90 Days to My Novel: Down to the Minors


I became a baseball follower about a year ago when I started dating my Toronto Blue Jays fan-addict boyfriend. I don’t know much about the game but I have learned something. It’s not enough for a baseball player to be a talented athlete. Development plays a huge roll in his success.

I was told that by my boyfriend and heard it over and over again from the Jays broadcasters. I understood, yet I didn’t until this week when Kyle Drabek, a talented young pitcher, was sent down to AAA to work on his self-control and his confidence. So, in baseball, development is both physical and mental.

Where I am going with this? I fell almost a week behind in completing the assignments in 90 Days to Your Novel. Then I caught up. Woot! Then I hit the assignment (Write a scene from your novel’s outline that introduces a new character for the first time.) that made me decide to go back to the minors for a bit. It was time to take a step back and develop my description skills.

I’m not the best describer in the world. I tend to think: “How can I say this in the fewest words possible.” I have another problem: I’m a bad observer. I see the big picture; details go unnoticed unless needed. When it comes to people, I rarely notice their outside appearance. That’s mostly due to life experience: you can’t judge a person by her cover — judge her by her words and actions instead. As for places, my physical and emotional reaction to an environment governs me more than what it looks like. None of these are good traits to have as a fiction writer. The opposite would also be bad. The middle ground is, as it tends to be in most things, probably the right place to be.

So I set aside all the pre-writing work I’ve been doing for my novel and reached for the Write Great Fiction series I bought a few weeks ago. I grabbed the one on characters and read through it. Now I’m reading about description and setting. I can’t wait to get back to the assignment and use all this new knowledge I’m acquiring!

While I am annoyed about taking a break from my novel, I see this time as an opportunity to grow. It appears that a writer is a lot like a baseball player. Talent is only aptitude. Development is the transformation of talent in to mastery.

What’s your writer’s weakness? I love to hear from you. Leave a comment.

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