When I began writing, I wrote a novel. Then I re-wrote it. And then I did it again. And again, all in all a total of about 11 times. I did it without coherence, knowing that it needed tending, but not knowing how or where to find the problems.

I think what I was doing was developing my voice, learning all about the craft of writing.

Recently, I’ve gone back to that novel and I re-wrote it again. This time, I’m learning about the craft of story telling. I’ve been learning about story telling over time, but never in such a concise form as I have these last 3 months.

What I’ve learnt is that sometimes writing is about not writing.

I speak to other writers, read your blogs, I know that for you many of you this is something that comes quite naturally for you. Not for me. I think of writing, and I need to write. I am not good at slowing, thinking, mulling things over. I see something I don’t like and I want to change it. immediately.

There are of course, big problems with this. A change very rarely is a change unto itself, there is always a domino effect, a ripple that one small change sends out into the whole novel. And what if that ripple leads to others, and others, which it often does, and I don’t like those changes, they don’t belong.

So, I’ve learned to still my hand, and keep files and journals where I write my thoughts. I analyze them, see the ripple effect of a change, and inevitably, I will adjust, often more than once. And only then once I have everything outlined and organized step by step will I implement the change. If I like it.

And the prose? Well that comes last now. At the very end. After everything is in its place, then I can play with the words, and enjoy the textures and sounds. Can you tell this is where my fondness lies? It comes to me naturally, in ease. The rest of it is work, fun work, frustrating at times, but very rewarding.

Wishing you all a happy New Year with lots of fruition, and may your writing go where you want to take it!

Happy Holidays!


10 thoughts on “Dominoes

  1. I really like what you said about writing down your thoughts and keeping journals. I have recently started a project that will take awhile. So thought for now I would basically just keep a diary of sorts. I sit down each day and just right random thoughts that are going through my head on the subject to note how I am feeling about it each day and then will at least have a foundation to go back and organize. Thanks for your thoughts! Keep writing!

    1. Thanks, Joellen! Sounds like a hefty project you have there!
      I started keeping a writing journal with a different wip and noticed how much it helped me to free flow the ideas about my characters and story movement. It’s been invaluable in helping me move my work along, the only thing is sometimes the notes pile up and end being very difficult to sift through, which is why I’ve kept a second file on my computer that organizes those thoughts into a concrete to do list that I update as I ranble away in my journal.

  2. I wish you plenty of time to write in 2012! 🙂 I’m anxious to get back to normal around here, so I can get down to serious work on my next novel. And I love when I get to pretty up the prose too.

  3. I know exactly what you mean about the dominoes. To me, that’s the most frustrating part of writing a novel. Although, every so often, the dominoes fall in a beautiful pattern and it works out.

    I wish you lots of time with word textures in 2012.

    1. Yes, Cathryn, it is fantastic when that happens!!!When the change clicks, and tells the story in a more coherent way!
      It jsut often takes so much thought for me to get it to that point!
      All the best in 2012

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