I can't resist offering a little reality check to those who think writing a good story is easy. Here's what just the last chapter of Dee Does High School went through. I have three different versions of the chapter on my computer:
Dee Does HS 24
Dee Does HS 24new
Dee Does HS 24final
According to the statistics kept by Word for Windows:
Dee Does HS 24 was revised 75 times, taking 5,545 minutes.
Dee Does HS 24new was revised 46 times requiring 2,002 minutes.
Dee Does HS 24final revised 2 times using only 1 minute.
So, that one chapter underwent 121 revisions requiring about 125 hours. This doesn't include the time JJ spent catching my mistakes -- I have a TERRIBLE time with hyphens! Just ask her.
That is just one chapter out of twenty four total.
The revision count is probably based on the number of times I saved the file. I may have gone over that file making changes three or four or five times between saves.
The minute count could include time I left it loaded in Word while I went off and did something else. But it doesn't include all the time I spent trying to figure out what the hell Dee was up to when the chapter was not loaded in Word.
Don't misunderstand me, I'm not complaining. I LOVE what I do, especially when I come up with just the right turn of phrase that makes the scene really come to life.That's the first payoff.
The second one is when I hear from someone telling me how much they enjoyed the story. That's the icing on the cake.
To you wannabe writers out there -- THAT IS WHAT IT TAKES! Fred Astaire made his dancing look easy because he practiced it over, and over, and over again until it was just right. Don't think you can just dash off a good story in one take. It rarely happens.
How do you get to Carnegie Hall?
Practice, practice, practice.