Friday, October 29, 2010

It Never Happens the Same Way Twice

I had hoped to be done with my 4th book this coming Sunday. At this point, I think it's safe to say I'm NOT going to meet that goal. I'm a little disappointed in myself, but overall, not so much.

There were a lot of times in the past three weeks when I chose to do other activities instead of writing. I went to visit friends. I went to the NC State Fair. I carved a pumpkin (this takes longer than one might think). I had fun and tried to actually EXPERIENCE the autumn a little bit. It's hard to do that when you're cooped up inside a "cave" attached to a computer.

Don't get me wrong. I did put in a lot of writing hours. I worked hard. It's just that inspiration didn't come as easily as I'd hoped. It still came.

Even though I probably won't meet my goal of having a rough draft completed by Sunday, I still have a LOT of it done. There are parts I know I'm going to have to rewrite. In fact, I'm toying with the idea of just pausing in the writing of this book to go back and fix things. Generally, I'm one to just say "Get the rough draft done, and then go back and edit." But I'm learning that writing is a process that can never be duplicated exactly.

In May, I wrote a 75K word book in less than 2 weeks. I don't know if I'll ever be able to do that again. It was just something that happened (because I lost my mind for two weeks and was possessed by a fictional character--it was awesome). I can't duplicate the process.

And as I go back and look at the three books (2 of which are still rough drafts) I've completed, I realize that I've written all three of them very differently. The first one took me about seven years to finally complete (and two more years to edit to my satisfaction). It went through many changes in those seven years as I went through changes in my life (college, heartache, life, work, etc.). It is a true first book, one that grew up with me. The second book took me about 2-3 years to complete from conception to completion, but I forced myself to finish that one by making it into a serial novel for my friends to read. I'm glad I went that route, even though now I'm left with a 32 chapter monstrosity that needs major editing, and I have no idea when I'm going to get to that. My third book just flowed out of me (I really need to write more in first person!).

With this book, number four, well, I don't know. I tried to force it, but it won't be forced. It's kind of like a stubborn child that wants to be developed in its own way and in its own time. I think that it's going to need some coddling. I think I'm going to have to go back and coax the storyline and characters along before continuing to the end.

And it's okay. I'm not really that upset about not making my goal. I'm still going to strive for it, but not to the point of driving myself crazy. In other words, the computer gets turned off when I'm too tired to keep typing. If I'm not done at that point, then I'm not done.

My one regret in all of this is that the other night I turned down a friend who offered to take me to see dead bodies. My excuse was that I needed to write. I didn't write well that night, AND I missed out on seeing dead bodies. I mean, right now I'm not working on any stories involving knowledge of modern dead body facilities, but you NEVER know when that kind of knowledge might come in handy.


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