It’s an interesting balance between doing enough pre-writing to have a solid idea of the characters and what might happen to them, and using it as an excuse to avoid diving in and writing the story.
I’m not sure how much to do now. How much time to spend in prewritng, and when to just start writing? I probably do have enough plot and character development done that I can start a first draft, I know basically who my people are, and I have a bit of an idea of what they are going to do. I don’t want to jump in then get stuck because of things that don’t work and won’t work, but I don’t want the paralysis of overplanning, of procrastination, of never knowing when I have enough to start. It was worrying on one level but very reassurung on another to read the writer who said that she did eight drafts now, as an experienced writer, and that her first sold story took twenty one! Worrying because of the amount of time and work involved, but reassuring because in that many rewrites, pretty much any problem can be fixed, and if a multi-published writer needs that many, I’m not failing because I don’t get it right on the first or second draft. Permission to write a crappy first draft activated!
That writer who admits to twenty one glorious drafts is Melissa James, a fabulous Australian author who writes for Silhouette Intimate Moments. She has some great articles for writers on her website. This one on flow challenged me to think about my story’s theme, and where the key turning points are for my characters- the answers surprised me. The articles on Emotional Depth are also brilliant- I will definitely print them out and have them by my side when I get to the editing stage!
I wonder if I am delaying getting seriously into writing the new story until my copy of the second edition of Kate Walker’s 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance . So many recently published romance writers credit this book with helping them get there, and I want to read it first before I make too many mistakes!
I’m filling in the time well, reading romances! I’m currently loving Annie West’s “A Mistress for the Taking”. I think this was her first published story, and one of the pieces of advice Melissa James gave was to read recently published first books (this wasn’t all that recent- 2006), as they give unpublished writers more of an idea of what editors are looking for in new writers. So I can tell my husband- I’m not just reading, it’s crucial research , far more important than anything else. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it!