It’s cold here in the desert right now. My toes are still elongated ice cubes, even though they are encased in fuzzy double-layer socks. I’m not going to give a temperature because the Midwesterners buried in snow may take this as bragging. They may call me a wimp and send me hate emails. It is true that it’s colder elsewhere, and maybe I am a wimp. But I’m a freezing cold wimp…in the frigid, windy desert.
My four-legged kids appear to feel the chill, too. I came upon my unmade bed this afternoon and found a surprise. (Just so you know – I can’t make it in the morning because Cybil is in it. Remember, what I had to go through just to change the sheets?)
Here’s a glimpse into how my sometimes-scary mind works: Finding my cat hidden inside the folds of rumpled covers triggered the vague thought that sometimes, things aren’t as they seem. This made me think of situations where things look different from reality. Then, as I often do, I realized that this goes for writing, too. See, it’s kind of like a toppling line of dominos, only not nearly as cool!
Just like friends aren’t always friends, the “free” gift with purchase isn’t free, or low-calorie fudge cake doesn’t taste like its rich cousin, I’ve realized that what I thought I had figured out about novel writing isn’t much at all. If my writing journey was a trek up Mount Everest, I’d still be loading my pack with supplies right now 🙂
I have to say that not having a clue made starting a project simpler. All I had when I wrote my first novel was a goal to actually finish (for once), a rough story outline and several characters with descriptions that I could reference. The vague idea of what should happen in each chapter and my cast of characters was enough for me. I didn’t know the rules, so I wasn’t bothered by them. The lack of discipline showed in the editing, but I think my novel of “don’ts” still has promise. Someday.
After reading “The Art & Craft of Writing Christian Fiction” by Jeff Gerke, I understand that plot and character both have to be spot-on for the story to be memorable. I have to strengthen my weaknesses, remember to show, not tell, fight predictability, and write interesting dialogue. Oddly enough, the dialogue doesn’t worry me as much as the other aspects, which worries me 😛 Such pressure!
Deep breath. Exhale. I have to start somewhere. Is it going to be plotting out the story? Or is it going to be character development? Both are vital to the story and somewhat depend on the other. Oh, I can’t decide. <groan> Wait! I know how to choose…
Eenie, meenie, miney, moe…
Which came first – the chicken or the egg? Do you plot your story or develop characters first?