Three Thing Thursday!


How’s the 15 minutes here, 15 minutes there coming?

What success stories do we have?

Were you able to come up with a new character? Kill off a villain? Figure out a plot point?

Are you still grabbing for writing time?

Keep going!



I attended LDS Storymakers and learned something about the writing process that’s helping me get over a hump. I’m trying to finish a complete draft of a YA novel before WIFYR (two more weeks!), and I realize that I have been subconsciously sabotaging my own efforts to make consistent progress.  In Chris Crowe’s class “Sweating the Small Stuff,” he quoted Norma Fox Mazer as she described her writing process: “My method is to write a first draft in which I spill out everything. The inner censor is banished.” She didn’t allow herself to stop and ponder for just the right word or phrase. It was more important to just get the clay on the wheel first, then worry about shaping and forming later.

           This is where I get  stuck. That doesn’t mean that a writer doesn’t use a rough outline, a map that points in the direction your story is headed. But at this point, the beginning, revisions are nothing but distractions. John Steinbeck called rewriting during the first draft nothing but an excuse for not going on.

            So how is your pottery? Do you spend so much time working on one part of a story, perfecting and polishing it, that you don’t even get enough clay on the wheel to make a complete and useful work of art? And now this part is almost dry but not part of anything whole? Let’s give ourselves permission to get completely messy when we are first creating. You can always clean up later.


One of my goals on my “writing bucket list” is to write a killer opening line. You know the type. The kind of line that makes you go, “Holy crap, I MUST read this book right this second!”

Opening lines should always have a mystery in them. There should be something that piques your interest, that makes you wonder what the rest of the page says. And the rest of the first page should make you wonder what the rest of the chapter says. And the rest of the chapter…well, you get the idea.
First lines are your gateway drug. You’re the dealer, and you need your reader to be hooked. You want them to give up sleep, food, and every spare moment they have to devour your words.
One of these days, I’ll manage it. Maybe the line will fall out of the sky and smack me on the head. Maybe it’ll be the result of 76 hours of revision on a 6 word sentence. But one way or another, I’m determined to make it happen.


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3 responses to “Three Thing Thursday!

  1. With my 15 minute blitzes, I’ve written over 5,000 words in just a few days 😀 It’s so helpful.

  2. lisakroylance

    Rewrote a character, feels so much better. Love the 15 min.

  3. benschwensch

    Whitney & LisaK: congrats ! ! ! The 1st day, I did the 1st 15 min. really well. The second was a flop, and I went on to something else on the 3rd. The next day, I tried again: started my 1st 15, and got carried away and wrote for about an hour or so, without meaning to, or, frankly, even noticing!

    And LoriAnne – thanks for letting us in on what you learned: LOVED the “clay on the wheel” as it made so much sense, and particularly connected to the Steinbeck quote ! ! !


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