April Kihlstrom

BIAW (Book in a Week)

Yup. You read that right. Book in a Week.

I took a workshop by that title about two years ago and it was one of the gems I refer to with each new project. The main gist of it is this – write. Yeah. That’s it. Write.

For a writer, that’s a powerful word because it means so many things. It means the obvious – write. But it also means – don’t look back, don’t judge, don’t worry. Write.

The fabulous Nora Roberts said something every writer should remember. She said, “You can’t edit a blank page.” The Queen of Book in a Week-dom, April Kihlstrom said something else every writer should remember. She said, “The first draft is for your eyes only.”

So what if it’s crap? If it is, refer to Ms. Roberts’ comment and be happy you have pages to edit.

I have the tendency to write a sentence, study it, disect it and revise before going on to the next sentence and starting the process again. I’m a slow writer because my inner editor is a bitch. Nothing is ever good enough and so I always go back over what’s been written and wonder if it can be written better. You know what? It can always be written better.

Enter Book in a Week.

What’s the point? To get the words – the story – down with the least amount of distraction. To keep the story moving forward – not just on the page, but in the writer’s mind. Once the events are down, in pretty prose or shorthand, and ‘The End’ is reached, THEN the writer can go back to page one and add layers and texture.

April Kihlstrom was gracious enough to agree to an interview on this blog. In it she helps ease some concerns over the BIAW process. Take a look at it here and see what she had to say.

The hardest part of BIAW, I think, is banishing that inner editor. Writing is fun. And since it’s a creative process, there is no ‘wrong’ way to do it, despite what the inner editor says. That’s why it’s vital to lock it away.

And so, next week will start the BIAW marathon for me. I will have a very rough draft of my entire story by this time next week. It’ll be my muse’s chance to play. And when playtime is over – and only when it’s over – I’ll release my inner editor from solitary and let her have at it.

I picture Lucy and Ricky, with my muse being Lucy – all playful and mischief-making, and my inner editor being Ricky – all gooey-eyed over his partner yet logically cleaning up much of her mess. They meld together beautifully but look how much fun they are independently.

Writing is fun. Keep it fun and the story will flow. It has to because there will be no doubt. No looking back or revising. Writing is play and I intend to play with my writing this week.

Muse and Editor? Kiss goodbye. You’ll meet again a week from today and not a moment sooner.

Starting again… and loving it.

As I work on the query and synopsis for my completed story, I’m also working on the next one.

It’s actually quite exciting. In the past I’ve struggled with “starting”. It seemed the story I just finished – and its characters – had taken hold of my heart and mind and wouldn’t let go. I’d try to work with my new characters but hear the old character’s voices.

So… starting this new work immediately after finishing the first had me a little on edge, wondering if I could do it so quickly or if I had to let some time pass. Well… so far, so good. I think I’ve finally worked out a system that blends the needs of my muse, me and story.

I was a workshop diva – signing up for every and any workshop that came my way. I’ve modified some of them, taken parts of each that ‘spoke’ to me and blended them into a method of plotting and creating character that I enjoy. For my past work, I was a true pantser. Just typing away as the story came to me. I’m very happy with those stories. And I love the memory of writing them. The thrill of hearing the character’s voices in my head, seeing them move and interact, then rushing to the computer to get it all down. So exciting.

But I spent a lot of time revising those stories. A LOT. Pantsing like that just wasn’t working for me the way I thought it was. I, apparently, need some direction. My Gemini spirit is too flighty and must be guided – though not restrained.

And so… I now work with Laurie Schnebly Campbell’s Fatal Flaws, Sue Viders Character Diamond, and Karen Docter’s W-Plot (the latter of which, closes by incorporating a subdued ‘storyboard’ that, when properly done, transfers beautifully into a synopsis). I highly recommend each of these workshops. For me, parts of each of them make the characters come to life. With a little work, their deepest desires are revealed along with the conflict they’ll face trying to achieve those goals. Finite details are not disclosed, that happens during the writing process. What’s left is a planning stage that’s not only fun (for me), but also edges me closer to writing the story.

My synopsis and query are nearly ready to go. And this time, while I wait for a response, I’ll be doing what I love most – writing the next story with my notes there to help keep my excited Gemini muse on track… or at least close to that track. 🙂

Book in a week

I’ve accepted the challenge that starts today in a workshop I’m taking. It’s the Book-in-a-week workshop with April Kihlstrom as instructor.

The challenge? Type a complete first draft of my work in progress in one week and one week only. That means… no revising as I go. That means, whatever scene pops into my head is the one I should write. That means keeping my inner critic bound and gagged until the week is over – longer if possible.

That means pushing WAY past my comfort zone. Writing a book in a week without revising as I go is the same to me as jumping from a plane without a parachute. Okay, for me, the non-adventurous type, it’s more like going over a speed bump without putting on the brakes. 😕

I am a rule follower. I don’t like to make waves and I don’t like to upset those around me… including myself. And so, this book in a week challenge, challenges me on many levels. I have to break the rules I set for myself which say every word I write has to have a purpose. Every scene must draw a reader into the heart and mind of my characters. Every page must contain several sense-stirring phrases that will place the reader right there in the scene. To accomplish a book in a week, I must simply write what’s in my head despite how sparse it might be. Can I do it? Well… I can certainly try. And posting here commits me to the process… hopefully that’s all I’ll wind up committed to. 😯

I’ll check in as often as I can to keep you posted and to keep myself answerable to someone. I have a new ticker right there to the right of this post…….. see it? It’s next to the picture of beautiful Tiffy. I’ll move that slider each time I complete a chapter. I should tell you, because I’m an honest soul, that I already have three solid chapters completed and seventeen left to go. Three solid chapters is a lot to me. “Three” means I’m committed to the work… ah, ‘committed’ there’s that word again. I hope that’s not some kind of forshadowing…

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