Saturday, November 17, 2018

Writing's Outlay

You have to love writing to write, and this obsession probably started because you loved to read.
Writing means spending hours lost in concentration, immersed in your mind’s story, often frustrating or emotionally involved time. Time not spent with family or friends but with only mental ones. Time not spent doing household projects needing completion, but struggling with plot and characters. 

Of course, digital means you can write on work breaks or while vacationing, or even while traveling if you are not driving a vehicle--every cloud has its silver lining! Yet again, you ignore the driver and the ever-changing views.

Writing means you have to plan time to communicate with family and friends, time to keep the boat of your life stable and floating ahead. Yet, it is the frustration of not moving a story along in the time you have allotted that disappoints the most.

Other frustrations occur.

Frustrations over what to name a character. Have you used that name in a previous story? Is the name similar to already famous names in fiction or other media that might make readers think you are borrowing that fame? Is the name too close to someone you know, like a friend or family member? Is your new character too much like a previous character?

Frustration over dialogue. Does the talk between characters sound like what might actually occur in such a situation and in the reality being described in the story? Does it sound too obvious to the viewpoint being put forth, or is it more subtle, giving the reader hints of what is to come without revealing it? Both can be correct in the right situation, or it can sometimes hinder the reader's interest in continuing with the story.

Frustration with the plot. It’s stalled and you don’t have a clue on how to move it where you want it to go. Frustration when you realize that what you’ve written isn’t the least logical. Of course, logic doesn’t always play out in life, either, but will the reader believe and accept the irrational?

Frustration with the setting. Have you described it adequately or over-describe it? 

Frustration with style. Is it consistent or is your style constantly changing? Is the wording lush and lyrical in the description, or is it dramatic and straight forward?

Frustrations with editing. You could have sworn you corrected that misspelling, that sentence, that bit of dialogue, on your third or fourth or fifth go through. Where is that scene you know you wrote? Didn’t you save it? Why did you use three characters whose names start with the same letter and sound so much alike? What can you rename them now that they seem like real people to you?

This list goes on. If you want to write you persevere until you reach a point of ending where the story has what you think is a reader catching beginning with an interesting progression of incidents leading to a satisfying ending. You’ve edited it repeatedly, and now a publisher has accepted it. Satisfaction alleviates all you've spent in creating it.

Skye Taylor
Judith Copek
Beverley Bateman
A.J. Maguire 
Fiona McGier
Dr. Bob Rich  
Connie Vines 
Diane Bator
Victoria Chatham 


  1. Couldn't agree more with some of these frustrations. Especially stalled plot and naming characters. I seem to spend way more time getting the names just right than I should.

  2. Interesting post and you're right, there are a lot of challenges. I loved ... time ... spent only mental ones. I love so many of those mental ones. And yes, then there's the satisfaction.

  3. Your start reminded me of the "dust if you must" poem

    But hey, Rhobin, you've only written half the essay. I wrote about all the good things, you about all the bad. Maybe we should combine.

  4. I am glad to see someone else on the blog mention some of the negatives of writing, knowing that in the end everything will work out. It can be (and is) frustrating, and somehow we all overcome the plot, setting, dialogue and character barriers.

  5. Forgot to tell you this was a great topic, as always.

  6. Thanks, Rhobin. I have really enjoyed this topic and appreciated everyone's input and comments.