I’ve got a book due very soon and not a lot of it written. In fact, as I’m writing this about a month or so before it will post, I’m really really hoping that a lot more of it will be written by today when you read this. But I did have something of an epiphany last night and I thought I’d share it with you.
I have a sign by my computer that says “Abandon All Standards and Write Fast.” I try to follow that motto when drafting because frankly, I revise well. But I can’t revise what’s not on the page and so I try to dump out the story as quickly as I can so that I capture it. This also has the bonus of letting my lizard brain really play. It also has the bonus of allowing me to keep most of the story in my head all at once so that I don’t forget things. Additionally, having something actually all written makes me feel productive and also cuts the deadline panic factor down.
So all that sounds very good, except for the fact that the doing of it is much harder than it sounds. In actuality, abandoning standards isn’t so easy. Because I write something and for whatever reason, I know it doesn’t fit, or I know it doesn’t satisfy me entirely, and I want to put in what’s missing or fix it. now in particular, and this brings me to my epiphany, is that one of the things that I’ve been struggling with is making sure that this book has the emotional depth and characterization that I want it to have. That part is critical. So as I’ve been writing, I’ve been slowing down in order to layer in the emotional and the characterizations.
Here’s the epiphany–ready for it?
I shouldn’t do that. I should just write the action.
Now on the one hand, that seems like an atrocious idea. I mean, without character depth, the book will be crap. Except. I can and WILL expand on character reactions and thoughts once I have the action laid out. Right now, I want to capture the world and the ambience and of course there will be characterization in there. But the fact is that by worrying too much about how people are feeling or reacting or etc., I’m not actually writing. I’m staring at the screen and overthinking. So I’m about to head out and write. Right now.
So that’s what I’ve hopefully been doing between when I’m actually writing this and when this actually posts. I’ll do my best to slip in here and post a report on what I’ve accomplished. At the point of writing this, I have only a chapter and a half written. That’s a horrible confession. Especially given that this is due in January. So by the time this posts, I hope to have it least half written, if not more. I will let you know.
And once last bit of Shameless Self Promotion. My book, Shadow City, is coming out at the end of the month. It’s the third in my Horngate Witches series, which is totally fabulous and exciting (would I lie?). You can read chapters from all of them at my website and I’m hoping (begging really) that you think about them for your Christmas shopping pleasure.