Monday, June 14, 2010

Writing Lamaze: Breath! Write! Push!

I have come to the conclusion that writing a book is a lot like having a baby. If you're a guy, you'll probably have trouble making the leap here, but you're going to have to put on your imagination hat and try.

Getting that baby out there on the paper is hard work. You aren't going to feel like it sometimes, but if you want to deliver the story, you're going to have to push. Sweat will pour down your forehead. You'll feel a lot of discomfort. You'll wonder how all those other books ever ended up on the library shelves considering the amount 0f work required for just this first draft you're writing that isn't even very good. (I was amazed we ever came to have so many people walking around on the earth the first time I went through labor.)

Then, when that baby is finally out, you're so relieved. It's over, right?


I like to think of 0-6 months of having a child as the honeymoon time. The baby coos and gurgles, squirting out diapers from time to time, but for the most part everyone is happy. It can't talk back to you yet. It's pretty happy as long as it's fed, comfortable, and not too tired. But from the time that little person begins to figure out that a world exists, he spends all his energy trying to get that world to bend to his own little will. As a writer, you cannot bend to the will of your story. You have to train it to go where you want it to. This happens through your many drafts.

Your manuscript will be willful. I'll warn you now. There are going to be days that it wants it's own way, and you're going to have a time getting it to do what you want to (terrible twos). Sometimes you'll have to cut huge chunks out or change them around (think of this as orthodontia for your manuscript and be thankful it doesn't cost $5000). It won't always make sense (the teen years). About the only thing you have going for you is that it doesn't want the car keys. However, you can count on it to keep you up late at night.

This is the end of my not very eloquent post. Any comments from the rogues' gallery?

1 comment:

  1. Haha.
    I love this post!
    Great job. :)
    It really helped me see what I have to do...NOW I understand, lol
    So cute.