One of the things that I’ve always found fascinating about other writers blogs is when they share their own behind-the-scenes story. How they crafted their tales, how they decided on a cover for their novel, or how they approach the editing process. There are so many different ways to write, polish and market our work that we can all learn something from one another. I think readers find a behind-the-curtain look interesting too. Recently I read a summary of what it was like, personally, for J.K Rowling while she was writing her Harry Potter series. I found it intriguing to read that she found herself crippled some of the time by fame, deadlines and global expectations. I can’t imagine being so well known that my fans expectations would be an issue for me. I’d be thrilled if I could pay my bills with my fiction.
A look at the effort that goes into crafting a well-told story reveals that this writing thing is indeed, work. There’s writer’s block to deal with from time to time, word choice, research, structure, plotting, angst over word choice again, self-doubt, self-examination of the work (is it spectacular or merely okay?), editing, is the formatting right? Is this a stand alone short story, a novella perhaps or maybe it’s a full blown novel, or has it grown to epic proportions that might top 600 pages? Back to editing…that word, does it convey what I really want it to? Why did I leave that walk-on character in if she does nothing? Has my main character grown enough or is she still a whiney little sop? Do I want to offer this tale to a publishing house or self-publish? What if my story is too close to all its cousins in the genre? That chapter is crap, this whole thing is crap, I can’t write, what was I thinking? Oh wait, this isn’t too bad… And the internal dialogue goes on and on. There are a great number of honest writers who share their struggles with their written babies, and this is inspiring and comforting to other writers.
But for all that this chosen craft is work, it can be rewarding, engaging like few others and most especially, consuming. I can only speak for myself here but I find research to be a slippery slope. One minute I’m looking into domestic terrorism statistics and hours later I’m griping about how hard it is to find more than basic information on FLY teams. Then I realize I’ve gotten nothing out for dinner, the dog is crossing his legs and doing a pee dance by the door and my coffee is stone cold! My own domestic responsibilities taken care of, I plunge back into my novella. Just before bedtime, I realize that my basic premise could be expanded into a series. Thoughts of my cloud-like bed pushed aside, I am gripped with ideas that will help my tale stand out from the crowded thriller/suspense genre.
I love research almost as much as writing, I always learn something. Hopefully, when it makes an appearance in my story, it will be brilliantly worded and teach others as well as entertain them.
Isn’t that the whole point of writing after all?
In the throes of breathing new life into her writing, Carolyn is hard at work on a domestic terrorism/thriller as well as various speculative fiction short stories. Learn more about her life and work on her author page.
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