I just finished writing my novel. I know, I’m awesome. Er, wait…
I started with an edgy, brilliant idea. I stared writing. I got several chapters in when I discovered I had errors in my timeline. Crap. I made notes to come back to it because the muse was tickling my basal ganglia (look it up — it’s not dirty) so I journeyed onward. I kept writing. A new character would pop in mind – woo hoo – so let’s go there! More writing. Chapters turned into ideas larger than a hippodrome. Stories within stories. The plot got dropped and picked up like a yo-yo. I WILL NOT BE DETERRED! With all the gusto of a Hemingway or an Austen I forged ahead like the untamed Cracken!
But. let’s e serious for a moment, what really happened was my plot became a morphing blob, my characters didn’t know each other and … and… ok, let’s call it what it is:
A FREAKIN’ HOT MESS.
The long story short is…I finished the story with the thinnest of plot line. Once finished I had no idea how to edit the beast I created. I made a plot without the oversight of process.
Writing can be cathartic and explosive and wildly entertaining. That is the essence of a writer. But…. I want to sell books and make a living from writing.
I want to become an AUTHOR.
That’s how I learned the hard way the difference between being a writer and being an author: ya gotta have PROCESS.
And you have to develop your OWN process. That’s the rub – how the @#$ does that happen. Well, my process came to me in cleaning up my raging pile of plot. I realized I needed a timeline, something to keep me understandable to the readers. No matter how much sense it makes to me — it has to make sense to the reader. Creating a timeline keeps ya me honest.
I went to Family Dollar and spent $3.19 on craft paper, Post-its and note cards. I made a note card = 1 chapter. I made yellow Post-its for characters and purple for plot turns. In doing so I realized the holes in my plot, where my characters needed to connect and how the hell I was going to finish the damned novel.
Now that my Chimera-meets-Shapeshifter tragedy of a plot has been transformed into a sleek and ever-understandable story – I have shipped it off to the editor. I look ahead to novel Number 2. For this endeavor I made note cards for all the possible scenes I have in mind. I placed these note cards in order so that I have a timeline to follow. With my note cards in order, I can select where I want to write knowing where it’s placed into the story. I also have built-in mechanism for when Writer’s Block (myth!) occurs, because if I’m organized and prepared to write – Writer’s Block can kiss my [insert your selected body part here].
So the moral of this story is – I have a PROCESS. I plan to hone it during this next novel. Now, my precious little possums, what ‘er you gonna do? Yallz have the Google at your fingertips. Remember…a process will help you “Git ‘er done!”
As always, please share shamelessly to everyone you know.