Friday, October 16, 2009

The Roller Coaster

Welcome, one and all to the wonderful roller coaster ride of being a writer. Please ensure the safety bar is locked and please keep your arms inside the cart at all times. Here we goooo....

The Climb:

Now you're locked into the cart and as much as you might be second-guessing your choice you've got no where to go but up. Welcome to the wonder that is trying to write that first draft. You've got the idea. You've got a number of fascinating characters. Now write it. Easier said than done, isn't it? And just when you think you've got a handle on the beast along comes...

The First Big Drop:

This is when you realize what you've written is dry and unimaginative. You note, with rising horror, the number of cliches you've employed and your fondness for re-using and re-using the same words. This the time to bless your delete key and start again because here comes...

The Next Big Climb:

Now you're cookin' with gas. The words are flowing nicely and characters are coming alive. Your word count is climbing higher. But are you prepared for...

The 360 Degree Loop:

The unexpected has occurred. Some of your characters or one of the precious creatures (you invented them, there's no one else to blame) suddenly insists on saying something or doing something you hadn't planned. It's somewhat un-nerving the first time it happens, but I've gotten used to it. I've realized that the character is right, nine times out of ten. I hold onto the safety bar and go with it. Face it, you really don't have a choice.

Speeding Down to the Finish:

Every writer can experience the wonderful feeling of re-reading their work and being amazed that they wrote it. Moments like that make you feel as if you could climb Mount Everest. If I could bottle and sell that feeling I would.

The ironic part of this roller coaster ride is that it's never-ending. There's always another climb ahead or another turn or twist. Enjoy the ride, my friends. I think it's far more fun to be on the roller coaster than standing safely on the ground.

Donna Lea Simpson of Cozy Murder Mysteries kindly asked me to write a guest post about the differences between writing murder mystery games and mystery novels. I'm over there today; please drop by !


  1. What a great analogy! I'm bookmarking this.

    BTW, Ember in Wrilogonzia - A Blog Opera kicked off today and I did name the fabulous aunt after you. She only has a mention in the first installment, but trust me she is fabulous.

  2. Glad you liked it; and thanks for naming someone fabulous after me. Small parts are great and I should know, I played plenty of 'em.

  3. Oy, I hate roller coasters. They make me nauseous. But the analogy works for the writing process, doesn't it?

  4. I'm on this roller coaster ride right now. It's my favorite in the whole park.

  5. Great blog, Elspeth. I hadn't thought of writing in that way before (and roller coasters make me nauseous).

  6. This was a great post! I agree with analogy. I'm racing toward my finish line, and ready to jump on the roller coaster again.

  7. Eish! A roller coaster ride indeed.Spot on Elspeth. Mine often has far too many twists, turns, and sudden drops. :0

  8. I loves me a good roller coaster ride. Jolting, yes, but invigorating and that drop is worth it.

  9. Yeah, not a fan of the rollercoaster -- I would've talked about the nausea and the freefall and the clinging for dear life... haha!

    Apt metaphor, though.


  10. I'm not much of a roller coaster fan, either. Sometimes I feel writing is like a carousel. Around and around, not getting anywhere.

  11. Elspeth - What a wonderful analogy! You're right about the ups and downs of writing being exactly like a roller coaster ride. So is the process of submitting writing to be published. Up as you submit, down as you wait, up as you open that envelope, down if it's a reject, up as you resubmit, up even further when it's accepted, down when you realize the edits that have to be done, etc....

  12. Great analogy. I gave up roller coasters decades ago - started making me puke, lol - but the never-ending roller coaster ride of writing is a thrill I'll never give up.

    Marvin D Wilson

  13. Very good post. It is indeed like a roller coaster. Sometimes the ride is fun. Sometimes it's frightening.

    Straight From Hel

  14. Very true - I definitely have moments when I close my eyes, when I'm scared to death, and when I feel the joy and exhilaration!

  15. I can really relate to this, however, my First Big Drop is followed by about a hundred drops of intermediate depth. Looks sorta like a sine wave. Some with lots of amplitude.

    Best Regards, Galen

    Imagineering Fiction Blog

  16. Just like one! I even have days when I feel like I'm on a reverse roller coaster. Bleh.

    Mystery Writing is Murder


Please leave a comment as I love to hear from you!