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April 5 Question for IWSG: Have you taken advantage of the annual A to Z Challenge in terms of marketing, networking, publicity for your book? What were the results?


Since I have nothing to market I opted to skip the question this month and go with full-on insecurity. So lets talk about my writing process, which looks something like this:

  1. An idea ricochets off of my none-too-stable mind, embeds itself and starts demanding to know, what if? The stupid thing won’t leave me alone, bugging me with scenes (these usually play out like a movie, always useful when waiting in a boring line) snatches of dialogue, tantalizing hints of story arc.
  2. If it bothers me enough, I start writing it down to make it go away. It’s like an exorcism. Trying to pin it down into some recognizable form, bleeding black onto the white paper and trapped there so it will leave me alone. I research a little, and then a lot. Outline a little, and then a lot. Figure out a tentative ending. The outline I favor breaks the story down into four Acts, small rise-and-fall action in each act building up to the huge rise of the climax and the gentle decent of the epilogue.
  3. By far the hardest step, turning the outline into a 60,000+ word story. Just finding enough time to sit down every day and crank out a thousand words is a constant challenge.
  4.  After the Sisyphean task of getting all of the words down the beta reading and critiques seem merely Herculean by comparison. Letting go of the ego to take the suggestions as they come requires some doing, sure, but I do it.
  5. A published book. (This part is merely theoretical so far.) From what I hear, I have several new numbered lists of ways publishing is so much harder than I thought to look forward to writing. Oh goody.

I am a neophyte at this process. It shows in my writing, and I know it. Finding new, exciting, evocative and fresh ways to convey the emotion my characters are feeling is so damn difficult. My second draft is mostly a round of me fixing my crap descriptions and clichéd phrases, diving so deep into the world of a Thesaurus I should be breathing synonyms.

It’s unbelievably frustrating. The idea, the movie scenes in my head are so clear. Sparkling, even. Detailed like you wouldn’t believe. But when I try to write them down . . . nope. It goes a lot like this:

Main character: “I can haz love? You smell great and I loves your pretty face.”

Love interest: “Yes. But not right now, cuz I is mad at you for reasons. You must waits a hundred more pages.”

Kissy smoochy loves ensue. Possible boners ahead. Use caution.

The end.

I might be exaggerating a tad. But that’s how it seems to me. Beautiful ideas circle my head refusing to land on the page in my clumsy writing. It’s like getting a lasso around butterflies. And my muse, nasty minx that she is, just dances around with them banging random ideas down on me and laughing. It’s not a nice laugh.

I hold on to the hope that one day after lots of writing and squeezing out words and editing and writing some more the emotion will flow more easily from me and onto the page. Practice has to make me better.

Writers in the know, please reassure me. Lie.