I read the following tweets earlier today:
- “Time to rip apart what used to be chapter 13. Where to begin?”
- “Crap! Just had an idea that might require rewriting the last 4 chapters!”
- “I just can’t get this beginning right. Need to move on!”
It makes me giggle when I hear non-writers question why authors make writing sound like such an ordeal. They seem to believe we get an idea, grab a pen and rush to transcribe the inspired words as they flow through us. Sometimes it happens that way, but those gems are brief and infrequent.
Building a story so the characters and setting are real to readers, finding the word choices that transport them into the story and keep them enthralled through to the end, whatever the genre, that’s work… sometimes painstaking drudgery.
One thing I’ve discovered during my writing journey is there is no one ideal way to write, and no single solution to problems. When the multitude of craft books begins to overwhelm with conflicting ‘how to’ advice it’s important to remember that. What writers have in common, however, is the process. Novel writing is a construction project. There’s dreaming and exploring designs, research and planning. Eventually there is the hard work of building upon the foundation to create a solid structure. After the basics are in place, there’s still the interior decorating… the internal fine tuning of editing and revising, sometimes total rewriting.
When readers see only a seamless, well-written story, it doesn’t mean the task of creating that story was easy, only that the author has done his or her job well.
How do you explain to non-writers what your writing process is like? Or do you try to explain at all?
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