Piecing It All Together

There's a little known secret we writers like to keep to ourselves, because we fear that if word got out, readers would immediately become disillusioned and abandon us. It's not as bad as a reviewer spoiling a twist in the plot of a book, I suppose. Those people should be tarred with onion dip, feathered with potato chips and released to a crowd of hungry football fans on the day of the Super Bowl. But it is a little like the magician showing you how he fooled you.

Here's the secret: stories are rarely written from beginning to end without rough spots along the way.

This might sound obvious, but if you're a good writer it should never be obvious to the reader. Your stories should read seamlessly. I know the process is anything but seamless. Piecing Frankenstein's monster together was less daunting. You've got stitches all over the page. Scotch tape. Different colored inks. Scribbles in the margins. Stop and goes. And this is your third draft. But after that final draft, all of this must be invisible to the reader.

What you should take away from this is the understanding that you have incredible freedom as a writer. No one has to ever see your early drafts, your wastepaper basket full of crumpled paper, that climax that was so ingenious when you first thought of it but turned out to be a clich? on the page. Those are yours to keep. No one need ever read them.

The process doesn't have to be painful, either. In fact, if you remove some of the constraints you place on yourself as a writer, it can be down right enjoyable. For instance, you don't always have to write a story from beginning to end. Connie Willis likes to write her endings first, then write the story back toward the beginning. Jeffrey Deaver prefers to spend months working out every detail of his story in an outline, with specific places for twists. Dean Koontz, who used to outline his stories, now lets his characters provide the impetus for his books. He follows along behind and lets himself experience surprise much as his readers will.

Every writer has to find what works best for him. And every writer has to understand that what works best for this story might not work best for the next. Don't be afraid to experiment. Don't be afraid to let go and see where it takes you. (This will, of course, be easier if you stuff a dirty sock into the mouth of that little editor sitting on your shoulder. You know who I'm talking about. He's the one who never has anything nice to say. So do that now. Dig out a dirty sock and use it.)

What I'd like you to take away from this is the comfort that a word on a piece of paper (or on a computer screen, for that matter) is not the same as a word etched in stone. It's okay to work on the description of a character until you get restless, then toy with the opening sentence or try reworking the dialogue in that early scene. It's okay to toss out pages, try different words, add scenes. Tinkering goes hand-in-hand with creativity.

And again ? no one will ever know.

It may resemble Frankenstein's monster to you, but all the reader will see is a living, breathing story.

Just don't forget to pull the stitches before you're finished.

David B. Silva
The Successful Writer
http://thesuccessfulwrit er.com/creativewriting/

Writing Made Them Rich #5: Peter Mayle

Peter Mayle was born in England in 1939.His fascination with France began at the age... Read More

Proof Positive: the importance of proofreading

Last week I was having a quick browse on eBay when something caught my eye.... Read More

Keys to Characterisation

Far too many inexperienced writers create flat, stereotypical characters: the brave fireman, the damsel in... Read More

Becoming A Successful Author: The Price!

So you want to be a successful author? You want to be up there with... Read More

Revving Up Your Writing Productivity

Productivity begins by recognizing and valuing your brilliance, time, and space. It starts with awareness... Read More

How to Avoid the 11 Biggest Mistakes of First Time Authors

"If you want to change your life," Harry Beckwith wrote in The Invisible Touch, "write... Read More

Make Your Mark Upon Humanity

The greatest gift you have to give to yourself and humanity is the book, the... Read More

Recipe for a Style Guide

Wired Online has recently announced its plans to drop capitalization in internet, web, and net,... Read More

6 Tricks To Squeeze Your Letters Onto One Page

Anyone who has read any of my articles on the subject of letter writing or... Read More

Pairs/Groups Of Words Often Confused - Part 4 of 6

LATER, LATTERLater means afterwards; latter is the second of two things."Later that day we went... Read More

Italics Part 2 - Using Italics to Show Thoughts

Way back in your early school years, you were probably taught to use the tag... Read More

Writing Help

Whether you are working for a small business, large corporation, or are a student, there... Read More

The Beginners Guide to Freelance Writing

The Big IdeaOkay. So youve figured out that you would like to write for magazines,... Read More

The Top Five Mistakes That Companies Make with Regard to Technical Documentation

I've seen it time and again. One of the most common weaknesses that I've seen... Read More

Top Ten Ways to Write a Book That Sells

Is there a book inside of you? Yes? Then why don't you write it? Or,... Read More

