Wednesday, October 21, 2009


See the red picture? That's how your non-writing family and friends live their lives. They face a ladder leading where they want to go and simply climb up rung by rung.

See the yellow Picture? You writers reach that much-sought-after summit, after you've begun the book, introduced your characters, added in the spice of complications, action, conflict. Now you reach the climax at at long last! You stand at the precipice, feeling high on power and accomplishment.

But, you haven't written the hardest part yet kiddo. You face that final descent, the reader must encounter an engaging but believable turning point. And, you absolutely must create that crucial final suspense before bringing them home to a satisfying ending.

(I won't even bother going into the fact that you must re-climb the ladder for re-writes and editing, God knows how many times. That goes without saying.)

When, at last you've finished, it's whew-I-did-it-jubilation-time! Yay! But hold on now, look ahead, you face another daunting ladder leading up. You must find readers. That's the point, finding willing souls to read what you've written. Mercy, now that's another whole ball of wax. Hope you have strong legs.

I want to let you know I am a guess blogger over at K.'s place. She's a wonderful person, a doctor, a mother, and she finds time to write and post Fine Art Fridays on top of the bargain. Here's the link, K.'s Blog.

All Rights Reserved. © 2009 by Elizabeth Bradley.


Elspeth Antonelli said...

Ah well, at least it's an interesting journey. Just going in one direction would be rather dull. But if I'm climbing all these ladders, why don't I have better legs???


Helen Ginger said...

I agree, you have to have strong legs to have a long life in the writing field!

Straight From Hel

Jan Morrison said...

yep - up the ladder and did you mention the rungs aren't always there? Or they have some slippery stuff on them? And what if I'm scared of heights? OK - what choice do I have? None right? Here I go again.

lakeviewer said...

Hard work; relentless and unappreciated. What we do for love.

Alix said...

I love you Elizabeth.

You have such an easy kitchen table way of speaking to us (which I need!) so we get the picture.

Now I know why I can never be a writer. I have ADD, a boring life, and couldn't create structure if I were dipped in paper mache. Thankfully, we have you.

You are indeed an amazing writer with the strongest of legs. So glad I know you.

Lori said...

That ladder looks so menacing too me! So much writing muscle it asks for. I need to increase my training hours.

Joanne said...

And sometimes it's like "Chutes and Ladders." Climb the tall ladder, one wrong move, down the swirling chute to begin again!

Marguerite said...

You already have lots of willing readers! And since you are a fabulous writer, I think finding readers will be easy, cher! Cheers!

Jemi Fraser said...

Up and down and back up again! It's certainly never boring, is it? There's always something new to look forward too :)

Cloudia said...

Truth well put!
(wanna read my little Hawaii novel anyone? Called "Aloha Where You Like Go?" available @ Amazon)

Another rung!

Aloha, Friend!

Comfort Spiral

God of Another World said...

Yes - the agony of a writer. You'd think we would climb down once in a while, but no...we simply move to the next ladder.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Writers have a different kind of life, don't we?

It's challenging, but so rewarding!

Thanks for the links, Elizabeth!
Mystery Writing is Murder

Galen Kindley--Author said...

Another sub-step on the ladder issue occurs during re-write/revision. After a point, I just get sick and tired of the story and my characters. I mean, you can only read Chapter X so many times before you just can’t bear it anymore. Still, it’s gotta be done, so, down to the bottom of the Chapter Ladder you go, take a deep breath and start the climb again. Ugh.

Best Regards, Galen

Imagineering Fiction Blog

Jody Hedlund said...

Oh, love this analogy! The picture is a simple but profound way to think about the whole writing process! And you're so right about having to reclimb that ladder! In some ways, I'm adding the the rungs I missed on the first climb!

Cheffie-Mom said...

I can totally relate to this post!! Climbing one step at a time -- baby steps!!

staceyjwarner said...

The ladder of a creative writing life has no end...because once you finish a book and find your readers, you will be doing it all over will get easier (maybe) but it is still one rung at atime.

much love

K. said...

I love the ladder true!

Thank you again for your wonderful post. I often ask myself "Why am I wasting my time doing all this writing?" and your post really offered me an answer. Thank you...:)

Jenn said...

OK so just one question then...with all this ladder climbing how come my butt just keeps getting bigger and bigger?? ;-) As I am about to dive into NaNoWriMo for the first time this is a great reminder, thanks Elizabeth for keeping us in check with such a perfect description!