Sunday, October 11, 2009

Probably My Final Post of the Evening

Because I just don't have anything else to say about the last few days.

Last night, I wrote. It wasn't outlining, or sketching, or character development, or anything. I just wrote. And I'm pretty sure it was crap. But I don't really care. I wrote.

I realized something about myself as a writer. My books are always crap for the first 1 or 2 chapters. That's because I haven't "met" my characters yet. My character is still me, and whatever I happen to be feeling in the moment, told in the context of whatever plot I have come up with.

I have to get beyond the first couple of chapters before I find my voice. I have to wait to get to know my characters. Once I'm into chapter 3, I'm hitting my stride, and I know my character well enough to write her as though she is another person, not me being cool or me being petty or me being interesting or me being something that I'm not, because I've never traveled through time or been a high school cheerleader or overdosed on heroin or done any one of a number of different things that one of my characters might do.

After I get to know my character, once voice develops, it's there, and I don't forget it. So what I have to remember to do is go back and rewrite my first few chapters in the voice that I developed over the course of the book. Only then will it be an acceptable piece of writing.

This is what discouraged me so much in the past. The fact that I knew I could write, but everything I wrote was such total garbage when I read it 2 or 3 days after writing it. Now I have finally matured enough as a writer to know how to get beyond those first few disappointing pages, and how to recover from it and move forward.

I wish I had learned that before I sent out massive partials to a few people, but oh well. Maybe they'll somehow get to chapter 3 and realize that there really is something there.

I wrote about 1,000 words in my WIP, which I'll call TRP. I'm going to try to reign myself in and not write more than about 80,000 words this time. I can write 10K words on a good night. If I buckle down, could I possibly be done in 80 days? If some dude can travel around the world that fast, you'd think I could write a nice YA in that amount of time.

Which reminds me, when I was younger I totally wanted to set off on an adventure called "Around the World on 80 Bucks." My older brother talked me out of it. I didn't expect him to be the sensible one. I guess he never fails to surprise me. He spent most of his life on hard core drugs; now he's a college math professor. Sometimes people do reel themselves back in. But anyway! I think its too late for adventures of that variety for me, but maybe I could turn that into a story when TRP is done.......

1 comment:

  1. At least you only write like that for two chapters. I basically "vomit" on the page then go back later and fix. I do have flashes of brilliance occasionally, but that is why I consider myself to be a scene sewer.

    The point is, I totally stole the "vomit" thing from another YA author, and I have heard it from other pubbed authors as well. You want to get the story on the page and worry about particulars later. You can't fix something if it isn't even written.

    My first MS I wrote in about a month. I really ripped through it. It ended up being 298 pages. After I went through and revised it the first time, it was up past 400. I still think it's word vomit, but I let myself off because it was my first.

    Some people can get it down perfectly the first time. I'm not that lucky.

    I'm glad you puzzled this one out. It would be horrible for you to give up on your dream. Instead you learned something new about yourself.