Monday, March 22, 2010
March Madness--Getting Into The Game
Yes, I've used this picture before, but it was in regards to my son playing basketball. This time, I'm using it because of College Basketball, to which I seem to have become addicted. I've spent the last four days watching the NCAA tournament instead of working on my manuscript. I have skillfully mastered the art of procrastination, but I'm putting my foot down. No more basketball. Well, at least not until Thursday when the tournament resumes. Hey, give me a break. The K-State Wildcats are in the Sweet Sixteen. Go Cats! Okay, so back to the topic of writing. I thought I'd have my own version of March Madness here on my blog. For the next few posts, I'll be discussing my revision game plan for helping my manuscript go all the way. For the purpose of these discussions, let's look at it from a coach's perspective. The first step to going anywhere in the NCAA tournament is getting into it in the first place. Not just any team makes it, and it's up to the coach to get his team there. It helps to have raw talent, but that talent must be nurtured and directed. The same holds true for an author trying to break into the publishing industry. A great cast of characters is extremely important, but it doesn't mean much if they aren't developed and guided through the story. This is the first mistake I made, and the first I fixed during my rewrites. I've read time and time again of other authors making this same mistake. We are a creative lot, and because of that, we tend to let our characters, or our muse, or whatever else you want to call it, take over our story. Would a coach allow his players to take over? He might grant them a little leeway, but he'd remain in control. The first thing I did when I began my rewrites was to take my story back from my characters. I regained control, and I redirected them to where they needed to go. I can't help but wonder if this wouldn't have been necessary if I'd worked from an outline. That's neither here nor there because I didn't, but I certainly will in the future. It might save me a great deal of time on my next project. What about you? Have you ever let your team take over? Or do you remain the always-in-charge coach you should be? For all you pantsters out there, have you ever wished you'd worked from an outline? I know I have. Join me Wednesday when I discuss getting past the first round.