Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Writing. It's What I Do.

I love to write. It started when I was younger as a way to use my vivid imagination in a productive way. :)  I wish I had kept some of the old stories that I wrote but, sadly, I threw them away. *sigh*

I had the idea for my book THE SEVENTH BLESSING last summer. I had a little journal and I started jotting down ideas. That grew into dialogue. And then description about the world they lived in. And then...I started really writing the story.

I had to write a short story for a literature class I was taking. I picked up my little journal and started to write out a short story using what I already had. When I got to page ten (for the three page assignment), I realized that this wasn't just going to be a short story. So...I saved that file and started a NEW story for my assignment. I would send the updated versions of 7th Blessing to a friend of mine who also writes. She'd send me what she had recently written and we would edit and critique each other's work. (I would recommend this to other authors! Find a friend you trust and do this. A lot!)

I was stuck for a long time because I wrote something for my character, Samantha, to do and then...I couldn't get past it. Impasse. (Not "writer's block.") Finally, my friend said that it was because I had changed Sam's age in the story from 15ish to 18 that the part where I was stuck didn't work. I was able to tweak it and then BAM! I was able to go on! Six versions later, I have a story that I'm very proud of and happy to share with others. You probably wouldn't want to read the earlier versions. *shudder* It's good to keep earlier versions, however, in case you say, "Wait a minute! That one part was good! What did I say in that line of dialogue?" etc. It's also good to track where you've been as a writer. Hopefully, the story gets better in each version.

Someone asked me how you start writing a story. My way is to start with a main character sketch. What is your MC like? Personality traits, physical characteristics, etc. Then work out a plotline. Where will the story begin and end? What's the climax of the plot? Now fill in the story outline. Who does the MC meet? Friends, enemies, etc. Character sketches for those people. And they really do become "people" to the author! Your family will think you slightly crazy for mumuring, "But would Samantha really do that?" "Is that what Nolan would say?" :)

Writers write. I know that sounds simple but it's true! Think about it for a minute. Photographers take pictures. Artists paint. Teachers teach. Bakers bake. I could go on and on. If you want to write, then do it. And then get brave enough to show it to someone whom you trust. Ask for honest feedback, constructive criticism.

And keep writing. :)