Sunday, February 03, 2008

Writer, know thyself

I am now at the point where it all died the last time – the beginning of the middle. I know what went wrong with JUNIPER – the getting stuck, and the endless rewriting of the first third of the book - and I'm determined not to make the same mistake again. And yet, I feel the gears slowing.

What's happening? I'm losing track of my plot, and I'm feeling that impulse to go back over what I've written, to refresh my memory, to make sure it makes sense. Trouble is, I don't fool me. I know what's happening here. This is starting to look like a big job, and I'm getting intimidated. I want to reassure myself that I know what I'm doing, so I think it's a good idea to go back and look at what I've written. And I know exactly what I'll do, if I go there.

I'll fiddle. I'll pick. I'll rearrange. I'll stall. I'll do anything – except tuck in my chin, put my head down, and work through the doubts.

The first part of my story is like the shallow end of the pool, and I'll wallow there indefinitely if I give myself that chance.

So I've struck a compromise. I've got out the damned cue cards, yes I have. And I've written a brief description of each scene on one, right up to the place where Part Two definitely begins. Then I put a butterfly clip on that stack of cards, and set them aside. That process was my review, and that's all there's going to be for now. No setting them out of the floor and arranging them according to the tension requirements, no organizing them to best show the development of relationships. That's it, that's all. I've got blank cards now, and it's about brainstorming the new material from this point on.

And you know what? I think it's going to be ok.


Lindsay York Levack said...

Yay! Yes! That's it! Keep your head down and keep writing. There will always be parts that need to be cleaned up and rewritten, but that's what the next draft is for.

And if the cards don't work, you could also journal (I might blog more about this) or write a synopsis. I just did a re-read of a few chapters. I allowed myself to jot notes, but not to rewrite. The reading helped, and it was easier than I thought to ignore the messy stuff.

Don't forget that once you get to the end you'll know more about the characters and story and you'll be in a better place to do the rewriting.

Keep going!

Cindy said...

Hi Lindsay,

Thank you, you're absolutely right about learning more as I get toward the end of the story - or at least that's what I'm hoping will happen! (S) The story keeps growing, anyway, and that's really the most important thing.

I'm keeping an eye on my inbox, btw...still wondering about that headmistress.

Susan Adrian said...

Yes!! Good attitude. Keep going. :)

Cindy said...

Hi Suze,
Thanks! I'm a little nervous...
(little smile)