Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Real Romance of Writing

File:Chile - Santiago 43b - antique typerwriter (6834276976).jpg
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

This week I started writing a new book.

Writers write novels in many different ways. Some have complete outlines detailing every plot twist. Others, like me, have only a general idea. (I usually begin a novel when I figure out the novel’s beginning, ending, main characters, and how to tell the story—structure, point of view, etc.)

And as exciting as the fresh page/blank computer screen is when you type “Chapter One,” it’s also terrifying. You can’t help but think about the thousands of hours ahead. Because as romantic as being a writer sounds, it’s more than ten thousand hours in a chair by yourself, fighting with language. And plot and characters. Yes, characters are imaginary, but they are like children, born with their own will and agenda. They are two year olds who stomp their feet and refuse to eat peas even though they loved them yesterday.

Lest I mislead you into believing the tortured artist cliché, the aloneness doesn’t bother me. I’m introverted by nature. So I’d rather be in a quiet room arm wrestling verbs than trying to calm an irrational customer. (I worked in customer service the summer between high school and college and discovered that my job was to let people vent. “Why yes, our company is made up of a bunch of losers and idiots. Thanks for noticing.”)

So compared to that, hours of chair-sitting doesn’t seem so bad. But the real reason, I’m brave enough to face that first page is because a few weeks ago in the mystical stretch of time between sleep and wake, Darcy, Meredith, Peter, and Priscilla told me bits of their story. And I have to find out the rest. That’s the romance of writing.


  1. Lovely post! You really capture what it's all about. Have a great time with your new book.

  2. Getting to start on that new idea is always a mixture of excitement and dread for me (largely because I'm certain I'll mess it all up!)

    Happy writing!

    1. Amy, I've read your book and I know you don't mess it up. :)

  3. Yes! Exactly! Characters ARE like children, and they come complete with tantrums, strong personalities, and loving moments.

    Oh, and I adore that time when you're just falling asleep and the characters begin talking to you. Showers are good for that as well.

    1. I hear you! When I'm stumped and I've written myself into a corner, I've been known to light candles and stand in the shower until I've figured out the answer. :)

  4. New projects have such a wonderful excitement, too--enjoy it!

  5. Well put! Yeah, starting a new book is kinda like jumping off the edge of a cliff. It's kinda scary, and we have all hopes of gliding to a safe landing, but...

    Good luck! I'm looking forward to seeing where you send your characters next.

    Oh, and... Happy New Year!