Consider your current WIP (Work In Progress). Then, ask yourself two questions: (1) Is it complete? (2) What would make it complete?
Now that you have answered those questions, consider this one: What could I do to make this work better? Once you answer this question, now you can go forward. This means you are prepared to look at your work, seeing it as an artist and a critical eye. These things are amazing because it allows you to clear your mind enough to focus on what you desire to write.
The rewrite is your space as a writer to do what Neil Gaiman says: “to look like you knew exactly what you were doing all along.”
Character development: How are you going to develop them?
Just like you must have an idea for the structure of you story, the same goes for your characters, their settings and even the scenarios they find themselves in. The key thing to remember is watch out for troupes what will limit the growth of your characters; stereotypes that will stunt other characters and not give them depth; if you are writing cross-culturally (a white writer writing Black character for example), make sure that you have invested time and effort into seeking out someone from that culture/ethnicity/background to read your work!
Why? Blind spots.
You don’t want a work to be offensive to other people when it does not have to be! Having someone read for cultural sensitivity will allow for feedback in a safe space where you can ask questions, get feedback and revise as needed! Your characters are brought to life your imagination—and that imagination may represent a real person. Write wisely.
Note: For sensitivity read-throughs, contact Anette King through her site, The Blurb Diva.
The hardest thing in this process pathway from getting what is in your head to and in the world outside of it, is converting thought into image. Since the onus of what is in your head, hiding in your imagination, is up to you.
IT IS UP TO YOU.
As a minority writer, you control the narrative, the story that you want to tell. No one else. Do not allow the world around you to adjust your lens. Let no one distract for what it is you want to show! What you have to tell, what is on the inside of you, can only be told by you. As James Baldwin said: “Fire the imaginary White man that sits on your shoulder!”
Don’t fall into troupes—they are only formulas! In the hand of any good scientist or alchemist, a formula is a tool. It is meant to be used, reconstructed and re-evaluated to suit the needs to those who have the wherewithal to change what they see in front of them.
Do not be discouraged by those who can’t see what you are creating. Do not be dismayed by those who cannot support what you are creating! They are not your concern! What you must be concerned with is what you want to show the world! What is on the inside of your head? What part of that do you want to share with the world? Is there more you to come? If so, keep going.
This is a group of at least three sources that you go to verify, authenticate, and secure the information that you funnel your information through. These sources need to be legit as well! No open sources!
There are no shortcuts to writing, and no such things exist. You will only get better at this by doing it. There can be no other way, dear writer. There just isn’t. With this wisdom in your pocket, let me give you this other deposit.
All you seek to write, you can write. At this point, it’s a matter of if you believe you can.
Let me off you this bit of encouragement: you have already done the hardest thing. The hardest thing that you have done, or will do, for this endeavor is start.
You started! At this point, accept the nerves that will come with this. Accept that the map is not completely laid, the ideas will stutter, and there may even be some days that you think you cannot do this. With you not believing you can’t go on or write another word–when the fear and apprehension try to take hold–do this: breathe.
As hard as it is, I want you to breathe. I want you to remember the thoughts you want to write are yours; the story is yours; the space is yours; you are still in control! Bear in mind the words of James Baldwin: “Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed unless it is faced.”
This is the fear you must face, and face down–this unknown. You must embrace this unsteadiness–it will pass. It will pass as you continue on. You can do it. Keep going.
Now after the pace of NaNoWriMo, I’m sure that planning is the last thing that you desire to do. Yet, as a writer, this is what we do–often. Even when we don’t think about it! Planning is the thing that we do in order to make writing easier, stronger and less stressful! Planning is not a nebulous thing though, it requires tools and investment. Yes, investment. Planning takes many forms as well! This can be in the form of outlining, free writing and even a file to store research info! What I want to remind you of is this: talent is not enough. Talent, no matter how great, still requires discipline and a map. Planning, no matter how minute, will give you a map! This map is needed to create what you need to write as you so desire. It allows you to use wisdom with a most valued commodity–time. If you decide to continue a project, or even begin one, and to adhere to deadline, you need a plan. Time is not always on a writer’s side, so you need to make it bend to your will–by pen and plan.