So yay me. Basically I have two goals right now:
- Write every weekday
- Write 1k+ per session
- Monday: 1193
- Tuesday: 4938
Yeah, I typed that right. OMG, I was exhausted. It’s been such a struggle to make myself sit down and put any words on the page. There was a lot of giving up. But yesterday was the 5th weekday in a row that I was making myself sit down in the coffee shop to get something done, so maybe I’m getting warmed up.
One thing about yesterday, though, is that I skipped what I was supposed to write– Raine and Tim having a bit of a fight in front of pretty much everybody. When I sat down, I still didn’t know how that was going to go, so I decided to move on to the next thing. And the next thing was the first big reveal of our villainous element for this book. So it’s a big deal and something I’ve been kind of primed to write for at least a month (when I finally figured out how I wanted to do it). It was something I actually wanted to write, which makes a big difference.
I was soooo tired at the end of it, though. 1k-2k is usually pretty comfortable for me. The last week of writing a book I’ll have days of 5k-8k because I so desperately want to be done with it and I can see just what’s going to happen, but by that time I’ve built up some muscle. But yesterday, by the time I started to wind down to end the chapter, it felt like my brain had melted and was leaking out of my ears. So, really need to get back in shape.
Wouldn’t it be cool to write 5k per day? Write a book in a month. Not that I could put out 12 books a year, but dang, 2 would be nice, wouldn’t it?
One thing that I started doing when I started writing with Kait: working sequentially without skipping. Before that, I think I used to do a lot more jumping around and writing on inspiration–though it’s been several years now and it’s hard to remember.
Last year I was having a lot of trouble getting going on CURFEW. The front end felt really off, much like the front of end of SIEGE does. By the time I got to the middle of CURFEW, where I was writing the scenes that made me want to write the book in the first place, I decided to stop, go back and rework the front.
I know there are different schools of thought on this. I was talking to AM (do you follow @AMhairiSimpson? She’s awesome.) about this the other day. “They” always say you shouldn’t go back and continuously rework the front end of a book, never getting anywhere on the rest of it. And I totally get why that is. It’s something I’ve had to break myself of. On the other hand, it is DAMN HARD to keep moving forward when you feel like you’ve got this big mess hanging over your head that you have to clean up later. Especially when it’s a case of feeling like you have to work through how to make it RIGHT before you can move forward without digging yourself deeper into total shite.
For HUSH MONEY, I just pushed my way through, skipped very little, refused to go back rework what was already there. And that worked. But that book–that book was written by fairies. I still don’t know how that came together as fast and as well as it did.
***Going to talk about plot here. Potentially spoilery***
For CURFEW, I had to go back and fix the front end before I could really move on. There were a few scenes I pulled out and rewrote, really changing the mood. Like that fight Joss had with her dad–that needed to be angrier, and end angrier than it had when I first did it, which resulted in Joss making a different choice and me having to do minor plot fixes thereafter. I already realized I needed to do a better job setting that up, went back and made big changes to the previous scene with Joss and Gene. And, after I did that, the whole Joss/Gene plotline worked a lot better and was easier.
I went back and changed Vivian’s role in the story. Pulling her in tighter to the plot, and that changed the story itself, for the better.
I needed to go back and fix a Groundhog Day problem. It was lame to have too much talking stuff going on before school on different days. I needed to do something else in school. I had this idea I was going to send Joss to the nurse’s office and that’s where she’d run into Bella because the point was to get out that idea of why kids were willing to follow Marco, and why Joss might need to think about stepping up. Having just made decisions to change Vivian, I realized that I could introduce her here, which would bring her in even closer to the beginning, and also reintroduce Dobbs, and getting the cast introduced early on is often a good thing. Suddenly my Groundhog Day of bleh was a lot different and more interesting. It worked a lot harder.
Whew. That damn book (in fact, possibly we’ll just start calling it DAMN BOOK instead of CURFEW, not to be confused with SIEGE which we’ll call DAMN BOOK2) was still hard all the way through, for a lot of reasons, but I felt SO much better about it after that.
So all I’m saying is that sometimes it’s not good to ignore that feeling of offness because a good fix can really change things and make the later stuff more interesting.
Plus, when you FEEL like you’re facing a huge rewrite due to the piles of stinky shite you’ve left behind, it’s hard to be motivated to keep going.
I mean, at some point, you get to be the grown up and you get to judge whether you’re doing a partial rewrite because you really need it, or because it’s perfectionist procrastination that’s keeping you from moving forward. I mean, sometimes “they” are right, but they’re not the boss of you and sometimes those rules just don’t apply to you.
Anyway, I know this is getting long, but this brings me to SIEGE and the notion of skipping ahead. In a way, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to me to skip ahead because you miss some of the things your subconscious develops for you by working sequentially. But then, as I have clearly shown (okay, it was clear to me), sometimes my subconscious it a bit slow to work things out. And maybe it would work out more stuff if I let it go ahead and say okay, THESE are the points we are definitely making. Now you go figure out the best way to get from point to point while I go wash these dishes, kthxbye.
But then, what if I wrote all my favorite parts first and then I had nothing to look forward to and the rest of the book was just total drudgery?
So, does anyone do this? Skip around and write all the high points first, then go back and fill in? Does it work for you? Did you try it with horrifying, project-killer results?
Best wishes to the ROW80 crew.