Writing fiction novels for a living out of thin air is ridiculous, much like galloping through a field atop what’s essentially an over-sized dog with no natural desire to take you anywhere just because you said you’d like to go and go now. It’s absurd I tell you! Crazy, even! Like, how flight travel is even a thing, crazy. Like, the length of time it took to get the world to precisely where it is today, crazy. Like, how do our bodies being mostly water even make any sense, crazy! And yet, galloping horses through fields I do; quit my job to write fiction novels for the rest of my days, I feel compelled. So, how do I feel about having fallen off of my metaphorical Noveldom steed in 2018? Egotistically bruised, but otherwise feeling quite chipper!
What I didn’t realize, was that I was playing with a serious lover. Every twist and turn of my mind moved like a chainsaw through a box of chocolates, unintentionally ripping through my creation as if it were nothing. It took me 157 days to see it, but now I understand: this is no mere fling I’m playing with…
I didn’t just miss my deadline. I waltzed right past it as if I didn’t know it by heart. As if it were a figment of my imagination, an imaginary friend I dare not confess to know for fear of what the neighbors might think…
I’ll be the first to admit that I drop the ball like a hot fucking skillet whenever I’m presented with: a) quality friend time, b) vacation mode, and/or c) pizza. Anyone reading this blog will immediately notice that I’ve missed quite a load of time in the last three weeks. That would be due to dilemma A, quality friend time. But no matter! With another friend on the way, AT THE SAME TIME AS THE ONE THAT’S CURRENTLY STAYING WITH US, I woke up this morning realizing that I needed to seriously get my shit together.
What. The. SHIT!? My friend showed up at our place on June 12th for an extended visit (a visit I was privy to and thought I’d be able to work through) and ever since then I’ve struggled to write consistently for Snowe Storms, this blog, my social media accounts…et al. It’s day 65 and I’m still only six chapters into my second draft. With a 90-day schedule looming over me, I’m beginning to wonder: have I bit off more than I can chew?
I had made the same CLASSIC mistake that almost all of us new novelists make (unless you have a college degree in Creative Writing and you happen to be more honest towards your writing than Spock was to Captain Kirk): I clung to sentences, paragraphs, chapters, and characters that/who didn’t belong in my story.
So there I was, staring down an empty document, wondering how my mind would take off into the distance when, suddenly, it dawned on me. YEESSSSS, I murmured into the darkness of 6AM as my fingertips danced across my backlit keyboard, fashioning words into sentences as fast as my mind could deliver. Come to me, precious! Tell me all your tales!
I have an unusual habit of telling my WIP, my main characters, EVEN MYSELF, exactly how my novel should play out, regardless of if anything feels off, sounds weird, doesn’t jive, or otherwise sucks all the mayonnaise. And this habit of mine, well, it’s made it so I just finished a first draft for my second novel…but it’s an absolute nightmare of a first draft that ought’ve been stopped for the sake of my own sanity instead of followed through like a deranged raccoon seeking out all the trash treats.
Dames and dudes, I’m gonna be real up front about this: I’ve got an addiction to perfectionism. And as I made my way past chapter twenty today, I realized it was either going to slow down my progress on finishing this first draft (REFUSE!) or I was going to have to find a way to tame that strange until it could serve a legitimate purpose in the future.
Month one of writing my second novel, Snowe Storms, went much the way a menstrual cycle typically does, and by that I mean, it did not go according to plan. In fact, the more I think about it, so much of May was relatable to a whack-ass period, it was eerie. Gory to look at? Check. Late on deadlines? Check. Uncomfortable and, at times, painful? Check, check.
One of these days, I’ll take heed of my husband’s sage advice when he warns me against biting off more than I can chew, but until then, BRING ON THE PEANUTS, I CAN FIT THEM ALL, I SWEARS IT!
It’s official! I’m in the thick of the Writer’s Trench, throwing down my first draft! A few days ago, I realized I needed to get out of my own head and just do the damn thing. But, if you recall, I still couldn’t get the juices flowing. So on DAY 23, I randomly decided to move my office space around and BAM…flood gates opened.
I’ve been pretty up front about it: I’ve been in a writing funk for the better part of three weeks now. Outline done, rough draft under way, I suddenly found myself stuck after chapter ten. Chapter ten! My novel is resting at thirty chapters in my outline, so getting thrown off my tracks in chapter ten was not a good sign. And while I had lightly worked my way through my slump over the last week or so, I still wasn’t running at full capacity.
Full disclosure: I’m not even a fan of the Jack Reacher series. But damn if I’m not jealous of Lee Child’s self-proclaimed “stroke-inducing” writing style of blindly pantsing his way through each novel! Ever since I wrote my FIRST novel, I’ve dreamed of being able to pants my way through a story, allowing it to not only unfold before my very eyes as I create it, but reveal that it’s phenomenal as is in the first draft.
There’s nothing worse than finishing your first novel and finding out from your beta readers that the entire plot is predictable AF. It almost feels like there’s no coming back from that. Like, the amount of work it would take to recreate your plot into a sensational piece of work would be an unbearable misery you couldn’t possibly endure.
Just when I think I’ve learned my lesson in gung-ho enthusiasm, I realize all I’ve really learned is to call the beast by its name. Unfortunately, learning what your setback is and having the awareness to call it out doesn’t alleviate the issue, it only labels it.
And here I thought I was getting somewhere! Here I thought I’d made it through the Dunes without delay! Turns out, a rough draft the likes of which I’m trying to create is still very much a process of development and outlining. Alas, I was merely in a dip between the Dunes; an ebb and flow of the development topography, if you will.
When I first started writing novels, I wasn’t sure how to get to know my characters; in fact, I didn’t even bother. I would just start writing and see what interesting information fell out of the woodwork. But then I learned about character interviews and how beneficial it is to know all of your character’s nitty, gritty details when it comes to writing them full-bodied…
What does it look like when you miss a day of marathon writing your rough draft and need (read: want) to play catch up? Like a strung out, wannabe lucha libre wrestler hell-bent on proving a point, but also determined to take a break for tacos sometime between rounds three and four.
This morning, I was sitting on down to two chapters of Snowe Storms, each one having taken me a day to put together and each one no more than a thousand words of trash. But, as I rounded out my evening of writing about my reindeer-hilted knife-wielding heroine, I looked up to see that I was storming into chapter five! CHAPTER FIVE!!!
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