Welcome to the first post of March into My World March!
We have Darly Jamison, sharing her experience with us.
Darly Jamison, Author of Strawberry Wine
My debut novel Strawberry Wine is now sitting on shelves at all of my favorite bookstores, but the truth is it was first born on Wattpad. Well, that’s not entirely correct. The story had been brewing inside my thoughts for years, ever since I’d heard a country song by the same name. It’s a bittersweet story about first love. For some reason, I connected with the lyrics and wanted to know more about the couple Deana Carter was singing about. I needed to know what happened after they broke up, but once the song ended, so did their story. When I discovered Wattpad, I knew I finally had a place to learn more about them.
I’d never written on a serious level before and knowing my story would be hidden behind millions of others felt comforting. I had no idea what I was doing and felt way too embarrassed to tell anyone in my life what I was up to. Writing had always been a secret dream of mine, but I’d never taken creative writing classes and didn’t think anything I wrote would ever stand out.
Chapter by chapter I posted my first romance. Sometimes I would upload once a week, and sometimes it would be a couple of weeks before I added another part. I didn’t outline or take notes, I just wrote the first thing that came to mind, loosely following the flow of the love song. And before I knew it, I had readers! To be honest, that scared me more than anything else. I know most would-be writers go to Wattpad hoping to find an audience, but once I had one, I debated deleting my story entirely. It’s true! I was planning to trash it and tell everyone I had no idea what happened. But when the time came to get rid of it … I couldn’t. Somewhere along the way, I’d fallen in love with my characters and I still needed to know how their relationship played out. In addition to that, I now had readers who were counting on me to finish. Since I didn’t plan the story, I just let it tell itself, every scene felt like a surprise. And still, I had no idea how it was going to end! When it did, I cried like a baby.
I learned a great deal writing Strawberry Wine, but I think the most valuable lesson was to never again go in without an outline. I know some authors prefer to wing it, but for me, I need a little something to guide me along. It doesn’t have to be much, just a few key points to push the story in the right direction, toward an ending readers will love.
- The first thing I do is write down the basic idea of my story. The protagonist, the situation, the setting. What’s the protagonist’s goal? What or who is the antagonist? How will these characters grow throughout the story?
- Once I have that, I think about important scenes that will move the idea forward. Chances are, I already have some in mind, but I make sure to leave room for flexibility. By the time it’s all said and done, many of those scenes may end up on the chopping block with new ones taking their place.
- I make sure there are no plot holes; that everything I want to happen has meaning and makes sense. In the end, I want the plot and subplots to wrap up and all questions to be answered.
- Now that I have a general “outline”, I try not to dwell on it. I know that must sound counterproductive! I said it’s important to have one, but personally, I’ve found that studying it too much can curb creativity. It’s there when I need it, but the freedom to do my own thing really gets those juices flowing. At least, for me!
That’s my writing process. What’s yours?
Find Darly here:
Buy her book Strawberry Wine here:
- amazon.com (link takes you straight to the book)