Friday, November 18, 2011

Is there an Organization Expert in the house?

That's right. It only took eight hours to clean this mess. Every minute of it, I was wishing that I hadn't let it get like this. Why hadn't I kept it clean that last time I'd cleaned it? The truth is that I'm a creative person, not an organized person. Luckily, I know how to organize, I just don't automatically do it.

What does this have to do with writing? EVERYTHING! Sorry. I know that I yelled, but I'm a little high strung right now. With my first novel, Aglow, I learned a hard lesson. Creativity isn't enough to make story work. After months of rewrite, I sent it to my editors and they bravely informed me that I didn't have enough conflict to drive the plot or keep the readers interested. What? How did that happen? To fix it, I went back to the basics and diagrammed my story. Sure enough, the rising conflict only rose a couple of inches on the chart, nowhere near the climatic peak. I had to start from scratch.

Well, I've learned my lesson from that story and this garage episode. Don't wait till everything is in a tangled, hopeless mess to wish you'd been more organized. To that purpose I have a giant story chart on my bedroom wall and recipe cards spelling out the important points. I'm diagramming my next story so that I can look at it everyday and plan it all out. Now, when I sit down to be creative, I will have a clear road map to follow and no regrets down the road. I won't be heading into a fourth rewrite thinking, "What the heck is wrong with me?"

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