The Easy Part of Writing...

12:48 PM Elizabeth Seckman 0 Comments


Today is my dad’s birthday.

Today I have a finished novel ready for its final read through.  My dad always liked this part and it stings not to get to share it with him. One of the greatest compliments I ever got was when my dad read my first masterpiece and called me and asked, “I’ve always wondered…where do you come up with this stuff?”

That’s the easy part, I answered. The hard part is the polish. And the dreaded query.

“You’ll get that." He said it like it was a done deal. "You’re really overlooking just how hard it is for some people to create. I mean I come up with what I think are great story ideas, but to try and put them down on paper in a sensible, interesting way is… for me at least… impossible.  You should be proud of that.”

My dad wasn’t one to hand out compliments like candy, so when he added, “I have always held the highest respect for writers. You guys build worlds from nothing but an idea and that just amazes me.”

Publication can't feel half as good. With pride I explained to him my process and he listened, really listened like I was some sort of pro. 

I told him I get an idea then I think... what if this…then what if that…then like a sentence with just a subject and a verb…I add the other parts… the interesting parts...and for me, this is the best part…I let the protagonist grow naturally in a sort of  love fest where I allow myself to go anywhere I want to go. I usually end up with a structurally unfit and horribly written rough draft.

Then I set it aside and edit something else.

 Then when I barely remember what I vomited during the first round, I go back through with my logic cap on. Usually half the words get the chop. A plot line is drawn. Then, like a puzzle with just its outside edges, I fit the smaller pieces…the foreshadowing, the red herrings, the subplots, and the setting. 

Then it goes to the beta readers. I choose only the really kind and supportive sort of readers because harsh criticism at the stage really stinks.  Then they come back with what they read…someone in chapter 2 disappeared…her hair went from red to gold…they really liked so and so, give them a bigger part…and so on. I take their notes and their feedback and go back to the drawing board.

 Then out it goes to my writer friends who kindly do the line edits. What I thought was done comes back with oodles of highlights like an unfortunate kid with yellow measles. Rewrite again. Let it set till it’s cold again, then reread and rewrite. Send it out to agents and editors and when I'm lucky, get some feedback...then do more rewrites.
Still no bites? Get fed up, scrap old project, write something new and the process starts all over. 

It’s that simple.

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