I am having trouble writing my book.
All my life, I have been a writer. I have written stories, magazine articles, blog posts, marketing articles, research papers and so many book beginnings that I have lost count. And all my adult life I have studied the craft of writing and story structure, along with how to create a hero in either my book of stories or my mystery.
And yet, I am having trouble writing my book.
I began with an idea thought out very carefully over a period of weeks. I reached chapter three and realized that an idea, no matter how cogent, is not a story. It is simply an idea for a story. I began again when the entire story was fully developed. I didn’t get past chapter three. A story without character development is just a pile of bricks and stones.
I took time to imagine the characters as complete human beings with childhoods, goals, and flaws. My hero started to breathe, as did her supporting cast. She was angry, insecure, and funny at times. She was apt to fall in love too easily, and pull away too soon. And yet, as I said before, I am having trouble writing my book, and while I made it to chapter four, I stopped.
My book had a serious problem. There was no conflict. Without conflict, pitfalls, and wrong turns, there is no change. And a hero who cannot change is boring. I’ll admit it. The story worked and everything fit, but it was boring. I had to kill somebody.
I killed Larry. And because I killed Larry, there was a mystery to solve. There was a murderer who stood in the hero’s way. She changed from the diminutive angry woman at the beginning to a strong, self-assured woman able to solve a mystery and stop a killer from making her the next victim. Not boring.
As I begin again, I am in no way frustrated because with each step I learn so much. There is a lot that goes into writing a book, but there is so much more that goes into writing a great book. I’m not interested in writing an average book. I’ll just keep trying until I get it right and I can share the story with readers who will love it as much as I do.
Look for it in the spring. “Don’t Call Me Daughter,” by Patricia Childers.
Patricia Childers is a writer and editorial development editor at MBH Publishing Co., and she is an advocate of good writers who strive to be better writers. She has a book in process titled “Too Much is Never Enough,” a mystery set in Georgia. She can be reached at Pat@MyBlueHorse.com.