Sunday, February 12, 2012

Golden Advice: "a time to every purpose under the heaven"

Hi, folks, Please give my little picture book in the left side bar a look. If you click on the book, it will take you a link so you can vote for it in the MeeGenius contest. Kudos to illustrator Anna Myers who did such a fine job of bringing my words to life.

I'm continuing my series on golden advice this week. This week I'm going to write about how this little quote from Ecclesiastes, "a time to every purpose under the heaven," helps me write. Is the timing working? Does this chapter/sentence have a purpose? I really do think about this in every chapter, even sentences and words, I write.

Writing is about finding the essential of a story and putting it on the page. I don't always feel like I'm in control of the storytelling. Storytelling is something that people have been doing for ages. As a writer, I'm forging new ground but I'm doing it at the end of long rows that stretch out through time, long before anyone had the thought to write down the first word. This is comforting to me.

So how do you know you've got the timing right and, heck, assurance every chapter has a purpose? Well, at first you don't know. You write a lot of absolute drivel. I believe you must write drivel to find the essential. Once you have a sprawling first draft that has plot holes the size of the Grand Canyon and numerous trips to nowhere riddle through it, you have to start sifting through it to find you novel. The good news, it's probably in there!

I start by looking for numerous chapters with the same purpose, chapters that are so well written they make me want to cry but they have nothing to do with my novel really, chapters that are 30 pages long, chapters that are less than six pages long. I suppose it not to difficult to figure out what to do with all this drivel. I fix it all and then my draft seems more solid.

After, I revise all the glaring disaster chapters. I move on to writing a list of all the chapters and then I write a little paragraph to myself pleading the chapter's purpose in the book. I find after have done this I usually have a boatload of good ideas to move toward my essential story...I also know what to boot out.

There is plenty more to say, but I will save that for another time. I hope this taste of my thoughts about getting to the essentials of my story has helped you. Seize the day!

Here is my doodle: "Jess at 3."


A truly good book teaches me better than to read it. I must soon lay it down, and commence living on its hint. What I began by reading, I must finish by acting. Henry David Thoreau

4 comments:

Vijaya said...

Jess is so cute ... you should do another sketch of him, Molly.

Great advice on what to throw out. I tend to write sparse and so always have to add meat. But in my current wip, I had so much to say, that I end up having to winnow.

MollyMom103 said...

I will think about doing a current sketch.


I totally connect with your process. I sure have been down your road.

Candy Lynn Fite said...

Cute drawing!!

Tossing out is difficult for me. Sometimes, I'm in love with my words / sentences. But, I get it. I really do.

I'm doing some revisions on my YA. It's tough. I'm finding the more I read, the more I'm scratching! Ha. By the time I'm done, my current 100,000-word ms will be down to 60,000. Easily!

MollyMom103 said...

Hi Candy,

I will think about the best cutting techniques and try to post about that. Cutting almost half a manuscript is a serious challenge, but I'm sure you are up for the task.

Thanks for dropping by. :)

M.