Layer by layer.
When we think of layering many things come to mind. Clothes—let’s layer–cool in the morning, hot in the afternoon. Brick homes, one layer of bricks on top of another and so on until the home is complete. Cakes! Layer upon layer of yumminess!
Writing a story involves many layers as well. At least it does for me. There are authors who can naturally weave several layers as they write their first draft. I’m not one of those. I do love writing the rough draft, though. I have learned a lot over the last few years about my writing process and what I learned involved layering.
Layer 1: I give myself permission to write fast and say whatever on the page. This took me a while to do, though. I was always searching for the perfect word, or if I felt a unique word would work, but I couldn’t think of it, I’d stop and ponder. No more. Now I just fly through with crazy awkward sentences. I’m usually too wordy and need to condense. The best thing that comes out of my layer 1 is dialogue. That’s my natural talent I think. Dialogue comes easy. The problem? I’ll have a whole page of nothing but dialogue.
Layer 2: Setting. I go back and look at where my characters are and layer on the setting. Weather, surroundings, clothes. So much goes into putting the reader right there with the characters. (I probably keep doing this through all the other layers as well.)
Layer 3: Emotions. Internal dialogue. What are the characters feeling? What are they thinking? Sometimes a thought will precede an action. An action that may not make sense otherwise. It’s important to make sure your hero and heroine stay in character, or explain why they don’t.
Layer 4: Continuity. Going through the manuscript with a highlighter making sure nothing is jarring from one scene to the next. Making sure the plot is moving forward in a believable way and their emotions aren’t all over the place. The hero and the heroine each have a growth arc–and in our books here at Inspy, they have a spiritual growth arc as well. These arcs should move forward seamlessly to the reader.
This involves all the nuances each author puts into her work. This is where we make sure the sentences are just right. The words flow, the pacing is good. We fix anything we see, make sure the ending is happy! Then we ice our book baby and send it into the world.
I know this process is helpful for many things. I’d love to hear about the things you “layer” in life. I’d also love to hear if you bake cakes! I’m not so good at it.