Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Oy & Vey

There comes a time in the life of every creative person where they look at the product they have created and are 100% sure it is utter crap and they are wasting their lives.

I know you're not surprised to learn that I had that moment. In fact, as the book draws to a close, I am besieged by more and more moments like that. Will my ending be satisfying? Will I have drawn together all the necessary threads that I had so much fun casting into the ether? Can I even draw together those threads successfully? Will my readers believe it?

I'm a pantser. I didn't know I was a pantser until I went to my first RWA meeting, but I knew I wasn't a plotter. I am the sort that sits down with pen and paper (yes, really) and allows my characters to tell me what they want to do and how they plan to get there. Some things are as much a surprise to me as I hope they will be to my readers.

Through the course of writing this book I have discovered that I cannot tell my characters what to do, because then they stop talking to me and nothing gets written. It's actually a great way to write. Very fun, very engaging and you get to know your characters very well. What isn't great though is that at the end of the book, where a smart plotter would know exactly where to go and how they've gotten there, a pantser is standing in the middle of a roundabout watching the cars whizz by in all directions and hoping the one she jumps on will take her to the right exit.

You know what else isn't fun? When the pantser realizes that some of the elements she'd included early on need to be changed. Timing needs to be lengthened, the big reveal needs to be a smaller reveal, because a bigger reveal is waiting just around the pike. That accident where everyone was going to be fine? Not so much - now peeps lives are in jeopardy.

I was trying to explain it to a friend of mine, and I'm not sure she got it, but I'm going to try again here. It's like when you're at work, and you've completed a project, your supervisor is satisfied with your work, and the client is too - but here's the thing - that route you took to get from A to B? We need you to take a different one. No, no, no, we're happy with where you started at A, and we're thrilled with where you ended at B, but that part in the middle where you zigged, we're going to need you to go back and zag. And yes, we realize that one zag will require you to change the direction of all the rest of your moves in the middle, but it's really quite essential. Thanks.

I knew editing would be an essential part of the writing process, I was even looking forward to it. But I was kind of hoping it would wait until the book was finished. Now, though, because of the 100% Pure Crap conviction I have slapped on myself, the desire to edit and fix all my mistakes is getting in the way of my writing.

They say that every book is written at least twice. I was hoping to write this one once first.

Currently reading: Fortune's Vengeful Groom
Just finished reading: Wolf Tales

Just finished reading: Immortal in Death

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