I keep reading, “You only know how to write the book you’re writing.” In other words, you might have written one or two or ten books before, but that doesn’t mean that you can follow the same formula for any other book. You just have to learn how to write THIS book, the current one.
I’m learning that is true. I’ve felt a little loosey-goosey trying to figure out how to write THIS book. I don’t usually outline, but with this book, I’ve written two or three separate outlines, a synopsis (maybe two pages), and I can’t seem to figure things out. Tonight I started to write a LONG, detailed synopsis, and I think it’s really going to help. I think it will help to show me where the pacing lags … but I’m also going to go through it and color-code it based on what characters/storyline it follows. The hope is that if I notice, “Oh gosh, there are like four purple chapters in a row and nary a sign of green,” that I can figure that out NOW before I go back and revise it.
I’m reading a couple good books about writing right now, including The Art of Slow Writing by Louise DeSalvo, and it’s like a balm. Sometimes it feels like this book is written SPECIFICALLY FOR ME. The other book I’m reading is The Forest for the Trees by Betsy Lerner, and I feel the same way about that one too. It talks so much about anxiety around writing, plus the relationship between editor and author. There was a whole chapter about addiction and mental illness, which just goes to show how strong the correlation between these things and creativity is. I sometimes tell people that I’d be an alcoholic if I took one drink … so I don’t.
Life is crazy, and the Minnesota summer is TOO HOT. But I finally feel like I’ve made good progress on thinking about this novel. THIS novel. 🙂