Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A little help from my friends....

Have I told you that this writing thing is hard? I mean really...really...hard? Well, like I told you, I went to this retreat over the weekend where I was lucky enough to listen to some wonderfully talented people discuss the ins and outs of character development and plotting. What's that you ask? Well, remember all that stuff you used to do in English where your teacher would ask "what was the author thinking about here?" And your response was "well maybe the author wasn't thinking about anything...maybe the author was just writing stuff." Well, turns out the author really was thinking. And thinking...and thinking...and writing...and then thinking some more... and then rewriting...and then throwing things in the trash....

So anyway, I'm learning about the thinking part. It turns out that authors do a lot of that. Thinking, and planning. So ever since Saturday, I've been thinking, because I really do want to improve my writing. It's not good enough to just write for the sake of writing. While that's cool and all, I really want to put out a quality product. I've built up a small following of fans and it wouldn't do any good to write a substandard book. I mean, when you read most authors, you can see how they've grown and developed in their writing style from book to book. So that's what I'm shooting for, growing and developing. So one thing that I was lacking was a goal for my characters. What do my characters want? You may be thinking, who cares? That was my first thought. Truly, I was thinking, who cares? But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that all of the books I really loved, the books I cherished and read over and over, well, the characters all had goals. They had some final destination they wanted to be.

So I kept asking myself, what does Jewell want? I thought about it when I woke up in the morning, when I was driving in the car, when I was making dinner, while I folded clothes, and even while I was reading. The only time I wasn't thinking about it was when I was working. I walked down the aisles at the grocery store asking my 11 year old daughter, "what does Jewell want?" Sitting at Sonic waiting for dinner "What does she want?" Well, that's when my sweet, beautiful daughter, laid out the whole plot for me. I had been racking my brain for weeks, trying to figure this out and my sweet little daughter figured it out for me in five minutes.

Okay, granted, I had been using her as a sounding board for the entire time, but still...she was able to see the trees that I had apparently been missing in the forest. So now I see the benefit of having a brainstorming partner. It doesn't have to be an author, but it has to be someone willing to listen, and input ideas. I use my husband for my medical ideas, and I have yet another for my conspiracy theories. It's important to have people there to help you with your writing, because as much as we want to say "I did it all by myself" having a little help from your friends, can be invaluable.


Cora Zane said...

Quote: "I really want to put out a quality product."

That totally qualifies you for awesome author cred, Linnea. That's the thing, to build stories the best way we know how. We use the tools we have, and gradually get better each time we use them. We grow a little with each story we write and release, and by receiving feedback from our audience.

Of course the audience, they'll like some of it, and some of it they won't. Some of the feedback can help us make positive changes, the rest - pitch it without a second thought. The main thing is to keep writing. We should all strive to meet that quality product goal.

Think about your quote (above) all by itself. I find it absolutely inspiring! :o)

LinneaHall said...

Awesome Cora - thanks so much! You inspire me to keep reaching!


©2009 Red Velvet Reads | by TNB