The Importance of Letting Your Writing Marinate

Okay so you are probably thinking that I’ve gone a little crazy right? I mean how are you supposed to let your writing marinate? Just let me take a moment to explain. It will all make sense I promise!

I guess I should start off by saying that the marinating usually comes after you’ve completed a story, although it can be useful in moments of hard cord writer’s block.

So you have just finished writing a story! It could be short, novella length, or even a nice novel. The first thing you want to do is start editing, right?

WRONG!

You need to let your writing marinate. And by marinate, you need to close that document or that notebook and forget about it. Completely. Don’t even think about going back and reading it. You need to let it sit for a good long while. Now the time differs for everyone and depends on the length of the story. Shorter pieces don’t need to marinate for as long as novels do.

The reason this is so important is you need to edit with fresh eyes. Not with the brain who has become so immersed in your characters and their world. Letting it sit allows you to be able to look at it with a critical eye. You’ve pulled yourself back, and now you are able to go back and make changes you would have resisted making had you gone back right away.

You need that time also to decompress and give your mind a chance to work on something else. You’ve finished something, and now you can start something new.

Your story has finished marinating when you feel you can go back and look at it with a critical eye. It is also important that you don’t wait too long. If you do, you’re going to lose the drive to go back at all. It’s something I’ve really struggled with. Editing is a daunting task but so very necessary.

So what do you other writers think? Do you let your stories marinate?

Pride and Prejudice Wordle

So I’ve just discovered a great website that creates word clouds out of your writing. It’s called Wordle. Basically what it does is make the words used the most the largest. It was interesting to see which words I use a little too often and which words I didn’t use as much as I thought I did. I use the word “just” and “know” and “eyes” the most after my characters’ names. So after spending a little too much time, I thought it would be fun to put in the text of Pride and Prejudice to see what words Jane Austen used the most. This is what I got!Pride and Prejudice Wordle

 

Obviously Elizabeth and Mr play a huge role. I like that “must” and “much” were big too.

So I encourage you to check this site out and let me know what words you use the most!

Character Study – Nollie

So my latest writing adventure contains one of my absolute most favorite character. Her name is Nollie (short for Magnolia), and she is one of the happiest characters I have ever created. Now that might seem strange that I have to say she is one of the happiest characters I’ve created, but I have a whole slew of characters that have a lot going wrong in their lives. It is very rare that I can start a story with a character in a happy spot. I have stories about jilted brides, dead husbands, really bad breakups, and other sad, tragic things.

Nollie doesn’t start off already weary but bubbly and happy. She is such a breath of fresh air after Ronnie. I felt terrible for Ronnie. I stuck her with a terrible breakup practically on page one and just kept throwing crappy situations her way. She got a happy ending finally, but it was rough going pretty much the whole time. Sometimes it’s really hard for me to write these characters who are so tortured, but I seem to always be drawn to them.

This is why I’m so excited to be writing Nollie’s story. Let me tell you a little bit about Nollie. She’s a redhead, and she rambles. I can not begin to tell you how fun it is to let her ramble, especially when she finds herself in an uncomfortable situation. She loves to dance, and she’s amazing fun to be around. She’s also got a great sense of humor. She does have the unfortunate tendency to read way more into a situation then is there which often gets her into trouble. She also falls into love a little too easily. She’s pretty outgoing but extremely protective of her photography. She has a huge fear of rejection, and an even larger fear of failure. She was also unfortunate to end up with the name Magnolia Flower.

What’s so great about Nollie is how easy she is to write. I don’t have to struggle to put her to paper. She just flows right onto the page with very little effort. It’s so nice! Especially after I’ve spent hours trying to get other stubborn characters to cooperate.

Here’s a little taste of Nollie as she talks–well rambles really–about her rambling:

“Sorry. I’m completely rambling. It happens sometimes. I’ve really been trying to work on it. I just get so carried away, and the words just seem to keep pouring out. And there I go again. I’m going to shut up now.” She placed a hand over her mouth as if to keep any more words from tumbling out as her face reddened almost to the shade of her hair.

So that’s a bit of Nollie. I know that was only a little glimpse, but what do you think? Do you have any characters that you just love writing?

The Most Important Thing To Do as a Writer

The most important thing to do as a writer is to WRITE! Now I capitalized and put that word in bold for a very important reason. A writer is not a writer until he or she writes. Okay, so this sounds like a bit of a no brainer, right? To be a writer, you obviously have to write. You’re probably think I’m not really telling you anything new. And I’m not. Not really. But I am going to tell you why I’ve dedicated a whole post to this topic.

The answer is simple. So many people talk about how they love writing and want to be a writer, but very few of these people actually write. They just imagine what it would be like to publish a novel, become instantly famous, be able to quit their day job, and become incredibly happy. The problem with many of these people is that they don’t take the first step which is sitting down at their computer or with a pen/pencil and paper and actually write something.

Now I’m going to tell you that I often have a hard time writing. And the reason this happens is because writing is hard. Not so much the actually writing, per se, but the actually sitting down and doing it. That is the problem. We make excuses about not having the time or having writer’s block. We might even worry that whatever we write down will be horrible. But you will never know until you write it.

My friend and I were talking the other day about our current projects. She has this amazing three book series planned out, and I’m working on editing my NaNoWriMo novel and writing a second one. We talked about things we were stuck with and just the general dread of actually doing it (for me, I have no desire to go back and edit because I know that story has SO many problems it’s not funny). I told her that we needed to take action because if we didn’t, we would never get to the editing stage or the publishing stage or actually see our novels sitting proudly on a bookstore shelf.

I have been all about taking action lately, and you should too. This very action I’m talking about is what resulted in my revamping Scribbling Bookworm. This action is what is going to make me start editing my novel and will have me writing my other one.

Now that I’ve said all this, this is what I want you to do. Take 10 minutes at least and just write. Write about anything. It could be about your day, it could be for an existing project, or a completely new project. All I’m asking is that you spend at least 10 minutes a day writing. You will feel so much better once you do this. You will write, and you will be a writer. I know you can do it! I have every confidence in you! This is what I’m hear for, to be your cheerleader. The only thing I ask in return (okay, two things) is that you write and you cheer me on too. Together we will write, and we will be fulfilled.

Until next time, happy writing!

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