Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Hip Deep in Plot

One of the things that I love about writing is that there's always something new to learn. I'm not talking about research--though that definitely qualifies!--but about the process of writing and about myself. There's an old adage that says, "The older you get, the less you know." It should really be phrased, "The older you get, the more you realize there is to learn."

I like that writing is an organic, living process for me. That the way I write this book won't be exactly the same as the way I write the next book. I like that I started this journey a few years ago with assumptions about what it meant to write a book and what it meant to be a writer and that, for the most part, I've had to toss those assumptions out on their ear or give up being a writer.

You know the part I really like? That each and every one of us does things differently. That there are no rules when it comes to how you write. That there is no way to do it wrong. The only criteria for success is whether you meet whatever personal goal you set for yourself, be it finishing a book, submitting to an agent or editor, or getting a contract. I'm the only one who can decide if I'm successful. If you've never worked in a highly structured, highly managed environment (e.g. for a big corporation), you may not understand just how freeing (and sometimes terrifying) that really is.

(Great, now I've got, I am the very model of a modern Major-General, running through my head. Funny how the singer sounds an awful lot like Tom Lehrer. ....A-n-d now I'm back. :-) *

The last couple of weeks I've been focused on plot. Hip deep in it, as the title of this post says. I've been applying new (to me) approaches and coming up with a workable structure and a lot of ideas for scenes. I've learned quite a bit about what works--and especially what doesn't--for me from all the books I've started writing and then abandoned in the last few years. It all seems to be coming together. The best part is that I'm more excited than ever about this story. Coming from someone who had convinced myself that knowing too much about what was about to happen was a sure fire way to kill a story dead for me, I have to say I'm a bit in shock.

My goal is still to have a first draft done before heading off to the RWA National Conference. And for the first time since I started working on this, even with the short time left before the conference, I actually feel like I'll make it.

* With apologies to Gilbert & Sullivan, Tom Lehrer, and the Duke of Wellington (gratuitously pictured)


chanceofbooks said...

It's funny how our process changes over time--I've recently discovered that for me, pantsing seems to be immensely freeing after years of trying to plot and doing tons and tons of pre-writing. My students also prove that process is everything--once my students find a prewriting strategy that works for them, their grades start going up markedly. And yay you for being so close your first (??) finished MS. One month to go? I just finished a 50K in may challenge and am looking for another challenge for June. If you want a daily check-in buddy, let me know! The daily check-in seems to really work for me :)

(Oh and this is Bethany--new blogger id to match my book review blog identity)

Genene Valleau said...

Deb, sounds like you're making wonderful progress! Keeeeeep going!

Paty Jager said...

Congrats on finding your mojo Deb! Writing is not the same for everyone. The process for one doesn't work for another just like we're all individuals.

Sarah Raplee said...

I identify with so much that you touched on in this post, Deb! Although the journey is never-ending and the road to publication bumpy and winding, the rewards of being a writer have proven greater and more varied than I'd ever imagined. And I'm having more fun than ever. :)