What is the Aha Moment? It's that amazing point that you hit after struggling to write a story that just refused to be written. It's when you figure out that juicy twist that is going to leave readers clinging to the pages and secretly hating your guts. (Trust me, that is a good thing!)
After agonizing over my current WIP for weeks, I’ve finally had the Aha Moment, and it is juicy! Suddenly my favorite character is the one I hate most, and I just know the readers will feel the same.
While the Aha Moment is great for getting the creative juices flowing, it can mean completely reworking the story I had planned. This is exactly why outlining my novels rarely work for me. I feel frustrated by being contained by a predetermined path.
When I’m asked about my writing process, I often feel like my answer leaves much to be desired. I wish I could say that I spend countless hours poring over the perfect outline, but really it just doesn’t work that way for me.
For me it's much more like following the cast of characters watching their lives play out and being allowed to be the record keeper. I don’t determine my characters’ path and let them do it for me. It feels much more natural and I feel more connected with my work.
But writing a book this way can also have his downsides. It can make for slower progress with writing. It can also mean writing three books in a series, getting to the fourth, and the characters are no longer talking. This means I'm left with readers who want more and a story that has shut off to me. Trust me, it happened. This is why I’ve shifted toward writing the books before publicizing them.
The thing is, as much as I strive to be a stronger writer and pick up tips and creative techniques that will help me produce books quickly, I don't want to miss out on the Aha Moment. It's the reason I'm a writer. I know that without it, I would stick to my day job.
I want to be surprised by the journey, and I want to create characters who feel real and not scripted. For me, creating an outline and picking apart every piece of the story before it's written just doesn't work.
Now that's not to say that it never will. While I still don’t outline the entire story before writing it, I have learned and incorporated new techniques where parts of my book become outlined as they come to me. This has made my writing more effective.
I will continue to improve my craft and adapt new techniques that I feel will help me produce better stories.
That is what I believe makes the journey worth it. Learning, growing, and of course a good Aha Moment!