Girls Write Out
Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Writer’s Paranoia

It starts the moment you make up your mind you want to write. Really write. Up till now you’ve written thank you notes, memos to teachers, maybe even dropped a poetic phrase or two in your journal. But now you want to really write—as in, turn on the compute, stare at the blank screen and start a story.

Paranoia begins the moment your blank screen pops up. Staring at the screen, you roll up your sleeves and poise your fingers over the keyboard. Sweat pops out on your forehead—and you’re not a sweaty kind of girl. You write:

“It was a dark and stormy night.”

That sounds mysterious enough. Or is it too cliché? Everybody and his dog puts his scary story in a storm.

“It was a dark night.”

No. It needs more umph. And who says it has to be dark? How about foggy? Yeah, that’s something a little different. And how about at twilight. That has a sort of Dick Tracy feel to it, wouldn’t you say?

And what’s with the “was”? They always say writers need to cut those out.

Hmm, “A foggy mist surrounded her at twilight when it happened.”

Yeah, that works. By the time you get to that phrase, you’re totally exhausted, the morning is gone—as is the bag of M&Ms resting mere inches from your mouse—and you’re totally clueless where to go from here. Besides, who will want to read it besides your mother? And what if they have a thousand submissions just like it? And what if the writing stinks? And, what if, oh my goodness, I've used too many "ing" words. And what if . . . . .

Ah, but what if they liked it? What if you could come up with a second page, and a third and a chapter and a BOOK?

My challenge to you this week is to allow the “what ifs” to take you down a positive road. I mean, what if you did that? You just might get that book finished—critiqued—submitted, PUBLISHED!

Diann Hunt  
posted at 7:00 AM  
  Comments (9)
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At 8:10 AM, Anonymous Bethanie said...

that sounds like me when i said to myself, "i'm going to write a book!".

it's kinda still one paragraph three months later....

At 8:54 AM, Blogger Cara Putman said...

Great post, Diann. If we could turn all the what ifs crying in our heads into positives, our lives would change dramatically! Heck, I'd take turning half of the what ifs into positives :-)

At 9:05 AM, Blogger Sabrina L. Fox said...

I accept that challenge!!! LOL I've been up until midnight for the last few nights...I'm on a roll. Thanks for encouraging us.

At 11:03 AM, Blogger Kayla said...

Ya'll keep lighting a fire under my tail! I guess I should get past the introduction!

At 12:10 PM, Blogger Diann Hunt said...

You all can do it! If we could just turn off those internal voices, right? Well, okay, not all of them. We need to keep our characters talking, but you know what I mean.

Now, what if I quit checking my email and actually worked on my deadline . . . .

At 3:58 PM, Blogger Wayne Scott said...

Diann, your comments on "was" and "ing words" gave me flashbacks to my crit group. :)

What if... a man writing supernatural suspense visited a blog called Girls Write Out? Could he shrug off the raised eyebrows by calling it research for the characterization of the female characters in his book?

At 4:46 PM, Blogger Diann Hunt said...

Well, we are pretty scary, Wayne, so that just might work! LOL

At 9:54 PM, Blogger Ane Mulligan said...

I'm going to remember this when I hit the next bump in my WIP. Thanks, Diann!

At 9:46 AM, Blogger Robin Caroll said...

wonderful thoughts, Diann! And so true! lol


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The Authors
Kristin Billerbeck
Kristin Billerbeck is a proud Californian, wife, mother of four, and connoisseur of the irrelevant. She writes Christian Chick Lit; where she finds need for most of the useless facts lulling about in her head.

Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble writes romantic suspense with a strong atmospheric element. A lovable animal of some kind--usually a dog--always populates her novels. She can be bribed with DeBrand mocha truffles.

Denise Hunter

Denise Hunter writes women's fiction and love stories with a strong emotional element. Her husband says he provides her with all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too.

Diann Hunt

Diann Hunt writes romantic comedy and humorous women's fiction. She has been happily married forever, loves her family, chocolate, her friends, chocolate, her dog, and well, chocolate.

Hannah Alexander

Cheryl Hodde writes romantic medical suspense under the pen name of Hannah Alexander, using all the input she can get from her husband, Mel, for the medical expertise. For fun she hikes and reads. Out of guilt, she rescues discarded cats. She and Mel are presently taking orders from four pampered strays.

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