Wednesday, January 11, 2012

write down them bones

Good Wednesday to you!! First of all, allow me to toot my own horn for a moment:

This is my 100th post! I can't believe it! No, really. If you've been popping by for any amount of time, you know how sporadic my blogging has been. BUT, reaching this milestone proves to me that I can do this! And I want do, dear blog friends. I value each and every one of you (even those who are visiting for the first time). That may sound cliche for a blogger to say, but I mean it :D

Now then; about that title. Many of you have heard of and probably read Natalie Goldberg's amazing book Writing Down the Bones. If you haven't, hop aboard an air ship or harness up that narwhal and get thee to a bookstore NOW! Her books are mesmerizing and encouraging. They are raw and open and honest and remind me why I'm doing this day in, day out. Why I'm writing.

The title of this particular book of hers has always struck me. How does one write bones? Is she talking about a murder mystery? Or perhaps a remake of Frankenstein? If you ask me, it's more of an architectural manual. Bones are your support system. Without them, we'd inhabit a planet of jellyfish. While we'd all be more flexible and excel at Olympic level yoga, we'd have no support. No structure. No shape. There' be nothing there to keep our organs in the proper place or to keep our skin from running off during a particularly heavy rain storm.

The bones of your story are what makes it shape, shift, and merge into the story you see in your mind. We all see our completed story before it is completed. I can't tell you how many times I've envisioned my book, enfleshed, hard cover, my signature on the inside page, Tim Burton calling to make the film adaptation. Without the bones, however, there will never be a book. I love the skin, the make up, the stitching of eyes and ears and fingers and toes. The bones? Bah! No one sees those. You know what I'm taking about: the hours and years and reams of paper of research and backstory that no one will see until you've been dead fifty years and it all gets auctioned off to rabid fans for charity.

But those bones are necessary. They're what makes the skin weaving possible. While you're going about your day, getting those new year's goals all shiny and ready to go, think about the bones of your story. What is supporting your tale? What is allowing you to tell it? After I finish this *&#%$)(-ing math project, I'll be doing that myself!

Write fearless my friends!

PS: I almost forgot! I've decided to comment on comments (heh) in the comment section instead of email. I hope this doesn't inconvenience anyone. Feel free to email me if you want and of course I'll respond! But as for basic comments, they'll be responded to in the lovely comment section. xo


  1. One hundred posts! Yes, I do believe you can do this.
    "Bare bones" is how I write my first draft - maybe I've been on to something and didn't know it?

  2. Yay for 100 posts! Thanks so much for being a fabulous blogger! And I love working on the bones of my story--I need to read this book ASAP!

  3. Congrats on your 100th post! That is super exciting.

    I like the idea that the hours of work and research are the bones of our story. I somtimes like to think of it too as that first draft - the structure. If I get that down, I can change and rewrite and improve. But that has to be there first.

  4. Congratulations on 100 posts! :)

    I've been looking for stuff on writing to read; I'm putting this one on my TBR! It sounds like an excellent book.

  5. Big southern YIPPEE on the 100th, we knew you could do it. Bones... so true. A good story has to have bones. :)
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  6. Wooohooo!!! on your 100th post. Yeah, I saw the bones as the structure, giving the story integrity. I am a hybrid between a planner and a pantser -- but I make sure to have bones. Otherwise my story cannot stand on it's own and has no real identity.

  7. Congrats on the 100 posts!! Considering all of the blogs that you have had over time, I'd say that is quite the accomplishment. :) I'm waiting the second 100!

  8. Wow! 100 posts--congratulations!! I love books on writing, especially motivational one's by Carolyn See and Stephen King. I've heard of Writing Down the Bones, but I haven't read it yet. I'll check it out!

  9. I'm thinking of writing down the bones into a story of their own. Because they've become like a dinosaur graveyard while I wasn't watching. :-D

  10. The bones are so important, I agree. :) Congrats on your 100th post! Woot!

  11. Congrats on the 100 posts! I haven't heard of this book, but I will put it on my list of things to check out. Thanks for the rec.

  12. Congrats on 100 posts! I'll have to check out the book.

  13. Congratulations on 100!! I will check out this book. Love your bone analogy. :-)

  14. When the skin is cut, the bone is exposed. If they're strong, and we're healthy, we'll heal faster. So, keep dem bones strong and healthy. Wrie on, Dear Friend!

    Play off the Page

  15. Alex: I dare say you're on to something. We usually are when we least expect it :D

    Meredith: Thanks so much! The bones are so important. They are what give our stories shape and substance.

    Stacy: Thanks and I agree. Once we lay that foundation, we can move and rearrange until the story looks exactly how we envisioned it.

    Golden: Thank you! I think you'll really like it! She has another book called Thunder and Lightening which is another fabulous read!

    Jules: Thanks! Love that big, southern yippee :D

    Erin: Thank you. I agree. I enjoy both planning and flying free but, as you said, without structure, those free forming thoughts have no where to land.

    Lin: You're a trouper! Thank so much for sticking with me through all my blog experiments! You rock :D

    Jill: Thanks! I've had King's "On Writing" on my TBR list for years now! I don't know what's keeping me from reading it! This year for sure :D

    Misha: The dinosaur analogy is excellent and appeals to my inner paleontologist. I'll keep this visual in mind when I work. It will help me get through the rough bits imagining myself in a Jurassic Park of ideas, looking for the gems (while keeping my eye out for those pesky raptors ;))

    Lydia: Thank you!

    Elana: Thanks so much! The book is fabulous, a real provocative shaper of a writer's mind. Her other book, Thunder and Lightening, is another excellent one to have on hand.

    Nicole: Thanks! I think you'll really enjoy the book. It's definitely worth the time.

    Jennifer: So glad you enjoyed it :D Thanks for stopping by!

    Tracy: Thank you so much! The bone analogy really struck me the other day and I'm looking forward to exploring it further!

    Mary: Oh how I love this! If our bones are strong we'll heal faster. Wow. This is another brilliant idea you've given me :D Thank you my friend! Cheers!


Well, hello! I'm so glad you made it. Come inside and sit by the hearth. I'll take your coat and hat. The kettle is singing and there's cake and candles and good conversation. Settle in and make yourself at home. Don't mind the wolfhounds; they're friendly if you give them a bit of lemon curd.