Chrissy Medeiros joined the Idea to Draft Story Intensive with a story idea in her mind … and today she’s 74,000 words into her draft and a few thousand words away from being finished. In her own words, here’s how the Idea to Draft Story Intensive has helped her take her story from “idea seed” to (almost) completed first draft:
1. Where Were You With Your Story Before Joining This Workshop?
I had a very vague idea surrounding a paranormal romance before I joined the workshop.
2. What Challenge Did You Have and/or What Was Preventing You From Writing Your Novel Prior to Joining the Idea to Draft Workshop?
Time, and fear prevented me from starting my novel prior to joining the workshop. I am a stay-at-home mom to a three-year old, and time is something that’s hard to manage. Also, I had an awful inner critic that caused me to question everything that I wrote.
I feared that I wouldn’t be able to construct a workable, cohesive plot, and I feared that I wouldn’t be able to create three-dimensional characters that changed from the beginning of the story, to the end. I even feared that I’d read too many writing craft books, and wouldn’t be able to transfer my knowledge to the story!
3. What, If Any, Hesitations Did You Have Signing Up For This Workshop?
I just didn’t know if I would have the time, and dedication it takes to finish a novel. Now that I’m almost done, I have my answer, and it feels wonderful to have a story to share with the world!
4. What Changes Have You Noticed In Your Story? In Your Writing? In Your Life?
By the midpoint of my story, I noticed that everything started to improve: my descriptions, my ability to “show, don’t tell,” my ability to weave plot threads together, my dialogue, the inner thoughts of my characters… Things that I’d felt I’d mentioned randomly in the beginning of my story, came in handy in the later parts. Everything seemed to flow, and not feel as forced as it’d been before I started.
Now that I’m nearing the end of my first draft, however, I noticed something had changed: my writing started to flow, the plot suddenly started to make sense, and my characters now live like real people in my mind. I had someone to encourage me, someone who I could share my ideas with, I had someone who cared about helping people reach their writing goals.
Yes, you have to be willing to do the work to reach your dreams, but to have someone there to push you forward when you want to give up, that someone is hard to find, and it’s priceless.
If I didn’t sign up for this workshop, my story would still only exist in my imagination, and I wouldn’t be at 72,000 words in my work-in-progress.
5. What Specific Features Did You Like Best About This Workshop?
I love the feeling of receiving feedback on my story! Jennifer finds a terrific balance between offering constructive feedback, and inspiration at the same time. For instance: there were parts of my novel that didn’t fall into the correct milestones of story construction: the “research” parts fell into the “attack” parts, etc.
While the writing itself was fine, it wasn’t in the right place. She encouraged me to continue forward, and later I could go back to fix it – that is the key to success. Don’t stop writing. If you keep going back to edit and revise, you’ll never finish. As long as you’re aware of which milestone you should be hitting, than you’ll finish!
6. Would You Recommend This Workshop to Other Writers? Why Or Why Not?
Yes, I would highly recommend this workshop to other writers. If they are dedicated, if they are serious about pursuing their dream, than this workshop will help them fulfill that goal of completing a novel. Some writers might worry if they consider themselves pantsers when it comes to plotting out their novel.
Please don’t worry though!
Before I took this workshop, I’d been a pantser, but Jennifer worked with me to find a balance between creating a flexible map that could change as the story progressed. That way, I still had a goal and milestones to meet, so I wouldn’t write myself into a corner, but I could also change some elements if I’d wanted to on the map. That way, I could keep going and finish my novel!
7. Anything Else You’d Like to Add?
For a long time I daydreamed of “one day starting a novel.” That was six or seven years ago! Until you’re actively pursuing your goals, they’re just dreams with no substance, no real depth.
Before you realize it, the years will have passed, and you’ll have nothing to show the world. Don’t let another year pass, put pen to paper, fingers to keyboard and be proactive about pursuing your dream!