Monday, January 02, 2006

Begin at the beginning

Writing a book is like living. You need to start at the beginning, write through the middle, til you get to the end.

Oh, I thought I had it all figured out. Maybe it's a process every writer goes through. Every writer just doesn't take as long to do it as I'm taking! I wrote scenes as they came to me. I wrote a lot of words that way. But then it came time to weave the loose ends together and tighten up the writing and the story line. Frustration set in. Maybe it was the interruptions from my family life that made the work harder. I just know I finally had to put away that manuscript and go to work on something else.

I'm doing this one differently. I started at the beginning. Strong beginning with a very good hook. Draw the reader in and don't let go of him/her. Six thousand words later I finished chapter one. I made some notes to myself...three generations of women in one family. This is their story. And how will I set it up? Somewhat like Andrew M. Greeley did in St. Valentine's Night. I haven't read a lot of Greeley's work, but I did enjoy St. Valentine's Night. It proved that you can--sometimes you must--go back home. If troubles started there, ya have to go back to resolve them because they're always gonna be there until you finally face them down.

Begin at the beginning. Make each chapter be everything I want and need it to be as I write it. When I finish the last sentence in the last chapter, I want the manuscript to be finished and only have a read-through to do to make sure the formatting is correct, there are no typos and it's ready to submit to a publisher...or to print myself. POD is sounding pretty enticing at this time. I'll be gathering information as I write so I can make an intelligent decision about publication when the novel is completed.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

The Real Writing Challenge

I didn't finish my novel for the novel challenge. I didn't even participate in the actual challenge much. I read the subject lines of posts that others made and that helped me to remain motivated to keep writing. There are more than 60,000 words in the manuscript now. But I've set it aside for awhile because it's been driving me crazy!

I didn't want to put it aside. I slavishly worked at it thinking that I had to finish it before I moved on to something else. And that project would have to be finished before I started on something else. And on, and on, and on...

While I'm not working on that novel, I've started something new. It's a Christmas story. It's about family and working through problems and challenges together. It's about individual independence and familial interdependence. We should handle our own problems, but we should be supported by family and friends who love us and will share their wisdoms with us when we really need them most.

Chapter One has nearly 6,000 words, all written yesterday, New Year's Eve Day, Dec. 31, 2005.

Instead of writing scenes as they come to me, I've started at the beginning. I will write this one from beginning to end, thoroughly writing and revising each chapter before I move on to the next one. Perhaps I'll have better luck this time 'round.