Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Does Magic Happen?
I've heard some authors say, "My last book magically wrote itself." Not only have I heard that, but I've said it, so I understand the feelings behind the logic.
Does magic happen for some books or is there something else going on? Let's think about this a little more.
I just finished the rough draft of a new novel I've been working on since last summer. This novel took a long time to write, and there were days I felt challenged to complete a couple of pages. For my other novels, I wrote a chapter a day. What was the deal with this book?
The deal was . . . I'd changed. No longer do I sit down and write like I did years ago without thinking through many aspects of my novel and how I want to shape my story. I know what the beginning, middle, and ending of a book needs. But I also want to do more than that. I want to make the book the best novel I can write. I want to top my last story. I want to challenge myself. I want to deliver to my fans a great read that will surprise them and make them want to read all of my books. If I accomplish that it will be because of hard work.
I've read some blogs where writers say, "If writing becomes work, I don't want to do it. It has to be fun." Okay, so here's a question. Can't you have fun and work at the same time? For most of us to succeed in this business it will take years of hard work, years of rejections, years of sitting down at the computer and pouring out our souls. Is that fun? Some days it is fun, but some days it hurts because we're dealing with emotions that are raw yet need to be tapped for a believable scene. Maybe "fun" isn't the word we need to describe writing. Maybe the word is "rewarding." Is writing rewarding? Yes. Maybe not so much at the beginning of a career, but if you hang on and learn with each book, writing can be very rewarding, especially when a fan tells you with tears in their eyes how much they loved your novel.
So maybe saying "the story just came to me and magically wrote itself" can be misleading to those who are starting to write. Believe me, most published authors have worked very hard to find success. And they continue to work because they want their next story to be better than the last.
Does magic happen for some books? Maybe, but it's also a lot of hard work.
What do you think? Is writing fun? Hard work? Magical? Rewarding? You tell me.
Posted by Kathi Oram Peterson at 9:04 AM