My Journey in the World of Writing
Two years ago I began writing as a way to deal with the death of my father. I had a deep and abiding desire to see him, hold him again; have a conversation with him. Someone suggested therapy. Yea, right! I was in the hole for a sum topping off in the mid five figures and trying to rebuild my life after a bad breakup. Therapy was not going to happen! So what could I do but immerse myself in my favorite pastime? Read! During that process, I discovered free reads on Kindle; specifically the world of the paranormal. I was home! The more of these stories I read, the more I began to imagine a world where I could share an existence with my father, and we could hang out again, just like we did in this world.
A light bulb went off and, “Resurrection of Dead Dreams” was born; currently in progress. Why isn’t it done, you ask? Well for one thing, during that time writing was just a way to deal with my issues. I never thought I would seriously be doing this. A posting on Facebook about NaNoWriMo by Katie made me curious and after a little bit of research, I decided I would make an attempt to participate; but I would write about something else completely.
They say ignorance is bliss, but in this case, I will disagree. Ignorance has taken me on one twisty/turny journey. Granted, I didn’t have a clue as to what I was doing when I first started writing. Maybe I still don’t, but I definitely knew even less in 2010.
I wrote “Sinner’s Ride” during one sleepless month, with no real plan, no concrete idea where I was going with it or what I would do with it once it was done. In fact, the current ending was not the original ending. The published version was finished in February, 2011.
I published with Xlibris because a friend suggested it, but at the time, I didn’t know what questions to ask nor did I know anything about the publishing process. I had no clue as to how to go about marketing my story and I absolutely never imagined that two years down the line I’d be tweeting, blogging AND writing another novel, much less offering tips to other authors on my hero’s blog!
Today I want to talk a little bit about how my writing style has changed and what I have learned so far:
- I learned that if I was going to be serious about writing, I would have to find time to write a little bit each day. For me this meant a minimum of an hour a day, even if it wasn’t in one sitting. Writing is like raising children: you have to nurture your muse, tease more out of him/her; nurture that bit then go at it again…on a daily basis.
- I learned that I needed to read any and every thing I could get my hands on – every day. I’m not talking about the newspaper or magazines. I have a 3 hour round trip commute, so I read other indie authors’ work; at least one way. Though I do get into the story that I am reading, I am also looking for tips on story structure and plotting. I study prose. If something strikes me, I read it two or three times in order to get a better understanding of the technicalities involved. i.e. POV; show not tell., etc.
- I try to live in a state of constant awareness by paying closer attention to the world around me. For example, sometimes I don’t read on my commute. On one of those train rides, I might talk to random people and while I do, I pay close attention to their mannerisms, quirks and other idiosyncrasies as these are characteristics I will want to use for my characters.
- I try to learn a new word each day and use it either in my daily life or in my writing. There’s a word of the day app for that J Remember, we’re wordsmiths! We should know words! Oh! And I use a thesaurus!
- I learned that word count doesn’t mean a thing until the story is told. If I write a little bit each day, the words will not only come, but they will pile up. For me, counting words as I worked on a WIP was too stressful. Writing should be fun!
- Here’s a biggie: I used to worry about editing; and story timeline while writing. I learned not to be so anal. I feel I am better now than I was a year ago. I used to write a chapter, sleep on it, read/edit it the next day then move on to the next chapter. No longer. Now, I just dump it all out until I hit a wall, then I go back and read all that I’ve written, clean it up and move on if I can. If I can’t continue with the current project, I work on something else like marketing/social networking or another WIP. If that gets overwhelming, I shut everything down and either veg or hang out with my kids.
With my current WIP, “Divergent Lives”, there was no way I could edit each chapter as I wrote it. This story requires a lot of research and sometimes in discussions with professionals, I get ideas. So what I have is fifteen good chapters, a great idea for the ending (which I’ve outlined – something else I didn’t do in the past) and, a big hole in the middle that needs filling up. The plus is that I have identified storyline matters that have to be addressed and will tackle each one individually -- as standalone stories within the story.
What the foregoing tells me is that rather than panster-ing (is that a word??) my way through a story, I am becoming more organized in my telling of it, thereby keeping the reader engaged and then hitting them with something totally unexpected. I love doing that!
The bottom line is: Do what feels right for you as long as you end up with a complete story that is engaging.
- And finally, I learned to dream big!
So for me, ignorance is not bliss. It is a doorway to the blissfulness I experience when I sit at my computer and immerse myself in the wonderland of my imagination.
Minnie is offering up 5 copies of her book TODAY, you pick the format (Print or Ebook!). All you have to do to enter to win is leave a comment on this blog post, then stop by one of Minnie's social networking sites (Blog, & Facebook Page) and tell her "Katie Sent you." She'll add up the entries and select a winner. It's that simple. All you have to do is tell Sinner, "Hi." and you could win a free book.
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