The beginning of the novel process looks like a big ball of red yarn that was played with by a big cat when I attempt to create an outline. Like many writers, I ask the reason for the journey of my hero? How is my hero going to get there and what obstacles will stand in the way? Then, I begin to connect the lines of other characters.
My lineup looks like a giant diorama and I’m forced to make painful cuts of characters I wanted to include but really aren’t an integral part of the story. I do my best to be a good writer and get more and more detailed in my character sheets but sometimes I’m impatient and just start writing to let out the words.
I get on a roll in the beginning and then I usually find a plot hole or find something flat. I have to admit that if I get past the first few chapters without going crazy, I’ve actually accomplished something. Sometimes I’m trotting along in my plot only for my horse to veer right, and turn back around again to the beginning. And you know what I do next?
Most of the time I start down a new road, only to turn back again and go with what I had in mind the first time. I’m not one of those organized, outline Saints, who goes from point A to point B and inserts all the obstacles in the right places. In other words, I’m a messy writer.
Did I mention that I re-write my outline. Instead of one vision board I create a few and then see which one speaks to me more. I wish the moments when I had complete clarity at a fast pace happened all the time but there’s days when I sit uninspired and words come out in a desperate sputter.
In the middle of my books, I always have a moment when I doubt myself and ask is this really appealing to someone else? I always answer yes but I know I need to take a step back and take a look at what I’ve written like a reader who’s never read my work. That usually results in cringing and the sh – – first draft that every writer experiences.
I reach deep for my inner editor to please do miracles with my words because I know that writers usually make the worst editors of their own work. Editing is a new form of insanity. Similar to what a writer does but cleaner, more precise and I’m thankful for them.
When I reach the end of the book, I stare down in disbelief and then groan because I know that there’s months of editing that will involved beating my head against the wall. The process is also like form of torture as we edit out our overwritten words.
Am I really ready for this all again? Well, I wouldn’t be a writer if I said no. I know all my fellow writers are nodding their heads with me out there. Until tomorrow.
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