Wednesday, March 7, 2007

The Early Bird Always Gets It

Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action arrives, stop thinking and go in. ~Andrew Jackson

I've always been an early bird. Raised by a mom who was perpetually late for everything, I can barely stand the thought of being the least bit tardy. My punctuality always pays off. If I'm early for a dentist's appointment, I generally get in to see him a little earlier than scheduled. Same with a doctor and a hairstylist. I think these working professionals appreciate early birds like me. :)

Every time I meet my friend Martha for lunch, I arrive thirty minutes early to get us a table. While I wait for her, I people watch or I browse through the latest Writer's Digest or Toastmaster's magazine. Yesterday, I was bombarded by thoughts regarding my latest WIP. I'd reached a stand-still in my writing and that usually means I've taken a wrong path somewhere along the way or I'm trying to force a character in a wrong direction. I kept thinking I was ready to move to the next chapter, but I just couldn't make the leap. Yesterday the moment I sat down thoughts popped into my head about what the next scene should be, where it should take my hero. That's how it happens. An explosion of activity inside my head--with dialogue!

I took out an index card and started jotting notes. (I absolutely love large index cards!)

And boy, do I love it when I can get past a troublesome spot in my writing. I considered hopping to the end of the book and writing backwards for awhile. I've read that some writers do that but I've never tried it. I'll save that little trick for another time.

There might be something to writing with pen and paper in a coffee shop too. Maybe I'll try that. I know a number of authors who write all of their novels in long hand. They edit when they type them in manuscript form.

Isn't writing fascinating? The entire process of creating a story with beginning, middle and end, exciting characters facing problems and traumas, and both author and characters growing through it to the end of the book -- well, it just seems nothing short of miraculous to me. Of course, my mama didn't call me melodramatic for nothing. I've always been a writer.

Once you're into a story everything seems to apply--what you overhear on a city bus is exactly what your character would say on the page you're writing. Wherever you go, you meet part of your story. I guess you're tuned in for it, and the right things are sort of magnetized. ~ Eudora Welty

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