Forging Ahead

I am (rather painfully) getting back to work on my WIP (BRINY DEEP).
The final copy edits of ASHES,ASHES have gone back to the publisher. FIERCE is in the capable hands of my agent.
My parents have been here for the last 3 weeks. Prior to that I was unpacking after our big move.
It’s been a busy summer.
I’ve written about 11,000 words so far. It’s always slow-going for me at the beginning because even though I’m working with an outline there is much I don’t know yet. I know my MC well (and fun new quirks are appearing every day), I know the basic plot, I have sketches for the rest of the characters, and a pretty clear sense of what I want to happen, how I want my MC to change, the climactic points, but some of it is still a mystery.
This is how I approach writing a new book. It is not entirely methodical. And others do it differently.
I make lots of notes.
I walk miles.
I think about my MC almost all the time.
I write at least 1000 words a day. Some times more, but never less.
My mother-in-law is coming in 10 days and I aim to have doubled my word count by the time she gets here.
Today I wrote about 1600 words because tomorrow is a busy day and I wanted to be ahead.
They were hard words to find and pin down. I felt the pace suffer. I was annoyed by my inability to find my –ummm- groove. Often this is how writing is. Sad fact, but the days when words are winged and soar are few and far between. Most of the time they (and me) are stuck here on the ground, hunting , searching, pawing over a barren soil and coming up empty-handed.
It can be almost excruciatingly painful to string together the simplest sentence.
I know I may well cut all of them but I don’t worry about that right now. I ignore the voices.
Oh yes, there are voices. The kind that tell me I should be ashamed to pass myself off as a writer. “I mean seriously. You couldn’t compose a shopping list to save your life.” Sometimes they just moan “pathetic” over and over again or groan sepulchrally.
My inner voice sounds a lot like a Shakespearean actor. It quivers with barely withstood anguish and disappointment.
I ignore it as much as I am able.
I’m just trying to get the story down. 1000 words each day.
I know many of you edit as you go along.
Sometimes I do, but mostly I don’t. I immediately get rid of words or sentences that are abysmally bad but for the most part I let them lie as they lie.
The better part of writing is in the revision. I know that I’ll have time (and time and time) to go over each word and fix it later, but I can’t really do that until the whole, ungainly mess of a book is laid out in front of my horrified eyes like a corpse on a table.
You think this is an overwrought comparison?
It isn’t to me.
The book will look like a spilling of body parts, dismembered, bloody awful. I’ll pick up a section of flab here, a tangle of visceral metaphor there, and I will be appalled. But I will take out my knife (Oh yes, my knife, and oh yes, it is sharp and ruthless and subtle) and I will cut and pare until I have something pretty to look upon.
I admit to watching too many episodes of Dexter back to back.
Now that I am completely disgusted and glad to be a vegetarian I will leave you. I have 1200 words for the day and they are coming with a quickness and ease that I can never take for granted.
How do you get down your first draft? Slow and sure? Or in a big sloppy rush?

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4 Responses to Forging Ahead

  1. Jill Kemerer says:

    Wonderful post. You captured the ups and downs of the process. The fact each day is different. The difficulty in finding the groove while life pulses around us. Thank you for sharing this.

    And congrats on getting the final edits of one book in, the other book to your agent, and forging forward with the new one!

  2. Donna Hosie says:

    Great post!

    I'm an edit freak. Every chapter is rewritten several times before I move onto the next one, and every five chapters I go back again. Everyone finds their own groove eventually.

  3. Jo Treggiari says:

    It is indeed different for everyone and the end result is pretty much the same.
    Have you submitted your manuscript, Donna or are you waiting for September?