Learning to write

23 Jun

OK, So I’ve got about 30 short stories published. And three novels out there. And yet I still consider myself a newbie. I still have so much to learn about writing.

My last blog talked about a class I attended recently where my short piece was shredded to bits by Rad, the class instructor. But it’s ok because I learned from it. And I’ll continue to learn as I go.

So, here I am. Escapades (hopefully my next published work) is being beta’d so now it’s time to start working on a new project. And I have a great one. I’m writing a romance between two very different women during the Civil War in what is now known as Lafayette, LA. It’s not going to be an erotic novel, I don’t think. I’m hoping to make it a pure romance, but we’ll see how I do.

Which brings me to the subject at hand – learning to write. My head is still full of Point of View lessons from Saints and Sinners, as well as other suggestions from the Master herself – put more depth in my characters, show more emotion. And there’s the challenge of writing a romance versus erotica. Now, you’d think it would be easy for me, since I have such a hard time writing sex scenes, but it’s hard not to think, “This would be a good place for them to make love…” And then of course, there’s the historical aspect of the novel. Not only must clothing and social issues be accurate to the period, but the way people speak must be true to the time and place.

All this is playing through my mind as I’m working (slowly at this point) on the book. I’m constantly second guessing myself and questioning whether what I’m writing has the umph it needs. Is it believable? Are the characters likeable? Do we want them to be together?

And through it all, there’s one aspect of writing that I want to master – write the first draft without editing yourself!

How is this done? How can one write the story without stopping constantly to question and edit what one has already written?

I welcome any tips on this. I really want to get to that point where I can write without self editing, at least the first draft. Any suggestions? Thoughts? Comments?

As always, I’d love to hear from you!


Posted by on June 23, 2012 in Writing


11 responses to “Learning to write

  1. Barrett

    June 23, 2012 at 14:42

    NaNoWriMo. 50K words in 30days. No time to self-edit and that’s the whole point. I’ve done it for 6 years and you need to crank out 1,667 words everyday because falling behind is hell! Worth a try.

    • mjwilliamz

      June 23, 2012 at 15:01

      I’ve never done NaNoWriMo, but I see how it could be very helpful. Thanks for the tip!

  2. Carol

    June 23, 2012 at 15:01

    Oh yeah. I love NaNoWriMo too. It’s great fun and fast writing.

  3. Gaelle cathy lehane

    June 23, 2012 at 15:12

    I don’t think I can really help cause for me it’s rather the other way around. I write it all even if sometimes I know/see that I’m going to have to rewrite this or that, because I wrote this before and such… I can’t stop. I think so much about the story for weeks, months rather. It plays like a movie in my head until the boiling point and I start writing it and don’t stop till it’s written. It’s what comes next that I don’t like so much. The second draft is ok I guess cause there are many changes and more addition and stuff. But pass that point I just want to go ahead and start writing another story, you know, leaving the edits to itself. lol
    So I don’t know, maybe you can just keep your story in you for as long as you can until you can’t do anything else but let it out on paper as fast as you can. Maybe that can prevent you from stopping there and then.

    • mjwilliamz

      June 23, 2012 at 18:05

      I hear you. My book is like a movie playing in my head, too and I have to get it on paper. But maybe you’re right. Maybe I need to let it percolate longer until it absolutely CAN’T be held in any longer and then I can let it out in a fast and furious manner. THanks for the suggestion. I like that idea.

  4. Patty G. Henderson

    June 23, 2012 at 18:23

    MJ, darkling, who is telling you that you MUST write a particular way? If you like to self-edit as you go, why not? There are no rules for writing, my luv. Just write however makes you happy and productive. Don’t let anyone….I don’t care how many books they’ve written….tell you that you must write their way or a particular way.

    Self-edit to your heart’s content, as long as you keep moving the novel along and finish it. More power to you, darkling, and I am so hoping you make your new historical a sweet romance. I don’t read erotica but would love a sweet historical…..

    • mjwilliamz

      June 23, 2012 at 22:03

      Thanks, Mi Diosa Oscura. As usual, you are right on the money. I need to write in any manner that gets teh words out of my brain and onto the page. I appreciate your support, Dark Mistress and hope you will read my romance book…

  5. Carsen Taite

    June 24, 2012 at 09:00

    I hear you, MJ. If I self-edited along the way, I’d NEVER finish the first draft. There is no right (or write) way or wrong way, but when I’m trying to get the story on the page, it helps me to use placeholder names like Jane Doe when I’m stumped for a name, parentheticals when I can’t think of the exact word I want (w/c), and grammar and spelling take a back seat. I find my story has more continuity the faster I can get it on the page. NaNoWriMo is great, and it can be done any month of the year 🙂

    • mjwilliamz

      June 24, 2012 at 14:48

      That makes perfect sense about the continuity issue. Sometimes I take so long to write a chapter, I end up in a different area altogether and have to regroup and decide which way I really want the story to go. It seems l ike it would be faster to write without self editing, for sure. But then, I’m often ready for a beta reader after my first draft… so that’s something to consider.
      Thanks for chiming in, Carsen – as always, your input is always appreciated!

  6. Devlyn Sixtyseven

    June 24, 2012 at 18:14

    MJ, just write and make sure you have fun doing it. We will come and read it, regardless of how or when you edited it. I for one love your writing and your upbeat attitude so please don’t ever doubt yourself or your ability to entertain us readers.

  7. Rebekah Weatherspoon

    June 24, 2012 at 22:34

    I agree. Do what works for you. If people knew the details of my writing methods they would think I was nuts, but my crazy ways are working for me do far. Do you, doll. (:


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