Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Wednesdays Words of Wisdom

Look at me go!!!!!
Yep, I'm flying along. By the end of day 4 I'm past the 10k mark and if it keeps going the way it is I'll be making the 50k easy. I know technically Nano is supposed to be one novel but I'm pretty sure my story only has about 30k but I'm cool with that because I had planned to write on two stories during Nano and one of those is going to be over 50k. But that was then and this is now.

Yep, you guessed it, I've been led astray. *gasp* What me? Led astray? Never! LOL
Okay, so all joking aside, Nano should be about the commitment to write the first draft without stopping, that's why we're aiming for 50k, not because it's a nice number and someone thought it would be good to torture us with. You see, a lot of writers get caught in the edit/polish stage well before you should be doing it. I've heard editors comment about receiving first three chapters that are near perfect but when they ask for a full it's a huge let down. Yes, you need to get you audience (in this case the editor but eventually your reader) by the throat and have them turning pages but if you have the big bang and no pretty lights after it your audience is going to be let down and won't be picking up another one of your stories.

Don't get me wrong, I've been known to go back over and back over and back over the same scene. Getting caught in the edit/polish till the damn thing is perfect but then I move on and when I go back to the beginning I realise I've edited and polished the poor thing to death. It's so technically correct that there's no emotion, no voice. I killed it. It's more than tempting to go back and edit, I fight it every time I open up the file to start writing, but I've got a system, one that works for me. I'm allowed to read the last scene before I start writing the next, but only when I've stopped for a time and lost the flow. Sometimes my little fingers hover over the backspace key and they itch to fix just that little bit there but I bite my tongue and move on. Sometimes I bleed and sometimes I give in and fix just that one word there but usually I can keep going and move the story forward.

The biggest thing to do is aim for a consistent level of writing, whether that's one hour, two hours or all day, try and stick with the same amount of time. Try to keep the momentum going every day and slowly that word count will creep up. Don't worry about making the story linear either. This is the first draft, so if you write the end scene then the first meeting scene who cares, you fix that in the second draft. That's when you get to do the little edit/polish thingy to your hearts content. Well, not quite but you get the picture. That's why I'm now writing two stories that run parallel, they'll both top out at about 30k and it's possible I could sell them as a set. Wouldn't that be nice? I'll continue to write the two because I've discovered that writing one scene in one story triggers the next scene in the other. It's kind of like watching a movie, we watch this couple do this and then we go and see that couple do that. It works and my word count is growing so I'm not going to fight it even though I really want to just write one.

So what are my words of wisdom today? Write what you feel. If you're not feeling it no one else will either. I'd go back to the passion for the story thing I'm always carrying on about but, well I'm always carrying on about it. LOL Put you fingers to the keys and feel the story. Write whatever comes to mind, even if it's utter crap and doesn't make it out of the first draft it doesn't matter. Just get the words flowing. The more you write about your characters and story the more you learn about them, the closer you get to them, so it's not a waste to write four chapters of backstory only to have them never appear in the finished ms. They're essential to learning and feeling your story.

And remember, this is about you and your goal, not me and mine, or Joe Blogs and his. It's your story, your goal, your dream. Chase it!


1 comment:

Sandie Hudson said...

Well said RC, yes I'm a slack butt and only now catching up with the posts on the blog.

See ya.