So I’ve recently been more diligent about reading all the blogs about writing I follow. Some are inspirational, some keep me motivated, some are just fun. Then there are the ones that I actually learn from. And sometimes that learning is PAINFUL.
I don’t know about you, but I HATE IT when I’m wrong. I’ve been writing for a long time. I’ve come a long way from those callow days of my youth when I thought my writing was perfect and editors would swoon reading it. I’ve made lots of mistakes, learned to identify them, learned to fix them – mostly with the help of other sainted writers who have been gracious enough to give back to the writing community by helping others learn, but a lot on my own (proving, I suppose, that if you bang your head against your desk long enough something positive may come out of it). So when I read Kristen Lamb’s blog on Flashbacks the other day, I was, in the following order, convinced she was wrong (before I read the post), aggravated, (because I actually START my current WIP with a flashback), infuriated (because DANG, I hate it when I’m wrong), and finally grateful (because I was given a gift I didn’t know I wanted). Not only was Kristen’s advice about Flashbacks spot on, she really helped me understand WHY. And that is the mark of a great teacher. She got past my initial knee-jerk reaction, and in a very entertaining way, worked me round to her way of thinking. Sneaky, this one. But so right!
This, my friends, is how we learn. Now, not only do I have to re-examine how I start my story, but her post also made me realize I needed to examine the story I’m really trying to tell. And it was NOT the story I thought I was trying to tell. Fortunately, I’m only 100 pages into it. So it’s early days, and I have time to go back and reweave the tapestry. If I hadn’t taken the time to read her post, revising on this puppy would have been H E double hockey sticks. Cuz you all KNOW how much I despise revisions.
I encourage all of you to read Kristen’s blogs. She’s amazing. And the three blogs she recently published related to flashbacks won’t only teach you about the evils of this dreaded writing tactic, but will also give you some hints about story structure and pacing that any writer, no matter how seasoned, can benefit from, if only in the reminding.
So now, back to the slog. I’m giving myself until the middle of May to get the bones of this current WIP in place. But come May 15, I need to get back to the final run through of my mystery, so I can meet that June 21st deadline for publication. Wish me luck and please, if you can spare it, send along more of those vats of butt glue. I don’t think I used enough the last time, I keep managing to pry myself loose to go in search of Cheetos!
Illegitimi non carborundum!