Keep On Keepin’ On

Today I had a minor setback (also apparently I can’t spell anymore, as the first version of that sentence came out “toady I had a minor stepack”).

I realized that I had written a scene that did nothing to advance the plot forward.

In it, our intrepid Princess was very hungry, thought about food for a while, and then they came across a house and ate dinner and slept and kept travelling.

…I’m not kidding.

Doesn’t that sound boring? It was. There was no conflict! There was nothing important happening! It was not, to borrow a word from my friend Tami Moore, Plotcritical.

My reaction was to have a total panic attack and convince myself that I’d wasted a day of writing and I should delete everything. Continue reading

I Don’t Write Fiction Like I Write Essays

Last night was a night of discovery.

No, seriously. I know that “waiting for your muse to inspire you” is a delaying tactic, that the very idea of a writing muse is nothing more than a comforting author’s myth (if you can’t think of something good, it’s not your fault – your muse isn’t behaving!). But.

If we posit that muses are real…I was visited big time last night.

Princess

Princess, despite only being four scenes (more or less) right now, has an ending and an epilogue. Yup.

Also I had a much, much better idea regarding the mythology of my world. I had originally planned for the magic to stem from some wellspring source, that was discovered by a group of explorers, and then some things happened that I won’t mention because spoilers, even with the changes I’ve made, and the people who are reading this blog are probably also the people who will be reading Princess. Then for hundreds of years there was magic everywhere and wars and bad things I will also not mention because spoilers, until finally a bunch of people cast a spell that prevented everyone from using their magic. Except it didn’t go quite as planned.

BUT. I decided to do away with the first event entirely for two reasons: 1) It made things overly complicated and 2) it was too much like Mistborn (I hadn’t read Well of Ascension or Hero of Ages yet when I came up with the idea).

So yes. The new way is much better, even if none of you can properly appreciate it because I won’t fully explain 🙂

I also thought up some snatches of dialogue for the sequels – one for the second book, and one for either the end of the second or the middle of the third. I’m not sure because I haven’t even thought about plotting them yet. But I wrote them down, so I wouldn’t forget.

Writing Style

The other big realization I had last night was regarding my writing style.

When I write essays – say, for school – I start with the first body paragraph, write a placeholder topic sentence, and then go. Sentence following sentence, in order. When I have gotten through the conclusion, I go back and write the introduction and thesis, then refine the topic sentences so that they flow/mesh with the thesis/accurately reflect what’s in the paragraph.

But the general thrust is beginning-to-end, with very little editing. My first drafts are pretty much final drafts. If I’ve done my research and know generally what I want the paragraph to say, I can pretty much just sit down and go.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how I’m able to do this. Firstly, I had really great training in middle and high school. Secondly, I’ve had a lot of practice.

I can’t write fiction this way.

First of all, a novel is a different beast from an essay. It’s much bigger, for one. You have to balance different types of writing, like action and description and dialogue.  It’s a different entity, and a more complicated one.

It’s also one I haven’t practiced as much.

All of that means that I can’t sit down and write a first draft of a novel that reads more-or-less like a final draft. It’s not going to happen. Maybe one day, but not now.

What was the point of all that rambling?

I hereby give myself permission to not worry about writing in a polished manner. I will write scenes as mostly dialogue and skip descriptions for later. I will leave things in square brackets and use all the adverbs I want. I will not worry about repeated reactions (every reaction is either a smile or a frown) and just leave them as placeholders and WORRY ABOUT IT LATER!

I have MOMENTUM! I will USE IT!

CHARGE!

Okay, sorry, I’m getting a little punchy. I shall go make myself breakfast. And then write. Messily.

Cookies! (and Newton’s 1st law)

Oh WOW have I been bad. It’s been nearly a month since I graced my (non-existent I’m sure) audience with my presence!

To be fair, I have been trying to adjust to this whole college-living-on-my-own-HEY-THAT’S-A-LOT-OF-READING-what-I-have-an-essay-due-already? dynamic, plus NUTCRACKER HAS STARTED.

Nutcracker is my life.

But Nutcracker is for another post (Tomorrow? Maybe if I alternate nut posts with writing posts I’ll be on here more – I LOVE talking about nut). Right now I want to focus on another idea – momentum.

“Inertia is the death of creativity. You have to keep moving, keep making. So much of making art is muscle memory, keeping your routine…”

I stole this from somewhere on this website, I think, and if I didn’t go look at the website anyway cause it’s cool. I read that and thought YES. That is the crux of the problem, isn’t it? Inertia. Objects at rest tend to stay at rest. (Little mini physics lesson there)

I was doing so well with my whole 750 words thing. I was writing every day. And then, I missed a day because I went out to dinner with some family friends and didn’t get back until 1 in the morning.

The next day, I didn’t write.

I thought, it’s okay that I miss another day, I’ve already broken my streak, I can start back tomorrow.
Guess what happened the next day?

It’s hard to keep doing something, day after day, but it’s even harder to stop and then start again. It’s easy to stop doing something and then keep not doing it. What a vicious cycle…

But today, I’m BREAKING THE CYCLE!

You ask, skeptically, (or maybe you don’t, but for the sake of argument let’s say you do):

“What makes today different from any other day?”

Two reasons. One, I’ve acknowledged my problem and consciously decided to change my pattern of behavior. Two, I’m bribing myself with cookies 🙂

The Upside to Regular Writing

First though: my outline is getting LOOONGGGG. As in, approaching 4 pages and it will probably end up closer to 5. There are scenes that I’m coming up with that I am practically SALIVATING to write. I can’t wait for NaNo!!!

Ok, so upsides to regular fiction writing:
-your writing improves
-your brain recharges on something totally unrelated to your real life
-it becomes easier to write other things.

Like, school things. Like, lab reports and essays (well, I haven’t tried an analytical one yet this year but we’ll see). Now, don’t get me wrong. Working every day on writing the Great American Novel is not going to suddenly make you understand molar ratios. But if you already understand molar ratios, it will make it easier to quickly write a coherent discussion.

Today I wrote my discussion and finished up my lab report in 40 minutes. It was excellent.

So let me introduce you to my good friend Bochok.
BOCHOK: Butt On Chair, Hands On Keyboard. Let’s see some writing!