Writer’s Notebook, 5/1/12

Back to the drawing board.  Two weeks ago I discovered that I didn’t have a working climax.  The more I prodded at my plot outline and scene sequence these past two weeks, the more I realized that the structure of my plot just wasn’t fitting together.  I’m back to rethinking the story.

With one exception, my characters are good.  The premise is good.  The complication is good.  But… what plays out how and when and where and why?  What corresponds to reality?  Are these characters going to show themselves and their choices and actions to me, or not?

I mentioned an exception, regarding my characters.  One of my characters is underdeveloped.  Honestly, I had idealized this character and forgot that this character was also human.  I suspect that as I develop this character further, the plot of my story will be become clear.  After all, a character’s choices come out of his person, and his person comes out of his choices.  And there’s the story.

Or so I guess.  What do I know about this, anyway?  Being a beginning writer feels like being an adult in the body of a baby:  I know what walking and grasping are supposed to look like, but I can only thrash my arms and legs around, unable to use the silly things. Perhaps one day I’ll roll over and scoot.  That’d be nice.

A writer I follow, Karen Harrington, linked to an excellent post on the newbie’s creative frustration by Jeff Goins To whit:

In your mind, you see the project in its ideal form. It’s what the Greeks referred to as the “essences.” In some ways, you will never achieve that level of perfection you see in your mind. On paper (or on film or whatever), it will always seem like something’s missing.

And that’s because art is never finished. It’s the nature of the creative process.

Good to know that my old friend, Madame Perfectionism, is both my ally and my arch-nemesis.

Thank you to the people who offered advice on the best ways toward learning the craft of writing.   With your continued help and encouragement, I’m looking into a variety of learning opportunities and will keep you posted as to any decisions I make.  I am grateful to you!

And, finally, looks like word about me writing is getting around: a writing friend from college, Roseanna White, sent me a encouraging email this week.  It’s such a blessing to receive support from someone who’s been-there, done-that, and lived to tell the tale!


  1. Rachel says

    I am glad you can stay so positive and focused. That sounds like it can be frustrating, but in the end will make a better story and characters we will never forget. In high school I took many art classes, and the lessons I learned from those teachers have help in all aspects of my life. When you quoted Groins, “Art is never finished” its reminded me of what my painting teacher told me- talent is knowing what mistakes to keep and when its time to stop. I had trouble with both of those concepts. For each project I would approach her claiming I had a finished. She would convince me to take another look, to add more layers, and step back and view at my work differently. I was always frustrated, but in the end I knew she was correct. We mostly worked from stills, and like writing, it was being able to recreate life that was the challenge. Although I am not an artist, she did help me create a couple of pieces I am very proud of (Mom has them hanging in the house).

    So in the spirit of Ms. Drews, go forth re-evaluate and create something great. I am so impressed with you!

    • says

      Thank you, Rachel. You’re making me blush! :) It’s interesting, those blind spots to our own work – one of mine is, “I can’t write from so-and-so’s point of view.” But last night, as Jared and I were talking, he pointed out that other writers do what I say I couldn’t. And because I said I couldn’t, I felt as though certain paths for my story were cut off. “Re-evaluate!”

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