Thursday, August 21, 2014

Goals and Sticking With a Plot Written in Stone

Sitting here at Panera right now, working on rewrites and realized that I had my hero doing something before he knew he could do it. Had to go a bit backwards again but as I've said before, that's what rewrites are all about.

I've done more reading recently than actual writing. Still trying to get the hang of active description. It's also ragweed season and it hasn't left me as untouched as I would prefer. Feeling bad like this makes it hard to concentrate on writing. To concentrate on pretty much everything, really. I'm so looking forward to that first hard frost.

This brings me to the idea that I have to feel perfectly good in order to write. It's probably a lie that I tell myself when I think I can't write when I'm tired. I'm tired right now but I've done a bit of writing tonight so I know I can power through that feeling when my brain is too fuzzy to cooperate. 

My brain is kind of fuzzy at the moment. Once I got the addition done to a previous scene that introduces this new talent for my hero, my mind decided it had done enough. 

I can remember when I first began writing how I would sit down in the evening and keep at it until the small  hours of the morning and feel as if I'd only been writing for a few minutes. Lost a lot of sleep during those years. It can still happen now, just not as often as I would like. Now, I supposed it could be said that I write in chunks of time. I've read that in one of the books I have on how to be productive. Writing in smaller chunks of time instead of marathon writing sessions was a suggestion that really resonated with me.

If I know I only have a short amount of time in which to finish a particular scene, I do tend to write in stream of consciousness mode instead of allowing my inner editor to correct as I go along. That is kind of what I've been doing with this novella. I've told my inner critic that it's ok for me to just go at it without considering things like dialogue tags, perfect grammar or even descriptive text. All that can be changed or added later. I just want to get the basic story elements down so the thing is done. So far, my editor has been good at that but she will let me know now when I'm leaving a plot hole behind, like she did tonight. 

Like most writers, I have so many projects started but not finished. One in particular is one I've been working on since 1995. It's current version bears very little resemblance to what I first wrote. Even the main characters are different from when they were first born. They're older and he's definitely much more likable than I originally created him. 

The reason that one isn't what I would call finished is because I kept getting these great ideas for plot elements that usually completely changed how the story progressed. Still have a habit of trying to change things whenever I work on that one. 

With this current project, I have had moments where an idea will come to me that this could happen or that could happen but happily, I have resisted those ideas. I have made the conscious decision that the plot of the first draft is written in stone. All that can change now are the minor elements that help the plot flow more smoothly and move forward. 

So far, I've been able to stick to that conscious decision. Here's hoping I can keep doing that. If I can, I anticipate completing this second draft by the end of September. I am taking vacation time the week of Labor Day and I hope to get some good writing time in then. The end goal is to have this novella up on Amazon for Kindle sometime during the first quarter of 2015.

I think I have finally learned that it's helpful to have goals. Those goals have definitely helped me to stay on track this time around.

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