For Beginners: Ten Ways To Prepare To Get Published

(Skip directly to ten for the fastest shortcut!)Like any field, excellent writing requires study, practice... Read More

Ten Tips to Help You Finish Writing Your Novel

1. Set aside a time to write and keep it sacred.Make this a time when... Read More

When I Grow Up

I've just come back to work after nine glorious, sun-drenched days at home. This year,... Read More

Suspense Novels Made Easy

Suspense novels are probably the easiest novels to write. Suspense novels require a simple formula,... Read More

6 Ways to Jump-Start Your Writing Day

1. PLAY A GAME LIKE SOLITAIRE....for half an hour or so before you start to... Read More

Writers: Dr. Phil Goes Fishing with Oprah in His Tackle Box, Shouldn?t You?

Dr. Phil's Life Strategies, #1 New York Times Bestseller catches us on page one. His... Read More

Sharpen Your Writing With Structure

At some point, every serious writer is forced to sit down and conclude that there... Read More

Know your Audience Before you Write Your Book or Web Site

If you want happy customers to use your service or buy your book, you need... Read More

Scenes and Structure

Beginning writers often tend to think of a book as a series of chapters. It's... Read More

How to Relax Your Writing

Q. My writing sounds stiff and stilted. Help!A. Memories of high school and college papers... Read More

Write That Down! Compulsively Collecting Content for Your Writing

Have you ever read someone else's writing and thought one of the following things:Where did... Read More

Screenwriting and Screenwriters ? beyond Syd Field

Without denigrating the work and contribution of Syd Field to the art of screenwriting, it... Read More

What Is The Single Worst Writing Mistake?

The following answer sounds simplistic?but think about it. The single worst writing mistake is "not... Read More

Top 10 Common English Goofs by Web Authors

In reviewing and browsing web sites over the years, I have compiled a list of... Read More

A Series of Articles on Autobiography

ESSAYS ON AUTOBIOGRAPHY: NUMBER 1Preamble:Nearly seven years ago I wrote my first essay on the... Read More

Linguaphone Language Learning Solutions

Language Training - A key to Global CommunicationLanguage Training is integral to success in the... Read More

Uncommon Advice for Beginning Novelists

1) Convince yourself you want to do something else. If you don't succeed, proceed to... Read More

Do The Unfamiliar To Keep Your Writing Going

One of the best ways to blow someone's winning streak during a tennis game is... Read More

Why Should You Use Worksheets For Proofreading?

Proofreading worksheets are a great tool to help individuals open their eyes to the mistakes... Read More

Write A Better Newsletter!

You've decided to write your very own Newsletter to promote your business, communicate with your... Read More

A Few Brief Tips to Deal with Writing Rejection

What to do when you get rejected.You've just finished your book, sent out query letters... Read More

How to Write Your Op-Ed Piece

Op-ed articles, also known as opinion/editorial articles, are a great way for aspiring writers to... Read More

Know Your Editing Choices

Each author has special editing needs. To save yourself time and money, look at the... Read More

Business Writing: 10 Great Authors

Great business writers combine narrative skills with sound judgment to create classics that help both... Read More

Top Seven Ways to Select a Book Topic That Sells

Authors need to write their book according to their target audiences' needs and wants. You... Read More

Starting a Freelance Writing Career (or Thoughts About Taking the Plunge)

Nike's ad has taken on new meaning for me of late; "Just do it!" runs... Read More

A Writers Tools

William Faulkner, the great Mississippi writer, said, "The tools I need for work are paper,... Read More

Learning to Question Your Elephant Child: Who, What, Where, When and Why

Having problems writing? I don't know why. San Francisco Chronicle columnist Jon Carroll writes up... Read More

Fight The Fluff!

The first and final rule of quality writing is this: what doesn't strengthen your writing,... Read More

Passionate About Writing?

I'm a writing fool! 2 book proposals, 1 user's guide, a business technology analysis paper,... Read More

Suspense Novels Need Fast Starts

Suspense novels, unlike any other genre, need fast starts. Fans of suspense novels or their... Read More

Be Your Own Literary Agent and Get Published

So you're one of 20 million Americans who want to write a book. If you've... Read More

Writing Short Info Reports

People want information, they want it quick, frequently in short form, and straight to the... Read More

Writing is a Discipline

If a writer considers writing to be a task, he/she is doomed to failure. Since... Read More

The Psychology Of Effortless Writing

I love writing. I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with... Read More