I’m Sandra S. Kerns and I want to welcome you to my version of Writing Right 101.
No this blog post is not worth 3 college credits, sorry.
I’m sure you’ve all heard every rule there is for writing. I mean, really, we all went to grade school where they start you on the never ending road to sentence structure, grammar, and rules (read as the current opinion of the literary world) on everything written.
Don’t panic this blog post is also not a test to see which of you remember what the present form of a past participle is. Is there such a thing?
For me ‘Writing Right’ simply means writing, at least in the creative form. Which, actually, is how all writing (even tech manuals) starts out. Someone has an idea and needs to put it down on the page. The page can be an old school tablet or notebook paper, a word processing document, a cocktail napkin, a . . . you get the point. For the purposes of this blog post, since it is on RomCon, we’re going to concentrate on writing a novel (my preference would be a romance novel, but I won’t limit you).
Let’s see, you need to make a chart with your internal and external goals and motivations for all of your characters. Then you need to outline your entire novel...Then...
Wait! I can’t do that, you say. Don’t worry, most of the time I can’t either. Really.
I’m what the ubiquitous ‘they’ call a pantser. I sit down in a chair and write my story as it comes to me. Do I have an idea of what and where it’s going? Of course. If characters weren’t running around in my head why would I bother sitting down and writing a story? Is that idea set in stone? Definitely not. Sometimes my characters are harder to figure out than my two sons were as teenagers. Does that stop my writing? No, it just makes it more fun.
Wait! I have to do that, you say. Great! I’m glad you are one of many people who can do all that pre-writing work and still have a story to write. That usually means when you get to the actual writing of the story it should go more smoothly. Congratulations.
Whichever kind of writer you are, or think you are doesn’t matter. What all those friends and relations who don’t support you or your dream say doesn’t matter. What matters is writing. If you don’t start putting words (of the story, not research, and plotting) on the page, you will never get your story written. If you never get your story written, you’ll never publish your story. If you never publish your story the world will never enjoy the great escape you could have given them.
If you don’t know where to start your story, pick up one of your favorite books and type their opening line, or some version of it, and go from there. It really is that simple. Once you start writing or typing the words they start to flow. Your brain shuts out the distracting noise of your surroundings and before you know it, you’re hooked. You need to know what your characters are going to do next. You can’t stop. If you do, they could end up hanging from a cliff over the Big Thompson River (I live in northern Colorado) and they’re fingers will be really tired if you leave them there for a week.
When that magical writing fever comes over you DO NOT reach for the nearest bottle of ibuprofen. Feed the fever. How do you do that? Keep writing. Don’t stop to correct grammar, punctuation, typos or check research. Just write.
All the above distractions can be taken care of when the story is finished. I know, I know. It’s hard to ignore those errors. It does get easier with practice. Do you know what else gets easier? Writing.
Once you have experienced the freedom of writing without worrying about the details, you understand the basics of my Writing Right 101 idea. Write because you want to. Write because you need to. There is a story inside you that just has to be told. Tell it.
After you get the words down on the page and type The End, (yes, you really need to type The End to feel the rush, or I do anyway) then you start the correcting, editing, cutting, and polishing of your masterpiece. It’s very rare that your first run-through will be ready for publication, but that’s fine. If you never get the story down you won’t have anything to polish.
Nobody ever succeeds without trying. So, let’s go for it! Who’s game to write the next best-selling romance story? I’m in, are you?
Two lucky readers who comment on my blog will be randomly selected to win a $5 Amazon gift e-card. Good luck!