Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas
Stories have to be told or they die, and when they die, we can’t remember who we are or why we’re here. Sue Monk Kidd
Yesterday I received a gift in the mail. My cousin asked me to send her a copy of my novel. She said she would make notes as she read it. I was not expecting what I got back. She filled three notebooks full of edits. She’s a retired teacher and this is the kind of edit that costs money and takes a long time to do. I am so grateful for the work she put into this. My novel will be stronger for it.
I started working on her notes last night. I’m also going through scene by scene and using her notes as a guide for my own questions. Do I start each scene with a hook and end with a cliff hanger? She gave me some actionable feedback when she called me to tell me she was sending her notes. I didn’t answer the question she wanted to be answered. I’m fixing that.
Everyone who reads my novel has given me feedback. This is why we need early readers. We need people who look at it with fresh eyes and give us another perspective. They ask us questions we might not have answers to but we should figure out what those answers are. Do we understand our audience? Do we know what genre the novel we have written fits into?
Learning to write is a process. We can edit, edit, and edit some more, but at some point, we have to say it is finished and move onto the next project. My son has been prodding me to do that for a while now. I’m getting there. When I get through this round of edits I’ll be closer. Then I’m told I need to read it out loud.
After that, a professional edit and then I should be able to publish. The next novel I don’t think will take anywhere near as much time. I will write and edit in Microsoft Word. I know more about structure, plotting, and organizing my writing.
The purpose of a storyteller is not to tell you how to think, but to give you things to think upon. Brandon Sanderson
Yesterday I stopped by Indigo and another book on writing called to me. Save The Cat! Writes A Novel by Jessica Brody based on the books by Blake Snyder. The reason I bought the book is Blake Snyder has developed ten genres that any story falls into. I’ve found categorizing my novel difficult but voila there’s my category in this book. My category is Institutionalized so my characters will Join Em, Leave Em, or take Em down.
I have purchased many books on writing. I wouldn’t want to part with any of them. They have all helped me on my journey.
The author also talks about sequels and how they fit into story structure. The other book on story structure that has really helped me is My Story Can Beat Up Your Story by Jeffrey Alan Schechter. It doesn’t matter what we write, it is like building a house. We need the scaffolding to hang our story on. Without structure, we are wandering in the wilderness stringing words together that don’t build anything. Like we piled the lumber, cement, and windows into a pile, instead of placing them where they need to be to build the house. We are the architect and the builder of our stories.
It doesn’t matter if we plot it all out first, or we write as we go, we need to fit it into the structure. Just like building a house we can buy a window at a time, as long as we know where to put it.
We have walls in our house to hang artwork on; we need structure to hang our beautiful sentences on. Our readers need to want to know what happens next to keep turning the page. Some writers have us waiting for their next book because we have to know the answer to the questions they left hanging. We stay up long past our bedtime if the writer keeps us saying, just one more chapter.
If we want to write, we should write. There are lots of books, classes, courses, and writing groups to join. Is it true when we find our voice, we find ourselves?
Is there a story in us we need to tell? Have we already begun the journey? If not now, when? What are we waiting for?
We are all storytellers. We all live in a network of stories. There isn’t a stronger connection between people than storytelling. Jimmy Neil Smith
Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world. Robert McKee
Stories are memory aids, instruction manuals, and moral compasses. Aleks Krotoski
Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.
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Save the Cat! Writes a Novel: The Last Book On Novel Writing You’ll Ever Need Paperback – Oct 9 2018
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