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Writing Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Writing Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Historical Fiction: Escaping into the past through literature. Photo by Shelley Burbank

How’s your Wednesday going? 

Today’s the day I try to write about writing…so why do I have a picture of John Jakes’s 1993 historical novel, HOMELAND, posted up there? Simple. Because I haven’t left my desk all day, so my world is pretty much limited to my screens, my shelves, and my imagination. And as of yet, I can’t take a photo of my imagination, although it might be a tad more bizarre than this book cover. 

I recently learned that my Wattpad novel Rosalie Porter’s Hot & Steamy Sex Scandal may be in need of a rewrite sooner rather than later. (More details in the future.) I knew as I wrote the book that it needed a major plot revision. The timeline jumped backward then forward, and I didn’t really like it. I figured out how to do it by reading Candace Bushnell’s novel, TRADING UP, and I think I did an okay job of it. Still, I didn’t think the organization did the story justice. 

In fact, I’m learning a bit about my weakness as a storyteller. 

It’s funny. I always thought it was my language/style skills preventing me from creating the kind of books I liked to read. I mean, yes. Finding my writer voice challenged me early on in my writing journey. It’s kind of inevitable, right? 

Now that I have it, though, I’m realizing my narrative skills just aren’t up to the level I need /want them to be. All these years, I yearned for someone to be able to tell me what was wrong with my stories. I couldn’t solve the puzzle. Something was just…off. 

Now I believe I’ve discovered my major problem: plot. That’s right. Plot. The narrative arch of a story. 

How can that be? I come up with great ideas for plots! 

Well, a great idea is only the beginning. Learning to analyze your story once you get started free-writing or creating a few scenes is crucial. At that point you might have a better idea of where you want your story to go. That’s a good time to figure out the plot points of how you’ll get there. 

Or, if you are a panster, you can draft the whole novel, analyze, then happily pare and prune and dab away at the story until it is a beautiful masterpiece. 

I spent most of today thinking about Rosalie’s story, what her goals were, what she learned, and how she got from point A to point B at the end of the book. Happily, I realized the plot isn’t all that horrible. It needs some re-arranging, mostly. Yay! 

And of course, I need to cut out extraneous material that doesn’t move the story forward so that the pace is a little faster for Wattpad readership. They tolerate…even enjoy…long books, but stuff has to be happening at a pretty good clip. 

Anyway, that was my “writing” for today. I think I’ll be putting Love & East Mercy aside for now and get Rosalie spruced up. 

I can’t think about both of them at the same time!

Anyway, that’s all for today. It’s time for my afternoon cup of coffee and perhaps a dip into this Jakes book. I hope you are having a great week. 



How about you, dear reader? Do you like a fast-paced commercial fiction story? Or are you more of a slow-paced literary novel kind of reader? I like both! 

And can’t forget non-fiction like memoir. Drop me a line and share your fave genres. I love comments & I comment back! 

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Sounds like you are really honing your craft. Am excited to see what’s on the horizon for you. Very proud of all that you have accomplished and working on accomplishing this year!!! I started the Kent Chronicles in high school by Jakes and enjoyed them! I also loved North and South trilogy. Can’t wait for the next bit of news!

    1. I also read North & South and loved it in high school. We need to schedule that call! How are things looking for you on Friday? Or Thursday?

  2. Your resilience and determination never ceases to impress me, Shelley. Your quest to keep growing as a writer is inspiring. You’re never stagnant, and that’s catching! Thanks! Rosalie’s story has got so much going for it.

    1. Resilience born of desperation, perhaps, lol. It’s getting to feel like a habit, always having a novel going. I sort of regret all the years I just played around at it, but for everything there is a season, as they say.

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