This is the first of my ‘Wednesday’ posts, the posts focused on writing, how I write and why sometimes I can’t write.
I don’t outline.
I don’t have a method or a formula.
At any given time I have three or four stories running in my head. (Doctors probably have a name for that.) I store the drafts in my Google Docs, so I can work from any computer with an internet connection. If I think of something, I can easily type it up. I have a full-time job (not in the literary industry), so I write what I can, when I can. If I am not feeling connected to the story, I move to another one or quit writing. My stories originate with the characters. Sometimes they emerge fully formed. Other times they are born from a single line of dialog. I set a scene in my mind. Then another scene. The chore I have in writing is connecting the scenes that occurred organically with a well-structured narrative.
Stories should be enjoyable to both read and write. That’s why I began this venture in the first place. My approach may not work for the ‘real’ writer, the one with the agent and deadlines. Publishers, even small presses will accept submissions of just the first few chapters. If they accept it, then you have a real timeline to worry about. However, I circumvent deadlines by waiting to submit until I have a complete manuscript. Then I can write at my own pace. So far I have averaged two manuscripts a year which is typical, but I don’t feel the added burden of meeting a set completion date.
Don’t be afraid to set a story aside. I had a strong beginning to a story. The characters met, sparks flew and then….fizzle. Everything that came after felt forced. So I shut down and did something else. A few weeks later, I made a decision about the story. I changed the genre (from romance to urban fantasy) and point-of-view (from third person to first person). The writing felt more comfortable. As a personal discovery, I’ve determined that if it feels awkward to write, it will be unbearable to read.