Friday, September 14, 2018

Write Fast (er)

Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

My last two posts have both basically been about procrastination. It's a word you'll find a lot if you search this blog.

When procrastination (a word I apparently can no longer type at the first attempt which may indicate that I'm trying to avoid it in yet another way) is the modus operandi then you go looking for all sorts of ways of overcoming it, in a kind of back door fashion.

Perhaps I should really, really try outlining. Reads books on outlining.

Perhaps I need to write and write around all sorts of ideas and see where they take me. Lots of ideas and an inability to put them in any order. (Though this is more helpful than the first approach, and does at least let the creative side of the brain do some work.)

Perhaps I need to rewrite what I've already rewritten at least once (or twice). Yup. Just forestalls any progress in the section that I haven't written at all.

I should introduce a dragon!! Wow, great idea, and the dragon takes off and takes over all the other ideas and still doesn't seem to have an actual role to play.

Wait! Here's a thought. I could just get on and write. Phew! Radical. While trying to work through the Save the Cat beats approach (and running into a huge blank spot in Act II) I noted that Jessica Brody, who has written Save the Cat! Writes a Novel says that she can't even look at sorting out the STC beats until she's actually got to know who her characters are and what they're doing. And the only way she can do this is by writing an awful first draft. (A 'shitty' first draft, as Anne Lamott always calls it.)

Kristen Lamb in a post called Is your story stuck? says basically the same thing. She cries "STOP!" and adds, "I am a HUGE fan of fast-drafting because then we simply don’t have time to over think every step we’ve made."

She suggests three ways to move forward out of the quicksand.
1. Refuse the urge to edit. 
2. Learn to Fast Draft
3. Kill someone

I'm great at the ignoring the first suggestion, am able to do the second (although not as quickly as some writers) and haven't tried the third - in this book. Nasty, horrible people who are harming my hero/heroine have been killed off in the previous three books. And it's probable it will happen to the current antagonist. But killing off someone random? That takes a bit of guts. 
Meanwhile, here I am blogging. Instead of writing. Fast - or slowly. Procrastination is beginning to set in again (it's past time for lunch; you've got to go and see a sick uncle; the dog needs a wash - no wait, I've already done that today).
Time to wind this post up and make some progress...

Thursday, September 06, 2018


Stuck with a big hole in my plot/structure/whatever. I have a vague idea what should happen, but how everybody gets to that point is another issue.

So what happens when I strike this kind of a point? I read books on writing. Does that help? Oh, yes, it helps the writer who wrote the book on writing by providing him with a royalty, and it helps me to procrastinate, and it helps me to think about how other books are structured and why their plots work so wonderfully...

What it doesn't do is help me write my book. And the actual reason for that is laziness. I'm not under pressure to get the book done, and I've got three books under my belt already in the same genre. Why do I need to write a fourth?

Well, I don't. The world won't miss it. But having done a draft that covered possibly two-thirds of the book, and having done another shorter draft before that, and now having done another chunk of draft that takes the book from a different point of view - that's another approach to avoiding getting on with what is the problem in the book - it's time to get on and do some actual work.

Sitting down and working out the problems is too hard. Thankfully I have plenty of mentors in this, some of them very famous. I'm not going to mention names because it would only embarrass them...even the ones that are dead. But there have been any number of writers who know that they should get on and do the work and don't, or didn't...

Anyway, I've got other things on my plate at the moment and they're bound to be more important, and...

That last sentence reminds me of a tweet I've kept in my files: One of my New Year resolutions is to always finish what I