April 22nd, 2010

Post ImageI didn't realize how long it's been since I gave a book update. That was early January, just after I hit a wall near the end of the first draft. Shortly after that, I abandoned that draft. It was not only good, it was good enough (which is a code word we writers use for "total crap"). As I mentioned then (and I'll really try not to rehash this point too much) the story was just plain boring. It contained more plod than plot and had an ending so infinitesimally pointless that I decided I needed a reboot.

And so there I was: back on the synopsis. I needed to tear it apart, figure out what was wrong, and put it all back together properly. This was a very painful and drawn out exercise---but very necessary. Writing with your heart (first draft) is easy. Writing with your head (second draft) is hard. This is what really separates the writers from the tire kickers.

Once I got the synopses (plural: I wrote one for each of the three books in this series) knocked into shape, I hit that other wall which has slowed me down over and over again. I call it "Starter's Block." It's when you should otherwise be fully ready to start a project, but you can't. It's hard to des cribe but for me it's always been a very difficult block to overcome. I'd love to do something about it someday (I've considered a brain transplant) but for now I'm just stuck with it.

Then came FitBloggin. I was on the road, had some time to kill, it was quiet, and I decided, "Screw it. I'm going to start writing again." And I did. I opened up a blank document and began rewriting from scratch. While this sounds more like a Second First Draft than a Second Draft, I really did use the First Draft as a guide: but I didn't want to edit what I had. It was beyond editing. I needed to write fresh.

And write I did. Between Sunday, March 21 and Sunday, March 28, 2010, I wrote 27,098 words. (Which is pretty good for one week: that's somewhere between 80 and 90 pages.) And then something happened:

Brick Wall

As happy as I was with the rewrite so far, I stepped back and it was still boring. So I decided to add a couple scenes to bring a bit of foreshadowing to the story early. One was good enough. The other stopped dead in its tracks after one paragraph. Then I spent two or three more weeks back on the synopsis. The good news is, the story improved a bit more. The bad news is, I completely lost the will to write after that. The good news is, that didn't last long, and so I was back at it this last weekend.

My only plan right now is to lose two pounds a week until . . . oh, wait a minute. Wrong post category. My only writing plan right now is to just keep writing. I've explored just about every other "non-writing" method of writing over the past eighteen years and surprisingly not a single one of them has generated even a single paragraph. So, yeah, I'll try the "writing" approach to writing this time.

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5 Responses to “Book One, Update Three”

  1. Tami says:

    Woot! Congrats on keeping writing and learning! Synopsis are a great tool.

  2. Helen says:

    Good plan. As they say, free your mind and the words will follow. (Well, I changed that a tiny bit.) Love the word count graphic!

  3. TexasDeb says:

    Have you ever participated in a workshop where a group of writers works together? I wonder if a more collaborative approach could help get you kick started? (a la if I have told somebody I will meet them someplace with this done to share with them I am 99 percent more certain to both get it done and make it there...)

    • Charlie says:

      I haven't, and that actually goes along with something I discussed at one time with Tami (above). For me, I'm actually less interested in the final product and more interested in proving something to myself: in short, that I can do this and do it on my own. And while that smacks of the stereotypical lost man who refuses to ask for directions, well, then so be it. If I fail, I fail. But if I make it, it's extremely important to me that I know I did it on my own.

  4. I've never written that many words in my life, so kudo's to you Charlie!

    I could never do what you are doing :0)