for a book (what to expect when your writing). It would be a best seller. Then maybe they can make it into a movie like they are with What to expect when your expecting.

  9. Love it... and great advice. Novel Nanny... ha!

  10. Oh gosh this is so great and true!!! My favorite and most frustrating part is naming my new baby. I want a power title but I can't always come up with them. I also love naming my characters!! It's half the fun for me.

  11. This is great Wendy! I like my chocolate to accompany me. :P

  12. Beautiful. What a great title for a blog or book!

  13. It is so hard to work on my book and also have school and a part-time job to deal with. If I was more organized, disciplined, and just overall knew how to deal with and juggle all of this, plus having a life and spending time with friends and family, I would also be writing my book. I could use some serious help. I just don't know where to get it...

  14. Hi Wendy -

    What a great analogy! Hmm, when I'm writing, I block out everything else. My focus is on that baby book. I eat, sleep, and dream of little else.

    Susan :)

  15. Nesting sounds so much better than planning. I think I'll look at it this way from now on.

  16. Love this analogy! Don't have anything to add; think you covered it well. :)

  17. I love your clever analogies. I love the idea of getting the room ready for baby!

  18. Very very clever. I do relate to these nesting terms.

    (This also gives me a good check list next time I publish -- we live and learn!)


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