By Paul D. Marks
Hard Day's Night
Every stage of writing causes angst, anxiety and nerves, which is why I used to like eating Red Vines while I wrote. Just chomping on one after another while writing helped with the nerves. But the doctor finally convinced me that three boxes of Red Vines every day while writing maybe wasn't the best plan.
Here Comes the Sun
Coming up with Ideas is pretty easy for me. I have an idea file that's about 65 pages long and has over 700 ideas in it. I don't think I'm gonna run out any time soon. People who want to write often ask me where I get my ideas, as if they're baffled where they come from. It's the kind of thing that if you don't see them there, at every turn, you shouldn't be writing 'cause they're everywhere just floating by in the air.
We Can Work It Out
The First Draft is also pretty easy...because I'm one of those "pantsters" who just writes stream-of-consciousness and whatever comes out comes out – I can always fix it later in the "editing room". I hate outlining, so I just let it all flow and then hone it and polish it in later drafts.
Plotting, characters, conflict, suspense, description, can all be difficult because you want them to be right and work and play off each other (you know, plays well with others), but again that can be fixed in the "editing room" and during the revision process. But with each draft you see a clearer picture and everything starts to come into focus.
I Should Have Known Better
And that leads to revising, which is where I start yelling "what did I get into this for – I should have known better". Revising is the most angst-producing phase of writing because this is where it all really starts to come together. And because it's all in the rewriting for me. I've seen other people who labor over each word and sentence as they go along so they probably don't have as much revising to do. But for me, that's where it all really starts to take shape. I pretty much let it fly in the early drafts and the real shaping, honing, fine tuning, polishing, come together in the revising. I might have ten drafts – or more – on a project, but some of them may have only have a handful of changes while others have wholesale changes in plot, character and incidents, all of which need to 'come together' in 'the end'.
Fixing a Hole
The worst part of the revision phase is that it's an endless process, because every time you read the story, even if it's been published, you find holes that need plugging and things that you want to change, from small things like typos, to major things like plot points and characters.
But at some point you just have to say goodbye and good night and close the door, like they do on Diane Keaton at the end of Godfather I. And then you move on to the next phase.
You send your baby out into the world and hope that everyone thinks you have a beautiful baby, but, like those people in Casablanca, you wait...and wait and wait for a reply. And then you just have to:
Let It Be
And now for some reason I have this desire to listen to some Beatles music. See you next time.