IWSG POST I: No More Naughty Toes, Rules of All Kinds Can Be Frustrating
[I wrote this post as a member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our worries and also offer support to each other on the first Wednesday of every month. If you’re a writer like me and you’re looking for a bit of support, you can click the link and sign up here]
Every Monday evening, I sit in a black metal chair and watch my daughter dance across a hard wood floor in her tutu, sometimes tights, and always ballet slippers. She’s five. She loves to spin and glance at herself in the mirror like any other five-year-old. And this past week as she sat on the floor stretching her arms towards her pointed toes the entire class broke out and chanted together a really great line, “No More Naughty Toes!”
The kiddos were referencing the difference in pointed verse flexed feet in class and what natural rules dancers follow in order to succeed. While I watched my daughter giggle, smile, and enjoy the time she spent with her friends in class, I couldn’t help but compare the rules and techniques she seems to be learning in dance to my own passion in writing.
Rules can be stressful. Sometimes I wish I had the eyes and heart of a five-year-old as I tackle basic rules in writing to polish off my own manuscript. Sometimes it seems small children have no fear. Maybe it’s what we learn along the way because I know in my own 39 years of life, I have a list of them.
My biggest weakness, or Naughty Toes I should say, is conquering plot development. Years ago, when I started working on my first lengthy novel, I had no idea of the art involved in the natural progression of events, what to hold back from the audience, and what they absolutely need to see in order to get the bigger picture we author’s sometimes keep to ourselves in our heads. Plus, my character scenes sometimes derail my plot. I’m comfortable with scenes and characters, but sometimes I get lost in dialogue and action, and then I get to the end of the chapter and I scratch my head and think, well, that’s not what I’d outlined at all. 🙂
I hope I’m becoming more flexible in my studies, just like my daughter in dance class. I’ve been working pretty diligently on the craft of plot with a multitude of resources, workbooks and my writing BFF Becky. We’ve made a pact this year. We’ve decided to team tag the topic of plot development. No matter what, we promise to work as a team, keep the steam rolling and brainstorm at the end of scenes all over again if necessary.
Sometimes the fear hangs on and a flashlight isn’t enough to chase away the shadows clinging to the doors in my mind. Will this really be the draft I’m hoping for, the one with a sound plot weaving my characters and scenes so tightly together, it wows the audience right out of their seats?
I’m not sure. I know I’m not the type to give up. I also believe the best way to conquer our weaknesses is through our friends who also share in our same struggles. We’re better together. I’ve seen it in my daughter’s dance class. I’ve felt it ever since I met my writing friend Becky.
My Question: So what about you? Any rules your struggling with in your work, or have found yourself struggling with in the past?
Thank you for stopping in today.