After a very long stint of editing and rewriting, I am back to writing daily again (no, not as part of NaNoWriMo).
I’ve learned a few things from my first time around, and now I’m just writing as much as I can as fast as I can. The goal at this point is to get things down, to have something to work with later as most of the work will happen in the first and second draft anyway. So long as the bones and most of the body are there, I’m fine. This means that I’m no longer sweating details like times, names of things and exact locations. I just highlight them and will work around them, leaving those decisions for a later draft, when I have a much better idea of what the story needs.
I’m also using Scrivener’s bookmarks from the start to document which characters, places and important objects appear in which chapter. I highly recommend that you do so, because it allows you to make significant changes in later drafts more easily. That’s how I changed the name of one of my main characters in my previous novel. Just add characters and places notes in different text notes under “Characters” and “Places”, and then using the Inspector, add an internal bookmark.
I just finished the third draft of my novel! There’s another, short polishing round I need to do on a few sections that I added, and then I’ll start working on getting this in the hands of beta readers.
There were some massive plot holes that I had to fix and made for a challenging draft, but the overall narrative is so much better and tighter now, and my characters also grew in the process, so I’m very happy overall. It was totally worth the effort, though it was quite a slog to rewrite so much at this stage.
I haven’t written pretty much anything (beyond daily journaling) for almost a month and a half. Some of it was traveling — I spent most of November abroad — some of it was just loss of momentum.
Today for the first time in a long while I just sat down and wrote. I started working on a new short story, part of what I hope will be a collection of short stories, and the words just flowed. 646 of them. The story is far from finished, but I have a good foundation for it. And then I sat down and finished rewriting my novel’s second chapter.
Now, I’ve been dragging my feet with this chapter from the moment I realized that I would have to rewrite it after I had seemingly finished editing it. It’s depressing to have to go back and scrap so much of what you have already written, and I was letting that feeling get in the way of my overall progress.
The good news is that I seem to have come up with at least one strategy to get over my editing and rewriting slump and that is to write something fresh. Once I start writing, it’s much easier to get myself editing, and I’m more motivated to push through to the end.
So even though I need to focus on finishing one work, and not jump from one piece to the next, it is sometimes useful to take a break and indulge in working on a new idea, if only to stop languishing on an old one.
Super busy week at work, which means that I’m doing more overtime than I planned. This translates to less writing time, I’m afraid, but it is still better than nothing. The first sufferer will have to be this blog, because my fiction writing takes precedence over almost everything else these days.
I have finished the basics of my touch typing course and am now simply touch typing, improving my speed, and making sure not to fall into old habits (such as typing with only a few fingers, or glancing every now and then to my keyboard). I have learned to dislike QWERTY, but I’m not yet certain that I want to start learning Colemak at this point.
Anyway, here are a few interesting and useful links that I have gathered over the week:
One Paragraph, Three Drafts – author Diane Chamberlain goes over her (re)writing process using a single paragraph. I find it interesting to watch authors go through their revision process, especially since so few of them are willing to reveal it.
Why Your Attention Span is a Great Excuse for Someone Else’s Failure – a fresh look on some recent eBook (not) reading trends statistics.
Henry Miller’s 11 Commandments of Writing and Daily Creative Routine – short, powerful, succinct words of advice from the author of Tropic of Cancer.
Stephen King on How to Be A Great Writer – this article is this week’s gem. 22 bits of advice from Stephen King on how to become a better writer.