Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A Novel Beginning, Weeks 5 & 6

Hard to believe it’s February already but I’m not sad about it; rather, I’m very pleased.  I am in awe of what the future holds and I look forward to it with enthusiasm.    

I am busy with editing/rewriting so today I will keep it simple and post more entries from my writing journal.  It’s a bit surreal reading back through my journal; it seems so long ago when I started writing my book but these entries were only four months ago.  Much has happened since then, I suppose, which gives me the feeling that more time has actually passed. 
Today I’m posting weeks 5 and 6 from the journal.  These weeks I dealt with more time management issues (again due to weather), research for the book, character development, and the liberating feeling of not using a strict outline.

Week 5

Research…it is important to the story but it can also bog you down with the details.  I don’t want to bore anyone with details but I do want to know what I’m talking about.  I’ve heard the phrase, “write what you know” but I think I’d rather “write what I like to read” instead.  It’s not possible to only write content you have firsthand knowledge about.  Well, it’s possible I guess, but it would be boring.  I’ll write what I know, with regard to investigations, but I hope to always add an element I’m unfamiliar with so that I also entertain (and educate) while I write.  The problem with research is that it’s usually completed on the Internet and it is so easy to get sidetracked.  Being near your email, calendar, Facebook, favorite blogs and other websites you frequently check on a daily basis can be hazardous to your time management skills.  It takes real discipline to stay focused.  Using time wisely is important to keeping up with a schedule.  Maybe I should conduct more research about time management... 

I found a new website today offering inspiration for writers.  They also have a Facebook page so I assume daily inspirational quotes will be plastered on my Facebook page to get me going each day.  At least I hope that’s what will happen.  I’ll wait to see how inspirational the quotes are but from what I’ve seen so far, I like the site, they offer some good information and the quotes I’ve read are inspiring to someone who needs a kick in the butt every other day.  As I write I notice that a want to edit if I make the mistake of reading over what I’ve written the day before.  That is a habit I am hoping to break.  I just need to focus on writing and remember that editing can wait until later.  Every single book I’ve read on writing tells me this but it is hard for me not to review the work completed so far.  I can’t wait to read my story, make sure the flow is right, that the characters are likable and that the dialogue makes sense.  I’m training myself as I go along and I’m hoping I learn good writing habits, rather than bad ones.  Only time will tell in that regard.

I’m getting further into my story and I’m introducing new characters who will have some type of roll in the plot as I move the story along.  I like the characters I have introduced so far but I have come to realize that some characters might not make the first cut if they aren’t really necessary to move the plot along.  It seems strange to write someone in now when it is possible I might have to cut them out before they have a chance to prove their worthiness.   
Week 6


I thought my busy schedule was enough to hinder my writing but it would appear Mother Nature also has a say.  On Sunday when I had a full day available to write, I was in the dark instead.  It didn’t seem all that windy outside but we got a ton of rain and eventually we lost our power.  Instead of writing, I spent the day on one of my favorite hobbies: scrapbooking.  I figured Monday I’d be able to spend the day writing but again, Mother Nature had a different plan.  It was very blustery and there was constant noise as limbs kept falling from nearby trees.  My fear that a tree might fall came true when I heard the loudest crack and the thud of a tree as it hit the ground.  Then my power went out…again.  Down the driveway I saw my worst fear, a tree over our driveway and the power lines.  Since I had a lot of time on my hands, I decided I would try to write longhand.  It’s much harder than I realized!  I know some writers write everything in longhand but that’s just not my style.  I switched gears and wrote notes about characters and upcoming scenes instead; notes I could look back on once I was finally able to type again.  I admire writers who can write their stories longhand.  They are not limited by the weather, the power or anything else.  They can write whenever, where ever and on whatever they choose.  I’d like to say I can change and make a useful habit out of writing in longhand now and then but I will admit that’s probably not the case.  I am a character who adores routine and habit.  I also like a schedule and prefer getting the work done in the most efficient way possible and for this reason the computer is my friend.

It’s amusing to think I might not know ahead of time whether or not my characters will play nice.  For the most part, I do know ahead of time how the characters will react to each other but there are a few times when they have surprised me.  This might sound funny, I realize.   I just write and as I am writing, the story and the characters play out.  I know the plot and I have an outline but it is a very broad outline.  Very broad and very giving.  I cannot be forced into a “table of contents” and move along with the story based on what my outline indicates should happen in the story.  While writing, new characters have popped up, how the characters will relate to each other has changed and how my main character faces certain difficulties has also changed.  It is a unique experience, making people become real, giving them personalities and lives to lead and giving the story a life of its own.  I still have the fear that no one else will like my story but I go on with the belief that if I work hard and I enjoy what I do and what I write, then others will also.  Fear is the biggest setback when it comes to doing what you really want to do.  Jo Leigh is quoted as having said, “Screw the fear.”  Simply put and well said.

Not having to deal with an outline is liberating, as I can write what I want as it comes to me.  Or, I won’t have to feel guilty if I decide to completely delete a whole scene because it just doesn’t “feel” right or flow correctly.  That happened today.  First time, really, since I began writing.  I wrote out the beginning of a scene which was going to lead to a crucial point in my book, when the main character finds telling evidence about a family member.  But as I wrote out the scene, it just wasn’t flowing right.  It sounded, and felt, forced.  I finally went back and started the whole scene all over again and the fact that the new scene was easy to write was a true sign that I was going in the right direction.  Having an outline puts too many limits on what I may be able to come up with or change at a later date.  Constructing a basic outline, I have done, but having excessive detail in the outline is too limiting to my imagination.  We’ll see how it plays out when I get to “the end.”

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