September 27, 2013

Write, Read and Repeat

By Lynn Donovan

The way I describe how I write is this: I follow my characters around and write down what they say and do. That’s how “real” my characters are to me. In my mind, they are real people and I care about them very much. I think about them a lot. I talk about them a lot. And, to be honest, I probably live vicariously through them.

If your characters are not this real to you, how can they be real to your reader? See, there’s a means to my madness! Whahahahaha!

Of course the characters have to “start” from somewhere. And that somewhere is ideas. My ideas come from all kinds of sources, the news, a song, a situation in a person’s life or my own life, and through dreams. I write Christian Fiction, so you understand, I pray for ideas too. They come to me in these same ways. Then I grab an inexpensive spiral notebook and I write down everything that comes into my mind, no matter how goofy. 

I make a separate page for each character and start thinking about their physical attributes, age, name, and I write the word Knot: Because every character has to have a knot. Something they are dealing with and will probably deal with during the story. 

Next, I will let all that simmer in my head and go do other things: Clean house, do laundry, grocery shop, walk, go to school (I attend an oil painting class three days a week). Typically within twenty-four hours ideas for scenes start developing in my head and I hurry to my spiral or computer and start writing them down.

My plans for the plot, I write them on post-it notes and stick them where I can see them while I’m writing. That way they’re in my visual range and hopefully my characters notice that this is something I’d like them to work into their world.

When I get super stuck and can’t figure out how to get the story from point C to point D, I go talk to my husband. I explain where they are, where I know they will be soon and we discuss possible scenarios for their journey to D. He’s really good at giving me advice in this manner! Gotta love a good husband! Thank you God! In The Wishing Well Curse, he suggested, “What if he found an old motorcycle in the garage and worked on it.”

Once the draft is written, I read, or re-read, a good “How To—” Like: “Self-Editing for Fiction Writers” by Renni Browne and David King, or “The First 50 Pages” or “Plot Versus Character” both by Jeff Gerke. Then I go edit, edit, edit. Send it to my critique group and humble myself to listen to their critique and edit again, several times!

My advice: Write down every idea, no matter how goofy, or small. Write, read and repeat! Then: Keep writing!
Lynn Donovan writes from her heart and her passion for Jesus Christ. She is a daughter, wife, mother of four and grandmother of seven who has five decades of experiences to draw from when creating her stories. She has published a collection of Short Stories, The Clockwork Dragon, and this novel with AltWitPress. She categorizes herself as the “sandwich generation” because she is caring for her mother who has Alzheimer’s and her special needs sister. She is one child away from an empty nest. She currently lives in Southwest Kansas but looks forward to building a home in Colorado. You can learn more about Lynn on her blog,, follow her on Twitter @MLynnDonovan, at M Lynn Donovan, Face Book at MLDonovan and her Face Book Author page at LynnDonovanFGG

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