Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Relationship Stages of a Writer and their WIP

We had a critique meeting a little while back and were catching up on where we are with our respective WIP's and it got me thinking about what a long journey it is to write a book. All the ups, downs and sideways feelings we have at any given time. So here you go, a list of the various stages (or maybe just the ones I go through) of the relationship a writer has with their novel along the way.

1.)    Love at first sight

Seemingly out of nowhere, you are blindsided by the tiniest spark of an idea that ignites your creative juices until you think “Holy crap! I might actually have something here.” And you’re so excited you want to share your excitement with everyone you talk to, but you know they won’t get it (unless maybe they are other writers) and besides, you kind of want to keep it all to yourself for just a little while.

2.)    Whirlwind romance

You spend the next days/weeks/months falling in love with your story. Plotting it out, pulling characters out of thin air and getting to know their names, faces and voices. Your fingers itch to be able to sit down and start barfing it out before your brain explodes. You’re convinced that once you do, your fingers will fly across the keyboard. It probably won’t even take you that long to finish the first draft because you love every single thing about it and see it all so clearly in your head.

3.)    The honeymoon

It happened! You are finally ready to start writing and the words are flowing. Characters are coming to life on the page and you’ve got some snappy dialogue. 1k words became 5k became 20k. You are rocking it! You know it’s not perfect, but there will be plenty of time to go back later for fixes and layering. The key is to keep looking forward.

4.)    The honeymoon is over

You’re stuck. You hear the voice of Gandalf the Grey saying “You shall not pass!” And you think, “Yep, you are so right.” You can’t figure out when or where, but you’re sure you’ve taken a wrong turn along the way and now there’s no way out of the mire. So you seek wise council and encouragement from your friends/critique partners. It helps and you push onward.

5.)    7-year itch

It literally feels like you have been writing this novel for seven years. Maybe your eyes are starting to wander. There are shiny new ideas fighting for your attention and what if one of them could be The One, but you’re not free to go after it yet. You’re in a committed relationship, but seriously starting to question that commitment.

6.)    Let’s try counseling

You thought for a second of giving it all up, citing Irreconcilable Differences, but you’re ready to stick with it and put in the work to go deeper, push your characters farther and seek out the problem areas to really work them out. Maybe time to seek professional help (or just the help of others/beta readers). Someone else’s eye could pick up on something you have been too close to see.

7.)    Happily ever after

You made it to the other side! Your WIP became a finished product and you are a better writer and your book is better because of all that work. You just want to cry all the tears knowing that soon it will be time to release it out into the world and you have no idea how it will be received or if it will really ever see the light of day, so you just hug it to yourself and keep it close a little longer. You want others to love it as much as you do, but even if they don’t, it’s got that special place in your heart forever.

The End J

1 comment:

  1. I love this post and think every author can relate! I've experienced every one of these.

    However, at the moment I'm in a stage you haven't listed--it's that one where you have major mood swings about your WIP. I'm working through the second rewrites and one minute I'm IN LOVE with everything about the story, and the next I'm depressed and sure it just sucks. Could you please add a Severe Mood Swings stage?? hee hee!!