There were story surprises along the way, and I had a fabulous time writing my first book. Here is just a taste of what I learned writing “Monster Girl”.
1. That falling in love with my characters surprised me.
Sure, I enjoy writing my characters as I’m writing them, but I didn’t realize how much I missed them once I finished “Monster Girl”. I welcomed Viki and Herman into my heart and home, and I felt their absence when they were gone. Immediately starting on a sequel has been like a visit from an old friend. I hope my affection for these characters shines through to you, the reader.
2. That I prefer writing longhand for first drafts.
When I vomit my words all over the first draft (aka “vomit draft”), I must use a pad and pen. While I love Scrivener for writing/formatting on my laptop, and I love my iPad for plain text writing. However, for some reason when I type, the words don’t flow as easily as when I write longhand. It’s as if the pen is the connecting tentacle from the creative part of my brain to the paper below. That connection has to be there or there isn’t an outlet.
3. That getting my butt in the seat to write is tough.
We all lead busy lives, and trying to share my time between work, family obligations, and writing can be difficult. If I force myself to actually sit down and write, I always have a great time. However, convincing myself to do it is sometimes like a trip to the dentist. I kick and scream and think of 15 other things that must be done right then or my world will fold in on itself. Getting into a regular writing routine has definitely helped.
4. That I’m a “Pantser”.
A Plotter is someone who outlines extensively before sitting down to write their project. A Pantser is someone who likes to fly by the seat of their pants and find the story as they write. Even though I have a few plot points in mind when I start writing, I prefer to wing it, and let the story take me where it needs to go rather than build extensive outlines. However, I won’t force any specific plot point if it’s not working. I do typically have my beginning and ending in mind, and sometimes a better idea can spring up during the process. That happened with this story, and I will go into more detail in a future blog post. But I’m a firm believer in trusting the story. Even though I don’t always have the full story when I begin, I trust the story will present itself. Stephen King also touches on this in his superb memoir “On Writing“.
5. That no matter how good of a writer I THINK I am, I NEED an editor.
Structure can be at the discretion of the writer, but there is no excuse for not having a proofreader. An author is so close to his/her work that it’s impossible to catch every mistake. Since we know our stories so well, our minds tend to fill in the gaps when reading, and it’s easy to skip over mistakes. I had plenty! I’m very appreciative of the assistance I received when editing “Monster Girl”.
I look forward to every new book because I know it will be a whole new learning process. Thank you for reading!
( “5 Things” was inspired by a regular feature at Chuck Wendig’s Terribleminds blog.)