Since it seems to happen every single time I set out to write a longer work of fiction, I thought it might behoove me to explore how I got here. My brilliantly laid-out manuscript and carefully crafted characters have decided to rebel and take me in directions I never intended to go. It started as a neat loaf of bread all proofed and ready to bake and became a handful of peanut butter cookie dough--all oozing and sticky. I've lost control and the trick is getting it back. But how did this transformation happen?
For me--and I'm sure many other authors--a manuscript goes through many of the same **stages the a relationship does. And yes, I've had many a story break my heart, but if all goes well and the project comes to fruition, this is what I go through:
1. The Romantic Stage
Ahhh, just like new love, a new idea for a novel is intoxicating. At least, it should be. If I don't become smitten and obsessed with the new novel, then it's probably not the WIP for me.
2. The Power Struggle
This is the rebellion, when the plot and characters take on a life of their own. And just like in a real world relationship, it's a tug of war that's critical to the growth of the novel.
All the plot snags and character inconsistencies have been smoothed out. The novel has matured and come into its own. Now it's time to kick the writing schedule into overdrive and get the first draft done.
First draft finished, it's time to smooth out the rough edges and put some shine on the manuscript. This means self-edits, pre-edits, copy edits, line edits, and proofreading. Yep, it's time to do the REAL work of writing.
It's you and me against the world, little novel. Now published and presented for public consumption, the book no longer belongs only to me. Hopefully it will touch readers and my words will live on in their hearts and minds.
So when writers say they're married to their work, I'm inclined to believe them because apparently, I am too.
Next week, we'll discuss the Romantic Phase and how I know an idea and I have chemistry!
**relationship stages complied from The Couple's Journey, by Dr. Susan M Campbell