Over the holidays my little sister got engaged, and as I’ve watched her and helped her over the last few weeks, I’ve realized that planning a wedding is a lot like writing a book.
For The Most Part There Aren’t Many Different Types Of Weddings—Or Plots
I’d say most weddings I go to have a very similar feel. Or, perhaps more accurately, they have one of five different feels: the traditional wedding, the trendy wedding, the destination wedding, the low budget wedding, and the lavish high-budget wedding.
Basically there are only so many different ways to do a wedding. And even when people think they are doing something original, most of the time, they are just doing something that is a start of a new trend.
What makes a wedding unique is what the couple brings to it. Over the summer I went to a wedding and for the father-daughter dance they played the song Take Me Out To The Ballgame. It was adorable because this particular father and daughter had traveled all over the United States to visit different baseball parks. So, even though a father-daughter dance isn’t a unique part of a wedding they made it unique by making it theirs.
I would say same with is true for writing a book. Some people say there are only seven or eight major plots. What makes most plots unique is what the writer brings to it. But what does that look like? That’s a question that only you, as a writer, can answer, but I think it’s worth exploring. What makes you unique as a writer? Is it the way you see the world? Is it your perspective on life because you were homeschooled? Or because you you’ve traveled back in time to the French Revolution? What makes you the only person who can tell the story that you are writing?
Working With A Budget Is Kinda Like Working With A Word Count
Since most of you probably don’t know my sister, you probably don’t know that she is not rich. Her and her fiancé have a budget for their wedding, and working within this budget has been difficult for her. There are a lot of cute little things my sister wants for her wedding, but those cute little things add up. Sort of like cute little scenes in a book.
Chances are, unless you’re super famous like Stephen King you’re not going to get an unlimited word count for your books. So when someone tells you that your 100,000 page picture book is too long, you should probably take their advice and cut some things out.
I know we all love our cute, but slightly unnecessary, scenes and sentences, but if your book is over the recommended word count for your category and genre, those need to go. You don’t want to scare an editor or agent off before they even read your book.
Weddings Make People Crazy—And So Does Writing!
My sister is one of the sweetest people I know. She’s a first grade teacher, so you know she’s patient. And generally she handles stress better than I do. But I have never seen her as stressed as I have with this wedding. My sister hasn’t gone crazy—she’s actually stayed pretty level headed. But I think a lot of people go a little nuts when they’re planning a wedding. Everyone wants their wedding to be perfect. And as writers we all want our books to be perfect and loved by all, so I think it makes us a little crazy sometimes, too.
At least once a week, one of my writing friends tells me they are struggling with discouragement or depression. And I know I get the same way. I’ll have moments where I think I’ve just written the most awesome scene ever! Other moments, I will think that same scene is worse than any scene anyone has ever written. And for whatever reason, I have a bad habit of connecting this with my worth and my value as a person.
It sounds ridiculous when I write it out—to think that my writing has anything to do with my value as a person. I would never judge someone’s value as a person based on their writing. Of course, I also think that every person is valuable just because they are a person. So for me, sometimes I just need to step away from the writing and remember that even though it’s a significant part of my life, it doesn’t define my life.
So, what do all of you think? I’m not married, so I’ll be the first to admit that I could be totally wrong about this post. Do any of you think planning a wedding is like writing a book?