Monday, August 13, 2007

Stay in your story

The other day at my day job – the I’ve-got-bills-to-pay job – I was talking to a co-worker who wants to write for television. She hasn’t made the plunge into pursuing that dream yet, but she is trying the water. This co-worker told me about an excerpt of Walter Mosley's This Year You Write Your Novel in the August 2007 O Magazine.

According to my co-worker, Mr. Mosley says writers should commit to writing three hours every day. Since I was surprised to hear this - and since I intend to read Mr. Mosley's book - I went to the store that evening to purchase the O Magazine issue. I read the excerpt and found my co-worker had misunderstood Mr. Mosley's point.

He writes at least three hours every morning. But the point he was trying to convey is the importance of staying in your story so you can connect your unconscious mind with your characters, your setting and your plot.

I agree wholeheartedly with his position. To get to the place where your characters are telling you their story - and stay there - it's important to write something each and every day. You may not be able to manage three hours every day, but can you manage one hour? And even if you're not adding pages of new words every day, can you add a paragraph?

I believe the first step is making that connection with your characters and your story. Once that connection is there, the words will come. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of Mr. Mosley's book.



Nine to Five Diva said...


Couldn't agree with you more. I'm still new to the game of writing/working with an agent but I still try to keep the habits that have gotten me to this point. I generally write six days out of the week, sometimes seven when the story just won't let me step away from it (smile).

I've heard about Mr. Mosely's book but haven't purchased it yet. It's on my list of things to do because the man is a genius. Gone Fishin, in case you haven't read it, is a classic. Great story, lively characters, and a plot that puts you in the thick of the action. Loved it!

Can you tell I am a big Walter Mosely fan? (LOL)

angela henry said...

Mr. Mosley makes an excellent point and I couldn't agree more. I try and write 1,000 words a day. I find when i leave my characters for too long I have to get re-acquainted with them.

Gwyneth Bolton said...

Great advice, Patricia! Thanks for passing it along. That old saying, out of sight, out of mind is certainly true in this regard. The other benefit of writing on your novel as much as you can everyday is the fact that it helps you build excitement for it and makes you want to write more. Can't beat that...


Felicia Donovan said...

Readers are probably quite surprised to learn that many authors forget plot direction and details if they don't attend to their books everyday. It happens.

I agree very much that stream of consciousness is much easier to achieve if you have hours of uninterrupted time to dedicate to it. I wrote a large part of THE BLACK WIDOW AGENCY when I took a week off from work. Unfortunately, that down time is rare for me, yet I've still managed to publish two books and am working on two more despite a full-time day job and a very busy schedule beyond.

I don't mean that to sound self-serving. I only offer it as an inspiration to anyone who wants to get published but has little time to do dedicate to writing. Last time I counted, there's 365 days in a year. A page a day and voila!

patricia sargeant said...

Hi, Diva. Thanks so much for stopping by and posting a comment. And for your recommendation regarding Mr. Mosely's Gone Fishin'. I'll have to check it out.

Hi, Angela. Thank you for sharing your writing schedule with us. I think it's helpful to know how other writers create. We all have our own comfortzones with writing schedules, but I personally like to know how other writers, especially writers with day jobs, manage their time.

Gwyneth! How are you? Thank you very much for stopping by and posting a comment. I agree with you. Spending time every day wtih your characters builds my excitement for sure. Great point.

Hi, Felicia. I appreciate your sharing your thoughts with us. You don't sound self-serving at all. I think your words are encouraging.

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