The process of writing amazes me. There is so much involved in making it look simple, natural. Being a part of the process is humbling. To feel the birth of an idea intrude in your thoughts, whether you’re looking for it or not. Then to see it become something that entertains or delights someone else. We talk about the craft of writing, and we try to get people to believe that it’s hard work, but often the hardest thing to do is to sit quietly and let the story develop in our minds, or come to us from. . . wherever.
I attended a writers’ conference for the third year recently. At the dinner table, a newer writer began asking me questions about what I’ve written and what had been my experience in submitting to magazines and where to go to learn the skills she wanted.
I have a hard time giving writing advice. First, there are always exceptions. Second, I have a long way to go to reach my dreams. But I have started.
I was told years ago that no matter where you are in your journey, there will be people ahead of you, and behind you. You can always find someone who can benefit from what you had learned.
I was fortunate to be able to attend the Novelist Retreat that Yvonne Lehman puts on
at Ridgecrest near Ashville, NC. It was a time of getting to meet other authors and offer workshops for writers to learn more of the craft of writing.
One of the most important lessons to learn is that there is no one way to write. You have to learn, by experience, what works best for you,.
This was evidenced by the writers selected to be our faculty. In this corner (read in the voice of the WWE announcer) was Steven James. Steven is an organic writer, which means he writes without an outline. He lets the story guide him. Sometimes into a corner, without a way out. But, he says, that is often when we have to be our most creative. (His book, Story Trumps Structure is a great resource and teacher of this method.)
And in this corner. . . Torry Martin and Diann Mills showed how structure gives you a start and format for your book or story. A simple way to look at this is the three-act structure with a beginning, a middle, and an end.