Sunday, November 4, 2007

Not Exactly a Walk in the Park

I love living near a groomed city park and a wilder state park. I take frequent walks and enjoy myself, playing with dogs in one, and watching deer in the other.

But some parts of writing are not exactly a walk in the park.

What's the hardest part for you? Is it coming up with an idea? Strong characterization? Dialogue? Staying in a consistent POV or resisting spilling backstory on every page?

Mine is the first draft. Accomplishing that is like giving a long, agonizing and emotional birth. And at the end? Well, for me, what I end up with is not much more than a fat outline. One that needs diapering, and feeding, and nurturing.

What comes next is filling in the scenes, shifting the plot where it needs to be shifted, and creating something that works and is exciting. Way easier said than done. But way easier--for me--than the first draft.

What's a suspense novel without pacing? That means I end up with a lot of Nobel-prize winning words on the cutting room floor. (You'll have to trust me on that one.) Even with just a fat outline, I can overdo what should be underdone. I live for the day when I can write pretty much straight through with very little leftover.

In the meantime, I think I'll go for a walk.

It's all better with friends.


  1. So true ... hey, where is that pic from? Looks like Colorado ...

  2. Yep, it's Colorado. You must be familiar with my native state. That shot is my "wilder" park across the street. I love escaping down there. It doesn't take long before I'm in another world, far from structures and traffic . . . and plot problems. LOL.

  3. Peg, great job illustrating the reality of crafting a solid plot. Write, cut, cut, cut . . . write, cut, cut, cut. LOL

  4. Thanks, Susan, Queen of "Do You Need This?"

    LOL. Sometimes, my immediate reaction is, "Well, yeah." But after mulling it over, and reading it without the extra words . . . well . . . guess that's what makes you such a great editor.

  5. Your Nobel-prize words are on the floor, too, huh? :)

    Thanks for the invite. Your hubby and you by the Xmas tree make a great couple. He looks elegant with his gray. :)

    And you have mountains. Sigh. I haven't seen mountains in, er, close to 30 years. Wow.

    My sister dreams of living in Colorado. I told her to win the Lotto so I can go with her. :D


  6. One thing I find funny - how we all write so differently. First drafts aren't a problem for me. Knowing what to cut - and being able to cut it - is. :)

  7. Hi, Koala Bear! Good to see you here.

    My first thought was about how wonderful it would be if we could somehow meld those things that come easy to us with those that come easy to another writer.

    My second thought was wondering if I'd get as much satisfaction from something that came without any struggle.

    My third thought was that I'd like to give my first thought a try.

    Nothing like a decisive decision about something I have no control over anyway.