Guest Post by Jani Gonzalez
Jani Gonzalez is a writer and editor living in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. She grew up with the notion of writing the kind of stories that she loved to read. Her first love is with the short story, but she is currently working on her first young adult novel, The Wishmakers.
Whenever I read a really good book or watch an unforgettable film, I want to know all about the “behind the scenes.” As a writer, I want to know everything about the work from its inception to the final draft in the hopes of learning some missing link I can acquire. I want to know the secret to how an author or filmmaker created their story because after 20 years of studying and writing for various venues, fiction remains somewhat elusive to me. But it’s what I daydream about, and I am at no shortage of ideas.
Thanks to my local librarians, who had compiled a “Classics” table, I picked up an anthology of Ray Bradbury’s short stories. In the introduction, Bradbury said that early in his career, he wrote a short story every week. Starting on Monday, he wrote a draft of his story each day until Saturday when he would mail the final draft to a magazine. That’s five drafts of a story. He got ideas everywhere and was driven to write them down as soon as he could. He also mentioned having his wife and a close friend edit and provide feedback.
I have long admired Bradbury’s works, but I write a short story a year and sometimes they are still unfinished. I too get ideas everywhere but between work and family, I am all too accustomed to putting ideas to the side. I know I’m no busier than the next person. But this year, I want to change.
One night recently, I got an idea while wandering the aisles of Home Depot after having perused an American Girl catalog that my daughter had received in the mail. An idea clicked, and I had to write it down immediately – I couldn’t put it aside for an undetermined “later.” It stayed in notes form for a couple of weeks, then for my birthday I gave myself the gift of writing it out. Next, I got feedback from a Facebook writers’ group member who gave me confidence. My next step is to revise and send to another fellow writer for feedback before sending it to a contest. My goal is to keep up the pace no matter what comes my way…. But I want to know – what kind of writing routine do you have?