Thursday, January 22, 2015

It's Your Book


Before I got over my fear of first chapters, I avoided them completely.
If I had an idea for a story, I didn't just jump in and start writing from the beginning. Usually I'd begin by writing my idea down and along with it everything I knew about the story, such as characters, plot twists, etc. Then I would spend my time thinking up scenes and imagining my book in movie form (oh come on, you know you do this too).
All of this was fun, and it helped me develop my book a lot--but my problem was that I was thinking and planning and creating all sorts of things and ideas for my book, but I wasn't actually writing it. I didn't know where to begin.
The more I put off the actual writing process, the more I began to doubt myself.
I'll never be able to write this. I'll never finish a whole book. This is stupid for me to even try; I should just stop.
Eventually when the subject of writing came up in my conversations with people, I'd say if I finish the book rather than when. My excitement slowly began to fade away. I would try to start writing, but would then get frustrated because I didn't know enough about what happened in the beginning of the story. I found myself getting super excited about a scene that I planned to happen towards the middle or end of the book, and I knew that if I could just get through the beginning, I'd be able to write those scenes, but I just couldn't do it. I couldn't write the beginning of the book.
And then one day, it occurred to me that this was my book. I was writing it my way. So that super awesome scene that I was absolutely dying to write but would take place at the end of the book? I wrote it anyway.
And that's when I began writing snippets.
Snippets are basically just the term I use to refer to individual scenes or sometimes chapters from my book. In this case, I was desperate to write a scene that took place at the end of my book where my two main characters were being held as prisoners and were going through the process of accepting that they were most likely going to die the next day. I could imagine the scene perfectly in my mind, and I wanted nothing more than to write it, so I did.
And now, I do that every time I have a new story idea.
Instead of jumping into chapter one head first, I write the part of the story I want to write. I write the scenes that I can't stop thinking about. Sometimes I even write the simple skeleton of a conversation my characters will have.
To my surprise, after I began writing snippets, my story began to come together. Little by little the plot began to change and my ideas started to knit together. Soon enough, I felt like I was ready to tackle the story from the beginning.
Yes, there are some snippets I wrote that didn't make it into the book, but that's okay. I still keep them just in case I need them for reference or future inspiration.
This is your book. This is your writing style. If you want to write the middle of the book first, go for it! No one can tell you how to write your story.
The wall over my writing desk is basically a giant wall of stuff: calendars, posters, pictures, quotes, etc. One of my favorite quotes on my wall is "Close the door. Write with no one looking over your shoulder. Don't try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It's the one and only thing you have to offer." I just love that quote, and when I read it I realized that I was writing how I thought I was supposed to write: beginning first, then middle, then the end.
Now I know I have control over my writing style, and when other people find it strange that I write the middle of the book first, I just shrug.
"But how can you write the middle if you don't even know how it ends?" Oh, I just can. It works for me.
The point is, there isn't a rule book that states you have to write your book a certain way. So whatever you write, write it your way! Whether it's ending first and beginning last, or a bunch of random middle scenes. It doesn't matter. This is your style, and your book. Write it!

"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." Ephesians 2:10

1 comment:

  1. Hey Miranda,

    I commented on one of your other posts a bit ago (like, 10 minutes maybe) about this kinda thing...you basically answered my question in a whole new post that I hadn't read yet...oops.

    Love your blog!

    ReplyDelete