Saturday, February 07, 2009

The One Important Writing Tool

By Keith Fisher

Today, we’re going to talk about one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make as an author. The outcome of your choice could bring about the end of life, as we know it. At least it might affect generations of our unborn children.

The conclusion I speak of, the verdict that must be reached? It is so important, perhaps we should speak about it in hushed tones. Of course you know it is … which pen will you use at book signings?

Just kidding. A few weeks ago, I told you about the new book I’m working on. I believe I mentioned the book is writing itself? Even through the rough patch I’ve been having, (and I’m happy to say I think it’s behind me now). Even through all that, the book continues to write itself. Some days it’s only a few sentences, but it wants to be written.

During the course of the new book, I’ve learned some things about myself, and the way I write. Perhaps you can glean something from my experience.

I learned that I draft faster if I use a pen and paper. I don’t stop to edit because my mistakes would keep me striking out everything. I also discovered when I transpose to the computer, I am able to cut more exposition and rearrange the narration to make it more readable. I can add stuff too. I’ve found brilliant conversations because my mind takes what I penned and adds to it, making the whole story better. I’m enjoying this new symbiosis of paper and computer. It’s currently working for me.

I also learned that even with all my best intention, I seem to be writing a romance. I didn’t know I had it in me. The entire concept of the book came to me while staying at a bed and breakfast, but I thought the story would play out differently, like a Dean Hughes saga. As I listened to the characters I discovered depth and even tears. This book will rip your heart out, then gently massage it. Lovingly place it back in your chest, and help you move on.

The point of this is simple. We all tend to climb into our private ruts. We do things the way we learned long ago. It worked then, why change? I discovered a better way for me. Not because I thought it might work, but because necessity forced me. My characters pointed out my book would be better as a romance, and they were right.

I don’t think I will be the next Nicholas Sparks, for one thing I don’t have the physique he has. I might not keep writing romance, but I’m writing a good story.

The real most important writing tool is realy two. Don’t be afraid to try new ways of writing, and listen to your characters. They often know better than you, how their story should go.

Good luck with your writing---see you next week.


Annette Lyon said...

I think a huge key is knowing how YOU write best. I don't think I could do a notebook and paper, but I know lots of writers who find it to be their element. There's no one answer.

(I love that you're writing a romance!)

LexiconLuvr said...

I love that you're listening to your characters. As a writer, it's easy to believe that the brilliance lies solely with me but I know my characters deserve at least half the credit. (And God deserves it all.) Sometimes they know things that I've missed and see things that I don't figure out until I read back over it later.

I'm so happy for you that the story is flowing so well. Keep up the good work!

Tristi Pinkston said...

Actually, the right pen at a book signing is very, very important. I prefer feathers, myself ...

I wrote my entire first book longhand, and then transposed. Depending on what I'm writing, I'll sometimes grab a notebook. I'm so glad we have choices and can use whatever suits us best.

And can't wait to keep reading your book!

Anna Maria Junus said...

I hate handwriting, so it wouldn't work for me.

But I do love it when the characters take over and tell the story. Try telling that to a non-writer though. They look at you as if you have two heads.