The Book That Wrote Itself

This is the easiest book I have ever written. I thought I’d at least have trouble with the boys, because I usually don’t put young children in my stories, but once I got their names, everything else followed: their voices and personalities.

I haven’t written much about my experiences as a single mom of two little guys, but those years still stand out sharply in my mind, and while I’m writing I can vividly recall how it felt.

So this book seems to be writing itself, even the middle, which usually gives me endless grief. I just wake up every day and know what needs to happen next.

I used to think Hemingway was crazy becasuse he always left off his writing knowing his next scene, what would happen next. For me, I needed to get it all down, so I used to write until I was written out. Now I realize that what that did was burn me out, so that sometimes I didn’t feel like writing at all the next day. 

Another thing that resulted from writing myself out is that I’d skip all kinds of things. I never lingered to fill in the details. I just wanted to get the plot down. I was always in a hurry to finish.

And what’s funny is I’m limiting myself to a thousand or so words a day (sometimes I write more, but not more than two thousand) and I’m writing faster and building a better book. I’ve got less than ten thousand words left to hit my target of 55,000, and it feels like that’s about where I am in the story, pretty close to the black moment, pretty close to place where everything feels hopeless for the couple and you have to wonder how in the world they are ever going to get their happily ever after.

I can’t believe August (and school) are right around the corner, but I can believe that I’ll have this book wrapped up in ten days or less…


  1. It really is amazing what can happen when we let go and let it flow. The process you’ve discovered makes sense, which surprises me because I am one to push and push until I’m exhausted.

    Thank you for the direct link to Marcia’s article. I had searched her site without success and was going to resort to google. She provides a thorough outline for study.


  2. It amazes me how even after having written ten books or so my process is still changing and developing. Does that happen with sewing? Are you still learning new ways to do it better?

    As for the astrology link, I went back there myself and at first couldn’t locate it! So I thought, geez, and I just gave the home page link to Sharon! So I figured once I finally found it again I’d pass it on;-)

    I did originally find her on Google, though. “How to Learn Astrology” I think I typed in. She was the first link.


  3. Sometimes I worry about forgetting things. But then, by the same token, I think if it’s not memorable enough for me to remember – is it really worth including? I also find sometimes telling the same basic tale several times helps me explore the different ways I can express it and then I can go back and compare/contrast and copy and paste as desired.


  4. I like the idea of telling the story from several viewpoints, or at least knowing how every character feels about a certain plot point. As for the details–you are so right about cutting boring stuff, John, but my problem is not so much with that but in failing to paint a full picture of ANY plot point. For example, I often forget to ground my characters in a specific setting, and that can be hard on readers. They can’t imagine the story or picture it in their heads because I don’t go deeply enough into the imagery of a scene.


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