Episode 24: It's Fixable!

In today's episode, we continue a conversation we started about being stuck when you are writing. Melanie and I are working on our 2-tier outlines of our stories, and we are still swimming in choices. Even though Melanie has a 60,000 word draft of her story finished, she is still faced with making decisions that will clarify and propel her narrative. I, too, am drowning in choices to make in my writing-- the beginning is so hard! There are so many places a story can go and so many things a character can be!

But at the end of the show is when the magic really happens. I share that my 7-year-old daughter finished her Lulu, Jr. manuscript for Lily the Alligator Doesn't Know How to Swim. We sent it off in the mail and celebrated. And Jennie yells, "THIS! THIS IS WHY MOM WRITES!" We write so that we can model for our children what it looks like to work hard, be creative, and make space in your life for this kind of work! I may only have a half-finished outline at this point, but I'm successful when it comes to modeling a writing practice for my daughter.

In this episode: 

  • When writing, you must choose! Choosing one thing often means letting other things in your story go. But Jennie makes a comforting point: nothing is holding you to your answer! If you make a choice in your writing and don't like it, go back and choose again!
  • The two best questions you can ask a writer about their work are:
    • Why? (And ask why in every possible way!)
    • What if? 
  • What to do if something in your story is holding you back. In the case of Melanie and I with our outlines, Jennie suggests a way to get important story info out of our heads and onto the page without bogging down the outline. 
  • How much time you should put into edits and answering editors questions at this stage of your writing.  
  • World building: every single work of fiction has to do some sort of world building. 
Everything is fixable.
— Melanie Parish
Everything is fixable except who you have children with.
— Jennie Nash

Books and things we talk about:

The Lovely Bones
By Alice Sebold
Lucky
By Alice Sebold