dianne salerni author
dianne salerni author

I was feeling pretty low this weekend, uninspired and uncreative. I’m working on a first draft of something, and it’s really rough. I also didn’t feel like blogging. So I decided to cheat and look back in my files for something I could recycle. I opened up a folder of blog posts from 2010 and stumbled across something that was just what I needed to read.

I don’t keep a diary or journal. Never have. Or, at least that’s what I thought. But it occurs to me that this blog is a sort of journal. Old entries can be a comfort in difficult times. Like this one, from June of 2010, when I was also struggling with a first draft …

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Decision PointI have one more chapter to write in my WIP – maybe two – before I run out of planned material and take a leap into the unknown. 

Okay, maybe it’s not as dire a decision as the one indicated on this sign (which my husband photographed on a recent business trip to Aspen.) I mean, I don’t *think* death can result from writing a novel without an outline … 

I have a story idea – a mystery, a romance, and a little history.  I think I know how it will end.  I have the various nuts and bolts: two caged graves, clues in a diary, lost treasure, a swamp, legends of the undead, poison, and war.  I probably have more than I need, and when I’m done, I fully expect to find some unused parts laying around.

Because I don’t really have the plot hammered out yet.  And I’m not sure I can plan it out too far in advance, because my characters have their own ideas.  I have found that if I give them the space and time to develop, my characters may lead me down unexpected paths. (Hopefully not that path marked with the skull and crossbones, though.)

Writing a new story is an adventure, a leap into the unknown.  And as a writer, I should be prepared to take some false paths and maybe even discover that the story I planned is not the story I’m going to write. This is good, because creation = chaos.

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Of course, the story I was working on was The Caged Graves, now a published novel. I’m glad I have these “journal entries” to re-visit. They help me remember that I’ve been in this place before. I’m sure I’ll be in it again. Writing is a roller-coaster, and sometimes you feel the high of writing perfect words … and sometimes you plunge into the depths of insecurity. It’s all part of the process, and it’s a good thing I’ve recorded it.