Box Writing

I started a new story about the time I went on a hiatus from here. I was really excited about it. Looking forward to working on something different than the never ending, super complicated, throw everything, but the kitchen sink at the heroine WIP I’d been a slave to for so long. So why do I only have four pages almost two months later– computer issues, family drama and a near caffeine overdose aside?

Well, I figured it out a couple of days ago after a writer friend asked me about writing within a structure. Like writing a Presents for Harlequin. So after I sent her my answer, I had an Aha-you big dummy moment.

I can’t write in a box. Too much structure and I either shut down or rebel. I can see how this is true when I think back to my childhood. Coloring within the lines always gave me trouble. When I did make an effort to keep my crayon marks between the lines the picture was always came out jacked up. And paint by numbers. I’d start off good, following the color key and then the revolution was on. The color key was discarded and 4-brown was 4-orange.

Anyway, with this new story, I was so preoccupied with making sure the hero acted a certain way, the setting was in this particular place and other things were in place that I couldn’t write. And when I did try, it was like pulling out teeth with chop sticks. The words on the screen were mine, but the voice carrying them wasn’t. I went days without working on it or even thinking about it. My creative sparkle had fizzled out.

But it’s back. Now that I decided to write the story outside of the box. I’ll keep the publisher’s guidelines in mind, but I won’t let them constrain me. It’ll be interesting to see how the story turns out.

So anyone else struggle with writing in a box?


Filed under Kimberly, writing

5 responses to “Box Writing

  1. Inez kelley

    I too am attempting a new thing and, although that box sure is comforting at times, it is liberating to be able to say ‘Nope, different genre, so I can step away from that rule’.

    Now, if I can just make sure i don’t drag my crayon so far off the page as to mark the table, then maybe I can oull this feat off. Good luck with your project!

  2. talesfromthecrit

    The thing about HQ, and I was just talking about this on Divas yesterday, is that if you weren’t just born writing like that you have to put all your preconceived notions about how to write aside and look at what they like. HQ knows what they like. All you have to do is, as you said, color in the lines.

    Good luck making your vision work, I’ve noticed that every once in awhile they publish people who scribble too. 😉


  3. I scribble, with some structure. But not enough to be restrictive. I mean, going outside the lines makes it nicer, in my opinion.

  4. jodi

    lol–you don’t have to be restrained by the box. It’s enough to “see” the box. You can go as over the top, weird and way out there, got a little humor, don’t have humor, as you so desire. It’s when you’re done that you should go back over the whole thing, which by then will look a little like a pigeon in a carwash and smooth down most of the feathers. Some feathers sticking out are fine, and if they don’t like it, they’ll tell you.

    Scribble hard.

  5. Hey Inez,

    Sorry to read about all your writing woes.
    Keep writing and one day all that sh- will get absorbed in your mind, kiddo.

    Most times I don’t feel like being boxed in anywhere, especially when making an attempt to write. Chlsotrophic? Uh-huh.

    What I usually do is start writing a scene and see where it takes me. Usually I only have a brief story idea. Then I get a vague character image & take it from there. Then after doing a lot of panster writing I try to jot down a lot of one line scene descirtptions.

    Since my biggest problem is developing the middle I bought Karen Wiesner’s First Draft In 30 Days. She shows how to draft a novel step by step. In one chapter she shows how to brainstorm. Another she shows how to draft an outline by using 3 different novels. For the middle she uses Lord of the Rings: the Fellowship. All that is part of my research.

    Also want to thank you for all the help you’ve given me in showing how to describe something. Even though I see a setting in my mind words won’t always show up in my feeble mind.

    Okay. I’ll shut up now.

    See ya in RD chat. Will be there after posting this comment.

    Keep writing. 🙂

    Jerry Race

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