If you are a writer, or want to be a writer, and are working away at the craft, you may or may not know that you are in the business of fighting monsters. Some of the monsters are big, some are tiny, and some will win the battle, if not the war.
My roll call of monsters starts with the sweet-looking Inspiration. I had a story arc bubble up in my brain recently when I was supposed to be sleeping. Why is that a monstrous thing? Because I have three projects in process right now, and may never get to this one. Stupid monster.
Next are the twins, Laziness and Procrastination. Sometimes Laziness tries to disguise itself as fatigue, but I recognize it most of the time. Procrastination also tries to disguise itself as Duty. But when I suddenly think that scrubbing the bathroom is the most exciting thing I can do, I know the truth.
Behind the twins is another very sneaky monster. Competing Priorities. My current three projects try to get my attention, the laundry needs me, the birds need feeding, and I have a deadline of sorts to meet before the end of April. Along with CP comes a close relative of Procrastination, Block. I rarely have to fight off Block, sometimes just taking care of CP creates Inspiration. As long as I can direct it to the right place, this works.
Other writers battle Structure, Plot Orcs, I mean Arcs, and Conflict. Just thinking of a story will give rise to Hooks, Endings, and the Dreaded Opening Paragraph. There are many helpful links that will give you the knowledge to defeat these foes. Put out some chocolate to distract the monsters, and look at http://jamigold.com/2011/05/do-stories-need-a-theme/ which not only has great advice, but includes lots of links to more good monster-defeating knowledge!
Do you know who else fights monsters? The heroes and heroines of the stories I write! That’s really interesting. My heroine in The Viscount’s Mouse is fighting Disability, Class Snobbery, Poverty, and Loneliness. She fights off Seduction and Desire, but she doesn’t get carried away with the whole virtue thing. The hero who sweeps her off her feet fights Boredom, a common monster that attacks the titled and privileged classes, Lechery, and the desire to thrash his sister. I guess that’s more genetic than a monster.
Then we have to decide which one is the protagonist, and which one is the antagonist. Usually the story belongs to the female lead, so she’s the protagonist. The male lead is bringing trouble her way with a capital T, so he is the antagonist. These great pages will help you work out those Monsters: http://jamigold.com/2011/05/make-your-antagonist-a-force-for-good/
If you battle enough monsters and win, you unlock the next level:
And now you get to submit your work to the Monster we dread most, Critiquer! Just to help out, run it through this edit first. You’ll be happy you did. http://rainbeforerainbows.com/sluggish.html
We have advanced to the fifth level. Our story is written, our critiquers love it, and we have edited it to a nicety. There are a few paths we can take now, each with a different Monster. One is to submit it to a contest, but you face a clan of monsters known as Judges. However, if you get to the final circle of this level, you can brag about that when you take the next path. Here’s a few places to start: http://www.freelancewriting.com/creative-writing-contests.php
Laurels in hand, you must now choose the path of self-publishing, where you will encounter the dread Monster Disparagement. But as long as you have a good book to publish, you can ignore the minions of Envy who try to bring you down. http://www.forbes.com/sites/deborahljacobs/2014/04/25/how-to-self-publish-your-book-through-amazon/
Suppose you are more of a traditionalist, then you probably will seek out the monster Agent. The secret here is, once you have proven yourself worth to this Monster, you will have him or her on your side. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lev-raphael/publishing-can-break-your_b_5213302.html?utm_hp_ref=books&ir=Books
Armed with your tamed Agent, you now face the final level in the game of battling Monsters: Publishing! http://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/2014/04/25/doing-the-work/
Have a great week, and Wednesday I’ll be back.