Happiness Is . . . Shaping a Story

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I’m starting to feel giddy about my WIP. And in the process of feeling giddy, Charlie Brown’s song “Happiness” popped into my head. Anybody grow up on the animated musical? Classic stuff right here:

Happiness is also learning to be good at something.

I tried to describe it to my husband, why my first novel didn’t go anywhere but I think this one will. The main thing is that on the first novel, I revised for the sake of the writing. I rewrote sentences so that each sentence was better. I rewrote scenes the same way. I added a few scenes, but I didn’t create major changes in the story. And — predictably — the story sort of fell flat.

On this novel (working title: Wendy and the Lost Boys), I feel like a conqueror. It started with a crappy first draft, the way all novels do, and the story was far from cohesive. Now, after this third draft, it’s feeling solid. It’s feeling like a story that I’d want to pick up and read.

And funny enough, it feels both completely different and exactly the same. The events of the plot didn’t change much from the first draft to this third one, and yet I’ve rewritten probably 75% of the book and cut lots of superfluous scenes. What’s changed the most is that the motivations driving the events are all new, so that suddenly instead of a collection of loosely connected scenes, it’s a novel, a story, with a driving force.

And I’m thrilled because it’s just going to keep getting better. Soon — once the story is 100% in place — I can focus on the writing and polish that to my heart’s content.

Happiness is hope of success.

What are you feeling great about today? If you were to fill in the blank and have animated Peanuts characters sing your own lyrics about happiness, what would they be?

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8 responses »

  1. I’m happy that I finished my first draft yesterday, only two days later than I was aiming for. And I’m happy that our library found the missing copies of the Queen and King of Attolia on CD.

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    • It’s funny how much I fought against shelving the first book and now how glad I am that I did. Now that I “know what I’m doing” my first book migh have a better shot at really getting revised! I hope yours is the same way.

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  2. I am happy about words and sentences. Weird, right? But not really… they are everything to us writers, are they not? I love words and sentences and I love that there are so many varied minds and perspectives in the world that can twist and mold those words into new and exciting and honest sentences that we, ourselves, might never have found. I’m totally geeking out right now. I have been sick and reading all week… aside from the sick part it has been heavenly.

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    • A week of reading does sound like happiness. And I don’t think you’re weird. Look at the title of my blog! Words are weighty, wonderful things when used to their best advantage. 🙂

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