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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

It Works for Me

As I wait for the impending release of Ruby Among Us (Jan 2008), I work furiously on my second novel. One thing I have learned about the second one is that I am pretty much writing it using the same process I used for the first one.

At first, I tried to be very organized. I fought it and thought about trying things like outlines and index cards. After wasting a few months where I didn't write anything that I felt was decent, I tossed the index card idea out with the outline that never really materialized anyway.

I just don't write that way. Here is my way, and to some of you it might sound crazy, but it works for me. I write a few pages, I go back and re-read them and self-edit. I write a few more pages, I go back and read them, then edit them. I do this all the way until the end.

Call me strange if you want to, but it really does works for me. By the time I'm finished, I've read the manuscript from beginning to end repeatedly. And the really funny thing is that my agent says I'm fast!

I have a friend who loves to outline. And I've heard others who say they lay their note cards out in line and rearrange them in the scenes they want before they even write a chapter. Those people must rock. That is exactly how my husband would do it if he were a writer.

But he's not. I am the writer in the house. I'm also the one who doesn't see the point of straightening up my sock drawer or color coding my shirts in the closet. But like my mom says, it takes all kinds. If my husband was a less organized person, I'd really be in trouble. If I was like him, I wouldn't write the types of stories I write.

I'm sorry to draw wisdom from such a loose comparison, but the writing world is sort of the same. It takes all kinds of writers and thank the Lord we don't all work the same.

I think I'll keep writing as I always have. Write it, read it, edit it, and start over. I guess I spent too much time in the south last month because the best way I can say it is, if it isn't broken, don't fix it (that's a variation of If it Ain't broke, don't fix it, but as a writer I can't write it that way!).

The point is to be yourself. If writing is a new adventure for you, then by all means take a look at the rules and get ogranized. Terry Whalen at The Writing Life is a great resource and there are others.

We all have to follow some rules and be organized, but for me I've also learned not to fight my voice. It works best for me to write like me and comparing myself to others simply stifles that voice.

Tina Ann Forkner has recently contracted with Waterbrook Press, a division of Random House, to publish two novels. The title of her first book is Ruby Among Us. To learn more, visit her website at http://www.tinaannforkner.org/ or her blog, She Plants a Vineyard, at http://www.tinaannforkner.blogspot.com/

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I write the same way you do! Glad I'm not the only one not following the "rules".

Gina said...

I do the same thing, but it's been a problem because my editing keeps me from finishing a WIP. With this last novella I did, I polished the first few chapters, then edited the next section less and wrote to finish the last section without any edits, and I finished!

Maybe that's what works for me, but what advice do you have about someone like me who thinks they have to have it perfect before they can move on?

Anonymous said...

At some point you have to let it go! ;) I know it's hard for me too, but I usually have a trusted person read it while I'm taking a break from the manuscript. I ask them if they think it's finished. I'm like you, Gina. It's NEVER finished.

Just last week I rewrote a poem that was published ten years ago. I couldn't help it!

Anonymous said...

I do both-wierd, eh? I'm just starting out, so I might eventually fall into one or the other as time progresses. I'm glad I'm not the only one who continually revises everything:)

Eve

Anonymous said...

I do both-wierd, eh? I'm just starting out, so I might eventually fall into one or the other as time progresses. I'm glad I'm not the only one who continually revises everything:)

Eve

Anonymous said...

I do both-wierd, eh? I'm just starting out, so I might eventually fall into one or the other as time progresses. I'm glad I'm not the only one who continually revises everything:)

Eve

Anonymous said...

I do both-wierd, eh? I'm just starting out, so I might eventually fall into one or the other as time progresses. I'm glad I'm not the only one who continually revises everything:)

Eve

Mary said...

I identify! Just as Gina said, I love the sotp-ing writing process but the editing KILLS! If it were just editing, ay-yi-yi, that would be bearable, but beginning over again with new and increased conflicts, subplots, etc. It's killing me. I hate cutting my baby to pieces!

Really enjoyed this post, thanks, Tina!

PS, I, too, cringe at the word "ain't", but it's funny I just quoted that same quote today in my blog as a response to someone in comments...probably the first time I've ever typed it out. Mom instilled certain things into this head and never using "ain't" is top on the literary list!

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