Writer’s Journal: Doing what comes naturally

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WARNING: I talk about my faith in this post. If you find this offensive, you might want to stop reading now and move on.

In our live Facebook broadcast the other day, Leenie Brown, Rose Fairbanks, and I talked about characterization, and I got to thinking about how some people plan things and others don’t.

In everything I’ve ever done, when I’ve been asked how I do things, I have no answer. Often, my books end up having a theme. I do not set out to “teach” anything in my books.

It was the same way when I was a teacher. I had the ability to change directions in the middle of a lesson to reteach a concept or reinforce it. I did it smoothly, and kids learned, but to this day, I don’t know how I did it. I prayed every morning over my classes and trusted God to lead me, which He did.

I do the same with my books. I pray before I write and ask God to give me the words, and He does. I do sometimes have to have an idea of where I’m going. The further I get in my career, the more I find that I need this, but I still rely on God. I call it “doing what comes naturally.”

This does not mean that I don’t try to do certain things, like maintaining one point of view or adding emotion and actions to make characters more sympathetic. I do. For example, as I write Darcy Overhears, my current Thursday’s 300 story, I am being careful to keep the story in Darcy’s point of view. At the same time, I know that when my editor reads it, she’s going to tell me to add some emotions here and there. (“Show me.”) So, I’m doing my best to add actions, facial expressions, and so on to indicate how Darcy feels, as well as other characters. It’s not easy, either. Not as bad as writing dialog, but it comes close!

Other writers, Leenie and Rose, for example, make conscious decisions about how they write and what. Leenie chooses a theme before she writes. I’m baffled at that. Rose loves to outline, and loves the three-act structure as much as Leenie does. Those charts make my eyes cross, though I’m learning how to use them. Both ladies turn out excellent books, possibly better than mine. Possibly. 😉

Am I wrong for not being able to explain my methods? In my opinion, no. I greatly admire Leenie and Rose, and anyone else who can actually spell out what they do. I can’t, and that’s ok. I’m doing the things, even if I don’t have words to describe how I do them.

What about you? Do you “do what comes naturally,” or are you deliberate about what you do when you write?

Come back next Wednesday for another peek into my journal! <3

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