Taking a step back

DebE —  April 12, 2012 — 2 Comments

Hey world! Award-winning writer over here … look at me! Ha ha. I jest. But, seriously, I am quite proud of my little second-place certificate from the Dunedin Writers’ Workshop for my piece ‘Oasis‘. The fact that I was up against some very talented writers does make me wonder how I achieved it (I had even read one of the stories that didn’t place … and I’d liked that one), but I’m gonna take it and run. My ego needs it.

Especially as I agonize over my WIP. For some reason, I have this aversion to calling it a romance, despite the fact that I started it as a little piece just to entertain myself and it did, indeed, begin as a vehicle to bring two characters together. But, then I discovered WRITING. And, I realized that my characters had so much more potential than to just end up in each other’s arms. Still, I find myself thinking of my main plot as romantic and, when I do, I get down on the whole thing. Yes, I do want the romance element in there – it’s something we all feel, all strive for in life, in can all identify with it. But, I don’t want it to be the all.

So, at the risk of proving to myself that my main plot was romance, I did a little plotting exercise, and was actually surprised to remind myself that the romance is one potential resolution to the main problem – that of my female protag’s safety. I guess it’s easy for me to forget that, because it’s not a story goal I can present within the first few chapters – the danger she is in presents itself later, but when it does, wumpf! OK, so maybe I should start with that danger but, if I did that, my girl wouldn’t have the support around her that she needs to stay safe … the bad guys would find her, capture her, end of story. Dumb. So, she needs to meet friends. And, the readers need to like said friends. So, yes, my story has “set up”. There are mini-goals in there to keep things moving, but there needs to be that opening to give my girl and the readers a chance to learn what she is and why she needs to not end up in the hands of the antagonists.

And, suddenly I feel a whole lot better about keeping on keeping on.

I have an outline, I really do. And, I’ve done all this before. But, sometimes you get bogged down in the writing … and then you read an awesome book with a cool plot, awesome magic system, sexy character–  uh, characters … sorry … where was I? Oh, yeah, you read someone else’s work and realize you’ve still got a long way to go … Um …




Deb E was born in New Zealand’s North Island, but her parents corrected that within months, moving south to Dunedin and staying there. Childhood nights were spent falling asleep to cover versions of Cliff Richard and the Shadows and other Rock ’n Roll classics played by her father’s band, and days were spent dancing to 45 LPs. Many of her first writing experiences were copying down song lyrics. She graduated to scientific reports when she studied a nematophagus fungus in the Zoology department of the University of Otago, trading all traces of popularity for usefulness… then traded both for fiction. Mum of one human & four fur-babies.

2 responses to Taking a step back


    Congrats on your award!

    I’m a firm believer in writing for yourself. Write because YOU like it. If other people like your work, great. If they don’t, too bad. But I do agree that fiction works best if you lay out your major plot points before you seriously start writing. The end result is much better. J. Michael Straczynski laid out all the major plot points of his five-year-long series “Babylon 5” before he ever starting shooting them. He knew how it was going to go. That’s why they never got “lost” the way so many series (and books) do.


      I love having an outline. Of course, it doesn’t mean I have complete faith in its ability to entertain, even after having someone else comment. I write because I love it. I share what I write because a story exists to be read, imagined.
      Yes, you can tell a TV show that has been outlined. Always better.

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