Wednesday, April 1, 2015

IWSG: The Dating Game – Finding That Perfect (Writing) Fit

The first few chapters in a manuscript are like dating someone new. You’re feeling your way around cautiously, exploring, getting to know one another. You’re afraid to reveal too much and at the same time, want to know everything about the other person. Things are clumsy and uncertain. After a few dates you start to know one another well enough to get comfortable, to relax and explore. A month or so in, you establish a relationship rhythm. You know what to expect and anticipate. You finish each other’s sentences, laugh at the same things, know when the other is struggling and how to fix it. 


Writing is like that.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could bypass the blind date stage and jump right to the engagement party? Nope. No way to get around the work that goes into building something you want to make last. It’s those first difficult sentences, the take-for-freaking-ever-to-get- through chapters, the stilted dialogue and backstory drama dumps that pave the way for that satisfying conclusion. We just have to get through the hard part.

Serial daters cut and run when the going gets tough. Those who last to the golden anniversaries learn how to reshape rough edges into intriguing curves and inspiring heights.

Before you give up on that W-I-P and dump it like a bad date, maybe all you need is a little more effort and a lot more patience. Instead of focusing on the nitpicky things going wrong (dialogue you can tweak once you find your character’s voice, pacing you can fine tune in the editing stage), concentrate on the things that totally rock (the over-arcing storyline, that perfect scene, the feel of getting comfortable in your character’s skin). Once you quit looking for perfect right now, you’ll find happy together forever. Don’t be afraid to let it mature.

I almost gave up too soon on a prologue that began a bond spanning nine, going on ten books with my “By Moonlight” series. Here’s a glimpse of that relationship that started it all . . .




Serial dater or long term commitment? Where are you in your WIP?




Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time.

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Twitter hashtag is #IWSG

IWSG awesome co-hosts for the April 1 posting of the IWSG will be Suzanne FurnessTonja DreckerToi ThomasRachna ChhabriaFundy Blue and Donna Hole!

10 comments:

  1. Great comparison! I've dropped a couple 'first dates' but most I come back to. One falls in love so easily!

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    1. Don't I know it. Sometimes a rekindled romance is the sweetest!

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  2. Okay Nancy...that's the eye-opener I needed. I'm so nervous over everything looking just right for those first couple of dates that I'm not getting on into the rhythm of the dance. Thanks for once again turning the lightbulb on!

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    1. First draft is that awkward first date. Give it time to grow on you . . . then you can work change it. That editing is always easier on the page then in a marriage.

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  3. What a great analogy. Never thought of that. I'm in the long-term commitment stage for my WIP. I think we're in for an HEA--not just for the characters but me, too.

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  4. Vary apt analogy, Nancy. I've been both a serial dater and in a long-term commitment. I have a few manuscripts that I probably dumped too soon. I'll have to kiss and make up with them and give those relationships another try.

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  5. Great analogy. I don't always feel too in tune with my WIP's needs which isn't good. Need to spend more time!

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  6. I wish it was easier. My stories start off as gangbusters then I fall out of love... got to work to keep that love alive!

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