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Monday, February 14, 2011

Let the Writing Begin ... And Happy Valentine's Day!

On Friday, we got a special delivery from Fedex ... our brand-new computer! Woot woot! Now we have two computers so I can write while my hubby plays his online games, and all will be peaceful :). Though I still need to figure out an appropriate work area. Balancing the keyboard on my knees with the computer on a side table while I sit on the office couch isn't the most comfortable.

Now on to my more exciting news ... I have started writing! After an unsuccessful first try a few weeks ago (I may be able to salvage some of it, but probably not), I came up a better idea for how to open the book and just started typing on Saturday night. Six pages later, I'm feeling pretty good about it. Though I definitely need to go back and make more edits, add more descriptions, etc. etc. I could very well end up with a different beginning, but this one works for now. I have also toyed with the idea of a preface with a scene from Maggie's childhood, so we'll see.

Here are the things I've learned so far:
  1. It was easier to figure out how my character ticks once I started writing out her actions. See what fits, what feels natural. Once I get her personality set in my mind, she will tell me how she would handle a certain situation or what she does next.
  2. Not to expect a scene to come out right the first run-through. For me, it's easier to make it feel right once I had a slightly wrong version down on the page.
  3. Writing is a very cleansing process. The story has been bouncing around in my head for about a month and now I feel slightly less stressed. I was a bit intimidated with writing the beginning because I have to draw the reader in, introduce the character without a ton of backstory, start with a scene that gets the story in motion, etc. etc. A small fraction of the weight on my shoulders has been lifted.

Things I haven't figured out yet but need to soon:
  1. How to move from one scene to the next. I'm sure I'll figure out more ways to do this as I go besides having my character go to sleep.
  2. I need a main supporting character for Maggie so she's not so lonely. I want her to be a bit spunky, not a hermit with no friends or life. Maybe she has an assitant in her floral business? Or a best friend? Or a sibling? I'm still working on this one. I may need to brainstorm with my BFFs, who are awesome writers L.T. Host and Amanda Marie.
  3. How to make my story less predictable - a few curve balls so the reader doesn't quite know how the story will end. This, again, will probably come as I write more. I have a bunch of ideas but need to piece them together in a timeline.
  4. I'm still not 100% about Maggie's personality and character. I keep falling into the trap of making her act like me and I want her to be more interesting! Not that I'm totally boring (I hope) but if the reader is going to invest themselves in Maggie's story, she needs to be more exciting.
So that's my journey so far. Not quite a first chapter, but it's a start and I have some direction now. As always, I would love some guidance and advice from the more experienced writers out there.

Also, HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY and thanks for reading!


  1. Sounds like you've been making good progress. That's a lot to learn from only six pages! #2 took me forever to wrap my brain around and I love the idea of writing being a cleansing process.

  2. Drafting is cathartic. And so is editing/ revising, to be honest... just in a different way. Frankly, that's why I love it all... it's all fun, in its own way!

    And you know I'm always up for a pow-wow :) Maybe you'd be willing to bring your pages to our next critique group meeting? We won't bite :)

  3. Thanks! Some of those lessons I learned from you guys before I event started :). Maybe I will come to a critique meeting. I'd like to at least have a first chapter done though. Maybe I'll pow-wow with you, Lessa, so my pages are as good as I can make them :).

  4. Keri, hope I don't come across a voyeur, but I really like following your writing thought process like this. It makes me think about my writing, too! And I'm sure that every writer, from the beginning to the multi-schmulti published ones will do well to think so objectively about their stories. Good on you and good luck!

  5. I'm so glad you think so, Marie! Thank you :). I will keep doing what I'm doing.