Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Back to the grindstone... thank God

Yesterday was a slow-starter. Most of the time I spent on the novel was applied to plotting in greater detail the next three big scenes. This was necessary because the plotting I've done so far has kind of been like planning a road and marking where I think it's going to go with little dots of spray paint. Then, as I actually write, I find the places where the ground is to hard to dig or there are obstacles that I don't want to try to write around, or I just find a better or more interesting direction.

In other words, writing can trump plotting, particularly when it comes to details. So where I ended up on the last big scene did not deposit the story precisely at the place that I had expected when I was plotting. Therefore, re-plotting was necessary.

Once I was ready to start writing, though, I found my reserves of enthusiasm were greatly depleted. This was due to several factors. Fortunately, a good friend called late last night to slap me upside the head with some common sense. At the time he called, I only had 450 words written and was struggling to reach the 500 word minimum quota. After he called, the writing caught fire and I finally stopped at 1200 words. This means I have officially surpassed the 20% completion mark!

So I guess now I'm back on track, after a weekend mostly devoted to a screenplay and yesterday spent plotting. I'm glad, because my fictional world works a lot better than my real one.

Speaking of which, I had a funny thought last week after writing a couple of scenes in which my protagonist has to think very quickly to navigate some strange situations. I was thinking about how he managed to get out of both situations and idly thought, "Wow, he's really smart. That was some really good thinking." As though he had done it all completely outside my control!

I'd like to pretend that I had that reaction because my protagonist had become so real to me that I thought of him as a separate, real person--and that is somewhat true--but the real reason is my own resistance to taking credit for anything good. This is probably going to be a problem down the line; I've been researching and preparing to build a platform for myself as a writer so that I will have a credible online presence when I start shopping out the novel for representation and/or publication, but the truth is, the idea of promoting myself makes me almost sick with dread.

Of course, if I secure an agent or a publishing contract, that will help a great deal, because then I will have independent validation of my worth as an author. So I will just keep my head down and keep cranking out the novel until I have a first draft, and then a second, and worry about the possibility of having to actually present myself as someone people should want to know about when that particular bridge needs crossing.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have been through the same thing you went through with plotting and re-plotting in this second revision of my novel. It's tough to navigate at times.

I've also had those moments with my characters. Sometimes it feels like they control the story, but I never think of it as smart thinking on my part. I don't take credit for anything good I write either. I am in the same boat as you when it comes to that.

I have a novella self-published through Amazon Kindle, and I have to promote my book and myself when it comes to trying to get my name out there. It's terrifying at first, but it does get somewhat easier.

But you're right. Don't let that worry get in the way of your writing.

Good luck with that novel and worry!