Thursday, April 11, 2019

One Step At A Time--Home Improvement & Writing

by Karen Rose Smith

Over the past two weeks, our daily routine has been disrupted by the sounds of hammers, saws, drills and strange voices as we had the carpet removed from our staircase and replaced with hardwood treads.  When we entertained the idea of undertaking the project, I had no idea what was involved and how long it would take.

The first day was consumed with removal of the old carpet and preparing the steps for their refacing.  When the workers left at the end of the day, one lonely step was completed...which meant that there were still twelve more to finish.  The next day, they made a little more progress and reached the landing.  Since that area was a bit of a strange configuration of angles and shapes, that took the entire next day.  There were still six more steps to go.

The cats and I were becoming more and more restless as we were all locked in my office.  But the workers assured us that the last few steps would go much more quickly and, true to their word, they completed the last step before the end of the fourth work day.  They cleaned up their mess and headed out, only to inform us that they would be returning the next day for a half day of touch up, caulking and painting.  That meant another morning of captivity for me and the cats.  But, at last, the steps are finished and they look awesome, well worth the temporary inconvenience.

Looking back over the experience, I realized how similar installing the new steps was to developing and writing a new novel. STEP BY STEP is how I approach the process, just as the workers did with the new stairs:
  1. Find a concept that will make me excited about writing the book...whether it is a romance or a mystery.
  2. Flesh out the concept to see if there is enough motivation and conflict to propel the story to a significant turning point.
  3. Develop main characters whose personalities fit into the story line.
  4. Choose a setting that will enhance the events that happen in the story.
  5. Develop secondary characters who will stir up circumstances or provide opportunities to show the best aspects of the main characters and provide growth.
  6. Develop a chapter-by-chapter outline with three scenes per chapter, providing as many chapters as I need for my contracted word count.
  7. Write the story and hope that with a little skill and a lot of patience, I will develop a masterpiece, mystery or romance, as impressive as my new stairs!    


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