I’m old enough that I remember the glory days of the mixtape, the joys and frustrations of making one–running out of room on the tape! trying to catch the right song off the radio!–and the delight in receiving one…
If writing a first draft is an exercise in silencing your inner critic, editing your first draft is an exercise in silencing your ego.
You may have wondered, back at the beginning of the series, “But Lisa, when do you actually write the story?”
“Why would I outline?” I hear you saying. “Doesn’t that kill the magic?” Or, if you’re like me, you flash back to having to write outlines for essays in school. God, I hated that.
Okay. So you have your germ of an idea, and you hopefully have some characters. Now what? Now you start sort of trying to fit them together. At this point, you probably don’t have a full plotline in your head. Or at least, you may not realize that you do.
Characters are usually one of the first things that come to me when I’m working on a story. They’re one of the things I started with a natural ability to do–which means when I needed to take the next step to improve my characterization, I had no idea how the hell to do that, because it had all been instinctual up to that point.
The more engrossed I am in improving my writing skills, learning new techniques, the more difficult it is for me to turn off the analytical part of my brain when I’m watching or reading something.
I’m a huge believer in people trying their hand at writing if they feel the urge. Writing is one of those things you can really only learn by doing: write, figure out what you did wrong, figure out how to fix it. The problem is, there are so many ways to work on a story, it can be intimidating. Hopefully this series of posts will help give you a few ideas where to start.
Yesterday I sent the fourth draft of my book off to my editor. To be entirely honest, I don’t know that I’ve ever written four drafts of anything.
Plot is just the beginning.