Pulling Teeth!

Tie Dye of The Day…yes, I know it’s upside down.

I recently saw my dentist this past week, and if you’ve been keeping up, you know I’ve been seeing a lot of him lately. Finally getting to the end of my root canal/crown situation.
I’d mentioned to my dentist that I was an author and to my surprise, he was writing a book, too! Thus, he is my inspiration for this post.
He had a common problem amongst fellow writers. He’d written the beginning of his book, and the ending, but he was stuck because he wasn’t sure what things should go in the middle.
I started thinking about my own writing experiences, especially those of the last book I wrote. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (working title) seemed like a never ending roller coaster for me. There were times when it felt like I was watching a movie inside my brain and writing it down as fast as I could. Other times were like , well, pulling teeth! ( I figured my dentist would like that).
In the middle of the book, my wizard apprentices are invited to participate in the UWA Apprentice Showdown. Basically at the end of this month long “Wizard Olympics” the young apprentice boys would graduate and receive their powers or “Wizardhood.” Only, I had one problem…what in the world are the wizards apprentices supposed to do at wizard apprentice olympics? At the end of the UWA showdown, 5 of the highest scoring apprentices would enter a final event called “The Gauntlet of Fire” where the final 5 apprentices compete to become champion of the games and thus the first to become wizards. Damn it, I had no idea what that was going to be either. HOLY CRAP!
I have completed this novel, thank God. It only took me two and a half years, but the Wizard Olympics and the Gauntlet of Fire took up over a year of that writing time. I had no idea from day to day where I was going with this part of the story, and that’s where the pulling teeth part comes in. That whole year I spent writing that part of the book went like this…
I would write a sentence. Then I would sit there for five minutes thinking about the next one. I would write the next sentence, sit five minutes, write a paragraph, sit five minutes, tear out the sheet of paper and toss it away.
Basically it took a lot of teeth pullin’ before I got more steam to push on to the end of the book.
That part of the book was right around 150 pages too, so that’s a lot of stop/starts, and many hours of sit around and do nothing but think about apprentice events and other magical things that happen. I never realized how difficult it was to write magical things because…they’re freakin’ magical!
No one ever said writing was easy, and my ultimate advice to anyone who is having trouble coming up with story is… It’s okay to pull teeth.
There are two ways to handle writing difficult scenes, especially those where you have no idea where to go from where you are. Neither one are wrong. I always recommend do what works best for you. I did a little of both during this time.
First, you can let your idea percolate. You don’t have to write anything during this time. For me, I will just sit there and think and think and then think some more. Eventually, the answer will come. Also during that time I watched a lot of movies, read a lot of books, wrote other stories, and when that magical day came, and the answer to my constant thoughts was finally answered, I ran to my notebook and was off to the races!
The second thing you can do is keep pulling those teeth and keep writing. I recommend this one as well because for me, there are many many things that do not occur to me until I am actually engrossed in a scene and writing it. When you’re writing, things can go in completely opposite directions of what you intend. Those are magical moments as well. That’s when your characters start writing themselves and you’re just along for the ride. Literary surprises are just as fun for the author as they are for the reader and the reader can see the excitement in your words.
They can also see when you chucka chucka chucka one sentence at a time, but sometimes when you read it all at once and let those unruly sentences stand with other unruly sentences, another magical thing happens. It flows! It doesn’t happen for everybody every time, but when it does…that year and a half you spent pulling teeth becomes worth it!
Happy writing!
Once again, it’s time for me to start editing!

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  1. * bflyzone says:

    Reblogged this on bflyzone and commented:

    Um, not a lot of you read this on Wednesday. I don’t know if it was because of the Olympics or what. Thought I’d give you another chance. Reblog!

    | Reply Posted 8 years ago

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