Wednesday, January 26, 2011

(My) Rules for Writing

My slow, but steady, progress on this draft of my first novel has had me reflecting on "process" the past few days. Here's what I've come up with so far:
  1. Get it down on paper: There isn't enough time in the day to both live life and write about life; this must be why so many writers seek privacy or live a reclusive life--time to write without living. When you are living, you want to record life; make sure you learn how to take good notes so you can keep on living.
  2. Add the back story, history, support, context: Create the foundation for the story--the world that characters live in--so that the reader has a template of laws that govern the life that you've invited the reader to join.
  3. Focus the flow: If that thing or person on the periphery isn't part of the story, then set that piece aside for another day. Ask the questions that you'd ask if you were a character. Question what a character already knows and what is a the top of their list to learn.
If my goal is to write a story that makes you laugh and cry, then I must laugh and cry while I write it. I've had no shortage of ideas for new novels, two more this week, but I'm doing my best to maintain focus on my first. And, this particular week, was one about crying as I rewrote the chapters that focused on my main characters first love, and first love lost.

Those that have had the opportunity to read the rewritten chapters are shouting to me as loudly as they can that this version is good, really good. And that, to come full circle, is what has prompted me to think and record thought on my process so that I can do it all over again!
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