Monday, September 23, 2013


One thing I've learned over the years is everyone tells a story differently. Writers build their stories differently, too. One size, one way, does not fit all.
Who the hell says it has to?

I've learned a few hard lessons about writing and myself.

1. Screw perfection and the horse it flew in on.
There are no flying horses, you say? That’s my point.

2. Recognizing how I write and how to work with it.
I tend to be spare when I’m starting a story or a scene. It’s a quick sketch to capture what I’m seeing in my head. I don’t have the time to layer every sensory bit I see and feel. That’s allowable. Layering the sensory is for later.

3. Once I’m done with the day’s writing
Go back and look what I've written and take a little time to add some reaction/emotions/description. I do this while it’s fresh in my mind.  I check my scene to see if I've hit my mark because the scene has to have a goal and a reason exist. If I think its backstory or knowledge I (but not necessarily the reader) need, to move the story forward, I leave it there but I make a notation.

4. I've learned good writing is a series of repetitions
I’m going to be repeating #3 again and again and again as I write each scene and chapter. Even when the scene or chapter seems good initially, I’m going to have to beef up reaction/emotions/description. Perhaps add some tantalizing detail, strengthen some foreshadowing for actions to come.  Or conflict, character strengths and weaknesses. Or a bit more research.

5. I can’t edit or shade what I haven’t written.
To be honest, I haven't written much fiction lately. I'm getting back into it. The spirit is willing but the process is...rusty. I'm doing writing 'sprints'. I have to shut off the inner critic and write it. I have to let the joy of the adventure flow from my mind to my fingers and worry about the logistics later. 

6. I’d like to say I've conquered this perfectly but...I refer you back to #1.

  • How about you? What have you learned on your journey about your writing?


Kat Sheridan said...

I've learned I have zero discipline. I've learned that I cook rather than write. And when my kitchen is full of baked goods, it means I need to sit down and just write!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I've learned I'm a lazy writer and need the motivation of NaNo or something similar. I also learned I don't need to let the first draft rest before editing.
And sparse details in the beginning? I'm with you on that!

Mason Canyon said...

Years ago while working for a local newspaper my editor told me once that I wrote better under the pressure of a deadline. I guess that means I'm a bit lazy when I have plenty of time to write.

Thoughts in Progress

Pearl said...

I've learned to elaborate on words like "it" and "they". I've learned to get rid of the word "very", and I've learned to read whatever I am working many, many times over...


Peaches Ledwidge said...

I love # 3 because I do the same thing - "Go back and look what I've written and take a little time to add some reaction/emotions/description."

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I've learned that it might take a whole lotta writing to find one's niche.

Johanna Garth said...

#4 is huge and often the hardest lesson to learn!

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I think I've learned what you have. I can't try to write the way someone else does no matter how wonderfully successful they are. I have to do it my way. Good luck getting the fiction running again.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Kat, mine waxes and wanes--depending upon what goes on in life around me, lol! Baking is just another way to unlock creativity. And have goodies to eat. I can just picture your kitchen and writing area and the smells emanating from there.

Alex--NaNo always helps. Yah, I'm amazed at how many times one has to go back and shade in the emotions or details.

Mason, I used to be very addicted to the deadline of writing. I still do good work when I have one looming. It forces you to concentrate and get her done. These days I prefer less pressure in my life--including writing. I look for ways to spur myself on without adding stress. NaNo is a good one for that and my friend, Kat, will do writing challenges for the week or month. We report how many words we've done and the gist of what we're writing. We also share snippets of our writing. It's a fun way to be productive. :-)

~Sia McKye~ said...

Pearl--it and they. Yes, elaborating on those words do help. Ditto on the reading many many times.

Peaches, #3 is a way of life, lol!

~Sia McKye~ said...

Diane--absolutely. Finding our niche isn't always easy but you don't find it unless you practice.

Johanna, I've found several areas that are huge in writing. But #3, once realized, relaxes you enough to take it in stride.

Susan--yep. Gotta find your own way to tell the story because it's the path that lets the story come from your heart. And thank you. The fiction is again flowing. Feels good. :-)

Stephen Tremp said...

I've learned to be myself and just write damn it! And I've slain all sacred cows such as that stupid horse.

mshatch said...

I've learned to allow myself to write whatever and just explore whether it's going to turn into something rather than worry that it won't.

Yolanda Renee said...

I've recently learned that I would rather write than anything else. This marketing stuff is time consuming and sometimes more emotional than writing. Which is the other thing I've realized. My emotions and what's happening in my life, highly influences the stories I write, and even the number of people I kill - in my books - all in my books!

Liz Fichera said...

We have similar writing routines! :)

I can't agree with you enough about perfection. I also tend to ignore any writers who give me absolutes: e.g. NEVER use an adverb. NEVER write in first-person. Rules were meant (and should) be broken. Rules can stifle creativity.

Tina said...

I'm all for no rules and no one right way. I'm a pantser, and I keep hearing that real writers are plotters. I disagree. My big issue is that I tend to go way deep into the scene with all the details and everything it's going to need, then edit it as I go. I'm NOT good at just leaving it alone and coming back to it later. But I'm learning...
Tina @ Life is Good