WIP: First Day of the First Draft in 30 Days

well, my hat’s off to Karen Wiesner for even attempting to write this book. It’s clearly not for me. I’ve failed on Day One. I think this would be a great book for someone who has a more left brain mind than I do. Someone very organized who’s writing a story that is not too complex. Someone who cooks according to a recipe rather than by taste. Having said all that, I think some of her outline suggestions can be very useful. . . but compacting everything into 30 days is another matter.
First, I don’t intend this to be a critique of her book, because I really do admire her for writing it and believe her approach can work in some instances. But it’s important to note that BEFORE day one, the writer must have quite a clear story concept in mind. That alone takes me 60 days.  Today, Day One, I was to do my character sketches. A day for character sketches? Not on my planet. Characterization is my passion, my reason for writing, something to linger over. Create a little, step back, look it over, keep some parts, toss out others, and create a little more. In addition, my characters write their thoughts to me. They tell me, in first person, all about themselves. Then I ask them what they think of one another. Then I have to search for their images, listen to their favorite music, dig through their purses to see what they can’t be without, look between their mattress and boxspring and finally, gain their trust so they tell me their secrets. Obviously, this cannot be done in a day!
However, I tried. I already had about 20 pages on Allie and Andy and their Mom, Joanna. So I followed Wiesner’s methodical outline for character sketches, which I found very helpful, as it forced me to order my chaotic thoughts about the characters. Wiesner asks for interior conflicts, exterior conflicts, etc. Two critical items I added to the sketches were Goals and Secrets. I need to know what each character is after, and I need to know what each character is hiding, if anything. (And who among us has no secret?). 
On Day Two, you’re supposed to figure out your setting. Problem is, I have many more characters to flesh out. As I work on them, new avenues will be created in my storyline, which will change the characters, who will change the storyline. . . and on and on. So it’s back to the Diane Chamberlain method of writing a novel.
Tomorrow, I’ll let you in on my dirty little secret about characterization. Heheheh.  


  1. Margo on September 12, 2006 at 8:17 am

    Your method of writing has always worked for you, making your novels so unique and diff from anyone else…why change a good thing??…I think you should write a book on the Diane Chamberlain way of writing because your way gets right to the heart of the characters and noone writes as well as you Diane!

  2. Lorene on September 12, 2006 at 9:05 am

    If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it 🙂

  3. Diane Chamberlain on September 12, 2006 at 10:44 am

    lorene, you have a way of getting right to the heart of the matter.

  4. Lorene on September 13, 2006 at 9:08 am

    I just don’t have the writing skills of many of you so I have to get to the point 🙂 I really admire you for you’re writing and also for your willingness to learn from one who hasn’t written much. That’s probably why you are so good.

  5. Diane Chamberlain on September 13, 2006 at 11:00 am

    thanks, lorene.

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