I thought maybe I was just trying really hard to avoid Christmas by thinking about New Year’s Goals, but Sylvia’s on the same wavelength as I am (everyone feel badly for Sylvia, maybe?) — but she started fun new goal topics on her message board. And the rest of this post ties in to that, so be patient.
First,Alison Kent’s recent posts about the way she writes, the plotting, the fast writing in order to stay in the moment, etc, all hit home last night as I was attempting to reconstruct the plot on a story I’d started about six months ago. Actually, it started to hit home after Larissa stopped Christmas caroling / harassing me long enough to give a fantastic crit on the story. She made excellent points about changing the hero’s motivation in the second chapter, and then she wrote, “I understand why he’s faking amnesia.”
Light bulb moment. I had to email her and ask her why my character was faking amnesia, because damned if I could remember.
See, I’d gotten into this mindset of, why continue to finish books when I don’t have a contract? I know I can finish a book and I know I can do it fast. Really fast. And I have about four completed mss hanging around waiting to go out, plus four other mss halfway done, plus tons of partials completed.
That mindset might work FOR A PLOTTER. Because a plotter could walk away from them for months at a time and then walk up to her pretty storyboards or snowflakes or whatever and pick up right where she left off. (then again, there’s the whole, you get better with every book you write thing too, which I’d totally ignored in my mindset. Here comes the excuse: I was writing. Partials, though. Not completes. Excuses done – resume regularly scheduled reading please)
I, on the other hand, have five million yellow pads strewn around the house. Not one for each story, mind you, but notes for different stories on the same page with just a simple line in between to differentiate between the stories. Plus tons of word docs labled things like, jakescenesdec. Not so helpful.
So here’s the thing…I need to finish books if I’m not willing to plot. That doesn’t mean I need to finish them picture perfect polished, revised, etc. But I do need to have the beginning, middle, and end. I have to concentrate on that book alone, and I think I can do that if I throw myself into the book for a set period of time, like one month per book (rough draft, folks). And then I can do the pretty sticky note plotting board as I’m writing, and that way, any scenes I don’t end up writing during that period of time will be duly noted. Then I will have some kind of map when I go back to write the final draft.
Or maybe, just maybe, I will have some kind of kick my ass publishing contract/deadline so I won’t have to make these little deals with the devil for myself. But until then, the writers on Sylvia’s message board will have to do the whipping into shape for me. And deal with the whining. And there will be lots of that.
And this card is just for Larissa.