A writer is supposed to write, right? Well, sometimes I have to shut off my computer and walk away. I’m not admitting defeat. I’m leaving the forest so I can see the individual trees. I’m coming up for air.
I wish it were easy to write. I wish I could get the story fully out on the first or second or “final” draft. Ah, well. My “process” seems to be writing an entire novel just to get to know the characters, turning in that monstrous manuscript to poor editors who have to wade through the mire while I await the inevitable call to confirm what I already know: “It’s not ready.” What’s the moral premise? Where are the character arcs? The stakes need to be higher! What I turn in raises questions that couldn’t be asked in the beginning. Most of the time I don’t know where I’m going until I get there. Writers call that “writing by the seat of your pants”. Mine have holes in them.
I’m taking a deep breath before I plunge in again.
Now I have a whole, long, wonderful list of specific questions to ponder. The questions make me think and go deeper and see sides of my characters that I couldn’t before this part of the process started. Strangely, that excites me. It removes the fog and brings clarity.
I’ve been told script writers use different colored paper for every rewrite. White, blue, pink, yellow, green, goldenrod, buff, salmon, cherry… Maybe I should start stocking colored paper.
The list of questions I received recently inspired me to write a plan of revision and a full, detailed outline of the book I’ve been trying to write for more than a year about two very broken people God puts together. You know something? I think I may have written this story before. Or witnessed it. Maybe it’s a memoir!
Thankfully, I am blessed to have a good agent and experienced editors who understand a book has to be right and not rushed. Not all writers are so fortunate.
Sometimes a writer has to daydream on a couch before she knows what words to put on paper.