Tuesday, November 10, 2020

How Long Do You Write Before Writing It Down?

I spent almost four years writing my first novel before I put a single word on screen or paper. 

Writing a novel wasn’t intentional. A song had captured my imagination, a single image formed in my mind, and gradually a story unfolded to accompany that song and image – all in my imagination. I mentally nursed the story for years, changing the characters, adding scenes, and altering the story line.


How you imagine a story, or create it in your imagination, is very different than what happens when it’s time to actually write the story. In my case, what I was imagining was a cinematic story, moving from scene to scene while developing a story line. Writing that down had two benefits: it forced the story out of my head and on to the screen, and it made me realize how big the gaps in the story were. 


I could imagine a character participating in a bike race, for example, and gloss over the details in my mind. But to read it on the screen showed the gaps and shortcomings. It was missing color and depth. The imagined account has left out the emotion, because I could imagine the emotion in my mind. It took six years of rewriting to get the draft to a point where it not only made sense but also told a complete story. 


To continue reading, please see my post today at the ACFW blog


Photograph by Mitchell Hartley via Unsplash. Used with permission.

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