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  • Writer's pictureSarahHauer

Time to Fill the Blank Page

Once a story concept begins to take shape, then what? Isn't the page still blank? Yes, and remains so for a while.

For The Power of Ketchup, the next thing I did, as I mentioned in the previous blog, was write a one sentence description. That sentence was: Sunday, 4th of July, 1982, a little sign from God that leads the townspeople through all kinds of emotional upheavals from arguments, to love, to forgiveness, to where the entire town believes in miracles.

It didn't matter what that sentence looked like. It didn't matter if grammar and spelling were correct. It didn't even need to have the full, detailed concept. In fact, if you look, I hadn't even decided on the ketchup on the scoreboard yet. I only knew date because it was a holiday and basic general scenario.

How long did it take me to write that one sentence? Depends on how you look at it. You could say it took more years of throwing ideas on paper and seeing what stuck. Or, you could say it took me about ten minutes from the moment I got home from my walk and opened up my laptop. I'll let you decide.

Next was to write a five sentence synopsis, which much later in the process evolved into the synopsis paragraph description on the back cover and on Amazon. That took me approximately an hour to write.

Next, I started to work on individual characters. I have already written a blog on character development. In this book, I started with the town itself, Lori, her children, Pastor James, and Father Andrew almost all at once. Once I had those, the others popped up left and right.

We are up to step four where I took those five sentences and broke them down and expanded them to five paragraphs.

All the next steps went back and forth between more character building and expanding the story further and further with more details until a complete story was outlined in phrases and sentences and paragraphs all jumbled together, yet still in an order of sorts. It was a messy outline that laid the foundation for the entire book.

Then, I started with page one, paragraph one, sentence one.

The first draft was so fast, I couldn't believe it. I wrote it in a month and a half.

If I wrote it so fast, then how come I was late getting it out? That's a topic for another blog on another day. That's procrastination, challenges, and distractions. Is that one blog or three? I don't know yet.

Anyway, after the first draft came the second draft. Because I finished the first draft by Thanksgiving, I decided to take off the holidays. Shortly after the New Year, I got a hotel room for two nights and locked myself away in it away from everyone and everything to concentrate on it. I finished the second draft within minutes of checkout time.

Third draft took weeks. Fourth draft took weeks longer. Fifth draft.

Now, it was spring, and I was inching closer and closer to my May 15th deadline. I needed to find an editor and beta-readers. Alas, the book got behind because editing led to draft six and draft seven.

Beta-readers happened alongside grammatical editing, which went too fast because I was now WAY late on release.

And then it was done. Whew!

That is the very brief way The Power of Ketchup came into existence. It was much more painful than I am able to show here, but you can at least see the general progression. It was months, even years in the making. Hopefully, hopefully, the next one only takes months. We shall see.

Bottom line, that first blank page is a blessing and a curse. It demands to be filled and requires soul searching to get it done. Soul searching is what I did during every step along the process. Maybe that should be the next blog. I don't know. On second thought, maybe that soul searching is the secret drive writers should keep to themselves.

If you have a comment or question, or a blog idea, shoot me an email at

Thanks for reading!



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