Farrago: A confused group; a medley, mixture, hotchpotch.
The OED dates common usage about 1637. Old enough for me to include in my Avelynn novels, which are a farrago of different story elements.
An author takes a farrago of plot, characterization, setting, and theme, mixes them all together, waves a magic wand, and viola, they have a novel! I am often fascinated with the ‘method’ of writing a good story. There are a lot of books on the subject, and in truth, I have just bought four more. However, in saying that, I’m terrible at figuring that ‘method’ out. I write intuitively, which is a fancy way of saying, I have no clue what I’m doing as I do it. As I write out the farrago of ideas rampaging around in my head, they weave their magical way into scenes and chapters complete with tension in the right places, pacing that ramps up to a climax, and character motivation that drives the action … all without knowing how I’m doing it. The story just comes out that way.
This is all fine and dandy in a first draft but quickly becomes a problem when it comes time to edit and I realize something somewhere is off. Without a guide or a detailed treasure map outlining the elements of story and how and where to use them, during the editing process, I’m not always able to figure out what the issue is that just isn’t working. It’s like an Easter egg hunt in a mansion. They could be anywhere!
This is where wonderful people called beta readers come in. These hardy souls are a farrago of readers from all walks of life—friends, editors, agents, friends, people you beg and cajole off the street—who critique your manuscript. You hand them your words, and they return with feedback that will help you zero in on those mistakes, those rapid misfires, those ‘what the hell was I thinking’ passages. They help turn a farrago of words, phrases, sentences, and paragraphs into something someone somewhere might actually enjoy reading one day.
Writing is a process, but I love what I do, and I love the people who support me every step of the way in this wild process… including you dear reader… whoever you are… reading these words… right here… right now. I do this crazy gig because of you. Thanks for being here. 🙂