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.
Long story short: now I’ve got one helluva shitty first draft and all my characters worked against my original plans. Score!
Welcome to the RESPECT THE PROCESS 30-day challenge where we stop being Demandy Dan’s and let our WIP’s do all the work
I have a fear of wasting my time.
I have a fear of writing a story so poorly, everyone will think, “damn, I could’ve done better than that!”
I have fears that extend far out into the ether, but you know what?
All my fears have ever done is hold me the fuck back and make me question my gut instincts, my natural intuition!
I knew half a month ago that I should’ve cancelled my first draft.
I knew half a month ago that I had written myself into a very interesting corner and needed to reassess my approach to this novel.
But did I listen to me?
And so here I am, staring down the start of a second draft that I don’t feel ready for, wondering where it went so wrong. And you know what I realized?
Everything went wrong when I decided to dictate how my story ought to play out.
RESPECT THE PROCESS 30-DAY CHALLENGE
Here’s the deal, crew: this is a solo mission, a self-discovery mission, a mission in willpower, love, and creative humility.
Please treat it with kindness and respect for yourself and what you create. Allow storylines to unfold however you naturally conceive them.
Do not stop yourself from writing whatever scenarios your mind conjures up! This is about freedom of expression and letting your subconscious take over the show.
Write With Love
Take care to love your process and your brain. There’s no need to put down your creativity, just let it flow in love and merriment!
Any time you find yourself struggling to unravel a scene or trying to answer a question, walk away. This process is about learning to listen to your inner storyteller. If it isn’t talking, you shouldn’t be writing.
Hear ye, hear ye! Sometimes (and by sometimes I mean possibly always) you should let your story unfold as it likes, rain or shine, crazy or sane
The oddest quirk I’ve noticed about writing a piece of fiction is how deep the subconscious will connect and expose plot points without me even consciously realizing it.
But that doesn’t happen when I’m stubbornly trying to figure out the best route for each and every conflict. No! Of course not! Wouldn’t want to be in control of anything, now would I?
Nope. Instead, my subconscious only comes out to play when I let go of what I think should happen and allow my brain to, in a sense, think for itself.
And I’m starting to think that’s the ticker. The key to writing novels with ease and enthusiasm (my primary objective at this point in time) is to let the novel write itself first and foremost.
But what do you do if you’ve already written a crappy first draft with having been unwilling to let the story play out in its own way?
On the positive side, I have a sloppy but complete first draft. I have ample character arcs, backstories and motivations squared away. In essence, I have everything before me at my disposal, ready to work.
On the realistic side, most of what I wrote in my first draft is worthless.
So instead of diving into what I already wrote with the intention of fixing it up, I’m diving into a fresh draft and scrapping what I can from the first.
I’m also giving myself a week off from my WIP to wrap my head around any changes that need to be made.
It’s day 39 and I’ve got myself a first draft…let’s see what comes of it in round two!