Saturday, May 11, 2013

For the Writers Among Us: Writing Fiction for Dummies by Randy Ingermanson and Peter Economy

I'm re-reading Writing Fiction for Dummies by Randy Ingermanson and Peter Economy. While I think I have a pretty good handle on fiction when I'm editing and reading the fiction written by others, all bets are off when it comes to my own fiction. I think the title itself speaks to me. 

But even if you are not a dummy, there are gems in this book for you. With five parts, nineteen chapters and 345 pages if you can't figure out your own writing, then you're just not paying attention! Right now I'm working through the questions (again) where I think about what I love to write. You're told to take a sheet of paper (I did, it's called MS Word...) and answer six questions. I'm considering doing this on my Pinterest page--make it more visual. This exercise is on page 40 if you have the book. 

Here's an example of something said in this book that I have only NOW absorbed: 

"Write the kind of book that you're best suited to write." (If I could I would put this in neon letters.)

I always thought I should be writing what I most liked to read. These guys say this isn't necessarily true. It took a load off my shoulders. I've been trying really hard and nothing has worked for me. I've felt depressed about it in the last six months. I've been on writing teams and been rejected. I've struggled with manuscripts and themes, and nothing ever lined up. I've watched many people I've helped to get published seemingly breeze through this thing, while I still sit in the starting blocks. I know what I love to read. Now, to find what I love to write. 

Another part that is just penetrating my skull is to "stay out of the editing mode." 

You think, "Well, duh, Crystal!" 

I think, "Eureka!" 

I have never really given myself permission to write. I have written tons of scenes and given myself permission to do that, but never the entire story. Short stories seem to work fine for me. I have yet to find my "sweet spot" with longer fiction.  

Then, on page 68 is a table showing the various Creative Paradigms. I always thought that I was a "seat-of-the-pants" writer. I'm pretty sure I'm not when it comes to fiction. For nonfiction I can jet off in a speed boat when it comes time to write. Not so with fiction. It drives me crazy not to know the big picture first. I need an outline. I can change around scenes if I want, but I have to have that road map and a view from above in the plane--not open water and no clue at what is coming around the bend.  

With this kind of insight at this stage of my life and writing, I am hoping that I finally will find my place in the writing world. 

I highly recommend this book--even if you think you're far down the fiction road, or have already read it. See yourself with new eyes through the mindset of this book. 

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