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Note to myself on the writing process #1

by Frank on July 26th, 2014

Lesson to be learned and never forgotten. Recall that when you were struggling with this first chapter, you despaired and were ready to throw in the towel. You had envisioned many ways into the book, tried many versions–all of which felt wooden and boring. You researched descriptions of the setting and historical context–and they all lay there on the page like so many dead flowers, or worse–like bird droppings.

It was not until you created living, breathing, speaking characters, people with pre-existing relationships to evoke did the way in become interesting to you, even enticing. The thing came alive when it began to show humans bumping up against each other. Only then were you able to take that research and weave it into the tale in such a way that was neither boring nor irrelevant. The telling of story involves characters interacting and the interplay of desires.

In any given novel there are hundreds of plot elements that must come together and fuse, each one anchored in place by all the others. Creativity lies in letting your mind play over the gaps like a laser welding device until the surface is as solid as the tracks of a roller coaster.

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