It’s been a little over three years since I re-entered the writing world. The first year, I simply studied — reading books and magazine articles and blogs about the writing craft and what’s been happening in the writing world, as well as attending as many affordable, one-day writers’ conferences I could, and I joined a local writers’ group that meets once a month and I have been attending faithfully, for the most part, for these three plus years.
The second year, I began to write again, but I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to be writing. I couldn’t decide on a genre. I prayed for God to reveal his will for my writing. Then, I got an idea and I started writing, but I wasn’t excited about it. However, I wrote a bit, received some critiques, and then spoke with a writer and marketer at a conference, who offered me some great ideas/advice. That gave me some excitement. Unfortunately, the excitement was fleeting, and then I thought I’d finish the story and enter it into a contest. Long story short, due to technical difficulties, I missed the contest deadline. Being frustrated about missing the deadline and really just feeling “done” with the story, I let it sit for a month before picking it up and doing a read-through. Ugh! So glad I missed that deadline! The ending is rushed. The ending isn’t at all what I wanted it to be, and my timeline is a mess! Some friends have/are read/reading it and offering me feedback, which I will read through carefully and make notes of the things they suggest that I think should be changed. I will eventually edit, rework, and revise this story to create a, hopefully, better-than-good story. I may even publish it someday.
However, I have evolved! What do I mean by that? you may ask. Well, I have finally found my genre — historical romantic fiction! I’ve had a story brewing in my brain, even while working on the above-mentioned story, and I recently sat down to begin working on it. What I first knew I must do, was to research the time period and the place. I researched to choose appropriate names for my main characters, and as my plot line began to form in my brain, I researched a few other important details. What do you think I found, in addition to what I was looking for, in all of this researching? More great circumstances to add to my plot line! I have completely fallen in love with this genre!
I know what you’re thinking, “So does this mean you’re not a pantser anymore?” Well, let me just say, “I’m not a plotter, but I’m not a pantser either.” I now fall somewhere in between, but I have found that while researching and building my plot line, then by creating my characters and their backstories, I have found a place that will allow me to plan enough for historical romantic fiction that gives me the historical facts I need but doesn’t require so much time and drudgery that it kills my creativity and my desire to write the story. As a matter of fact, it has simply fueled my excitement and eagerness to write the story, and I am sure with the bit of research and planning I put in before beginning the actual story, I will write a much better first draft than the last one.
How about you? How long have you been writing and how has what you have learned helped you to evolve into a better writer? I’d love for you to leave a comment and share your story.