I'd tossed around ideas for the main characters, theme, and basic ideas for months. Time to crank out the words, right?
Yes, I am an SOTP (seat of the pants) writer and have enjoyed every minute. Sort of.
Recently, I sat at my computer tapping out the first few chapters stopping only when interruptions or lack of the next words stopped me. Three thousand words into the manuscript I closed my laptop.
I was stuck. I went to my bookshelf and pulled out some fantastic resources for organizing a manuscript and since I can be distracted by shiny things, I bounced from one resource to another.
Organizing a manuscript is like going on a diet. It is something you have to want to do to be successful. My attitude read the how-to pages and rebelled against organizing, preplanning, outlining, story world research. (You missed the two-year-old stomping of the feet. And the inner voice shouting "No! I won't do it!")
I set the books aside and looked at the clock, wondering what useful writing task I could do to fill the remaining minutes of my writing block. I ventured over to You Tube and found an interesting vlog chock full of tricks and shortcuts for a program I use. I didn't know the presenter would use her method of outlining, characterization, setting, and organization of a novel to demonstrate the shortcuts.
Before I knew it, I was hooked.
So intrigued with viewing new ways to use the computer program I enjoyed, I actually learned a method for outlining my book--and horror of horrors--I liked it!
I did the assignments suitable to my shiny way of thinking: watched travel logs of similar places to create my story world. I swept through various sites to find names suitable for my characters, mapped out the story world city on power point, and figured out which character worked at the diner, postoffice, auto repair shop, etc. The families interacted in my mind and their faces appeared. They shared with me their issues and joys, lies, victories, hardships, etc.
I broke the story down into a three act play. (It became a Lays potato chip moment.) Each act had three chapters addressing specific issues. Each chapter had scenes with assigned POVs to best communicate the events and gradual infusion of new characters. Subplots ideas appeared. I tucked them into scenes where they'd enhance the story. I wrote one to two paragraphs for each scene. It was like watching a garden grow.
Yes, I'd learned how to map out my book from other wonderful resources. But now, for some crazy reason, I wanted to follow through.
I set a goal for each day, allowing three weeks for the set up/research process.
The first day of the fourth week I opened a scene and saw my summary para. I read it through and wrote the scene without any writer's block. The same thing happened the next day when I sat down to write another scene. I couldn't contain my excitement at how easy the words flew together. I wrote a third scene the same day.
Having the scenes pre planned with summaries enabled me to choose any scene from the new book idea that popped into my mind. Of course the scene begging the loudest to be word painted on the page that day won. It didn't matter. I was prepared.
I could switch to my natural tendencies as an SOTP and write the chapter tweaking my mind because the book was now organized. (I can't believe I'm saying this.)
Can you hear the thrill in my words? I feel like the kid who finally learned to ride a bike. Or tie their shoes. The teen who has their driver's license or the college student who left home. Freedom!
The date I set to have finished all research and start writing a scene in my manuscript was 10/15/13.
Did I make it?
I had so much fun writing reports about the locations, the top six characters, everything I learned about the people and places, lies and victories, and etc. I did much more than planned for each day. I ended up writing my first scene one week early.
Seriously! I know--shocker.
Successful writing can be done as an SOTP, plotter, or as a mix. That's me. I'm now a mutt writer and very happy. I hopped over the fence, jumped out of the box, and colored outside my own lines.
Here I've rambled on for a whole post, sharing my confession like a kid at Christmas.
How does this help you?
Are you in a rut, ready to try something new?
Here at the Writers Alley, ten women share fabulous ideas from different perspectives, brimming with ideas for our readers.
Yes, there are many ideas available on the Internet, conferences, classes, and books. What you have to do is to find the one that you are willing to apply to your need.
1. Pray. Ask God to lead you to the answer.
2. Don't be afraid to ask for help.
3. Don't be afraid of the Internet. (but always use caution)
4. Chose you this day to work towards conquering the writing problem you have.
5. AND when you do....CONFESS so you can encourage others. :)
This is an opportunity--a chance to to ask for a topic, a method, an idea, help, a resource, whatever. We are here for you.
How can we help you? We are also willing to write posts devoted to writing issues.
What have you tried that trampolined you into a new, wonderful way of writing?
(And no, I won't tell you which program worked for me...because this is not a commercial for the program.) Yeah, I know....wicked.
photo by freedigitalphotos.net
Mary has moved to Michigan with her husband, closer to her three college kids. She misses the mountains of Montana, but loves seeing family more often. She writes contemporary and romance Christian fiction and loves to pen missionary and Bible adventure stories on her ministry blog, God Loves Kids.