Friday, June 24, 2011

WriT Day-So you have it all mapped out, now what?

Last week I talked about developing your idea into a story. Check out the post here, there are some great tips for character development!

So, you've spent all this time planning out your story, creating your characters, deciding on the voice of your next project. Now what?

The whole process can be very daunting at first. One of the reasons I was able to start my first manuscript at all was because of NaNoWriMo. It gave me a set deadline by which I needed to be finished. I work really well under pressure, I always have. If you tell me I only have three days to get something done, I will probably get it done in two. But, on that same note, if you were to tell me I have a month I will probably put it off until the last three or four days then work like made to finish.

What if you don't work well on a deadline? What if you aren't starting your project during National Novel Writing Month? What if you just want to write right now?

I found a wonderful blog post with 7 tips on writing. They were lessons that the author had discovered while scuba diving. I loved the comparison and I'm hoping that when I share these tips with you it will give you the skills you need to dive into that project that keeps getting put on the back burner.

Now I've never been scuba diving, so the literalness of these tips is not something I'm familiar with, but I love the writing portions in them and I definitely think they are quite useful. If you don't have time to read them all, skip down to number 7, it's the best one!

1. Notice the Details. - If you've already done the steps form my previous post, you've already noticed a lot of details in the characters that you've created. Now, you can focus on the surroundings they will be immersed in. I find it helpful to actually sketch certain scenes that I'm working on to help me see it better. Create a space that you know every inch of, that you would be able to recreate as an eye witness if the need arose. Make your world real.

2. The experience is important, not just the end result. - It's easy to focus on the end product, the drive that makes us push forward so we can hold that finished book in our hands. It's important to enjoy the whole writing process as well. If you're having fun, it will come across in what you write. If you are rushing through it, the readers are going to be able to tell and they won't be able to engross themselves in your story as well. So slow down, and enjoy the ride.

3. Discovery, learning, and surprises are important. - As you write, don't chain yourself to the outline that you created earlier. Be willing to follow the story where it takes you, don't drag the story along for the ride. It may surprise you that your book ends differently than what you had planned, but that is okay. That means it grew into what it wanted.

4. You are alone, even though you have company. - There is a whole community of fellow writers out there, but ultimately you're doing it yourself. When you finish a project, you were the one who wrote every word. Use the resources you have, let friends help you work out a plot issue, but remember that in the end it's your project. You have control.

5. You need the right equipment. - How do you prefer to write? Are you a sit at the computer desk for hours at a time kind of writer? Or maybe you like to take the lap top to the couch and write there. (That's my preferred method.) You may even be very traditional and enjoy writing with a pen and paper. Whatever it is, find out and make sure you have everything you need. There is nothing more frustrating then breaking up the flow of writing so you can go find something you didn't realize you needed. Be prepared so you can stay engrossed in the story.

6. Self confidence is important. - Don't second guess yourself. It's easy to do, especially in that first round of writing. You will go back and read what is there and you'll probably think it's garbage. Don't dwell on those imperfections. It's a rough draft, that means it's gonna be ROUGH. Focus on the potential of the story and the ways you can make it better. Know that you can do it, little by little. Writing a book is like chiseling from stone. It takes chipping away tiny piece by tiny piece to unveil a beautiful work of art. Don't give up on, and start chiseling!

7. Stop talking about it, and just do it. - The most important tip in my opinion. Until you sit down and do it, the ideas in your head will just stay that way. Don't be afraid to let them out. Bite the bullet, force yourself to sit, and I promise you will be glad you did. There is nothing more amazing then staring at your finished product knowing that you just wrote that. I want everyone to experience it, so go start writing!

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