From the wandering mind of Tamela Buhrke
After returning home from the Gold Conference on Sunday, I dutifully sat down at my computer and turned all my learning into powerful prose and I have never looked back... heh. Okay, you caught me. What actually happened was that I passed put from exhaustion, then spent Monday tearfully going through my novel; wondering how I could have ever written such rubbish. Why wasn't my inciting incident in the first couple pages? Do I have a strong character arch or a compelling voice? When would I find the time for revisions? Will I ever get this writing thing right?
Then, I had a panic attack.
Tuesday morning I cleared my head with a long bike ride, then sat down to look at everything again. I went through my notes and formulated a plan to implement all my new learning. This is how it looks so far:
1. Organize & Prioritize - Becky Clark's session on The Faster I Go, The Behinder I Get was a life-saver. I was freaking out because I wasn't sure how I'd find the time to get everything done. So I followed her advice and listed all the things I needed to do and then mapped it out on a calendar. I blocked off the time I needed for writing and informed the people in my life that I would not be available for meetings, tweetings, phone calls or work-related projects during my writing time. So far, so good.
2. Systematize - After rereading my notes from Robin Perini's session on Layering Complexity, I decided to go through my novel and summarize each chapter—highlighting the plot points. Next week I plan to look over those summaries to include plot turns more readily, avoiding the bog-like feeling at the middle, and giving the story more intensity.
3. Clarify - To ensure that my characters have greater vibrancy and consistency of behavior, I will use what I learned in Morgan Leigh's The Writers' Guide to Body Language to define my characters personality types and list what traits and examples of behavior they will display under specific circumstances. This will make their behavior more realistic and believable.
4. Pitchify (A word I just created.) - Several presenters stated that if you are having a hard time with a pitch or query, it could mean that you don't have a strong plot or inciting incident. So yesterday I wrote the pitch for my novel and realized the inciting incident doesn't have the va va voom that I am looking for. Time to rewrite.
5. Detoxify - Obviously, if a bit of information on writing technique sent me into such a panic, then it is time to clear out all these self-defeating thoughts and behaviors. There was a session on the emotional pitfalls of writers, called Here There Be Monsters: Writers Beware by Margie Lawson. Guess what? I missed it. Hmm... can I still order that one on audio?
So now I am prepared to implement my new skills. How are you doing? Feeling confident? Ready to write? If not, put together a plan that works for you.
Because we're all waiting to see your next great masterpiece.