Second Book Stall-out

June 4, 2008 at 9:19 am | Posted in Bria, editing, Fast Draft, inspiration, writing | 3 Comments

Every once in awhile we all have an “ah-ha” moment. I’m always jealous of writers who seem to get at least one big thing from every book, every speaker, ever workshop. Often, I feel my head nodding in agreement without the actual big moment coming. Lots of little, ‘yup. I got that’s’ but not a lot of epiphanies.

So, here I am, stalled out on the second book, and looking for an epiphany. A big AH-HA to get me moving again, when ironically enough, a discussion starts on the diva board last evening about first book fear.

I didn’t have that. I had no idea about all the ‘rules’ I was supposed to be following until the story was on the page. It was poorly written, but had great a great story and characters I connected with.

It took 5 weeks to write.

It took almost a year to re-write and edit.

Book two is obviously a completely different story (literally and figuratively) – I couldn’t grasp a strong desire to start book two.

Until last weeks blog.

Looking at the first pages of the first draft of my first manuscript truly opened my eyes. It was horrible. It didn’t flow, had errors all over the place, the world rules were in consistent, my sentence structure was blah, etc.

Book one, my beloved book one, was horrible.

Suddenly my metaphorical eyes opened. I could write horrible.

You see, all this time I thought I needed to write book two to the standard I had attempted to edit book one to. That is not going to happen because that took ten months.

We all repeat it again and again, but it’s apparently my turn to mis-quote the words of La Nora. “I can fix a bad page. I can’t fix a blank one.”

And so, Fast Draft is alive and well again. I’m FDing book two as we speak. It has its own challenges.

I’m doing less writing straight through because of chapters moved from the end of book one to the middle of book two. I’m having to go ‘back in time’ in a way to when my characters were younger, less evolved than where those moved chapters left them. I’m fighting against shifting directions because I like some of those moved chapters so much.

But still, I’m writing. I’m getting my 20 pages a day down and moving toward an extremely bad fast draft.

Just like book one.

Hearing the truth – Writing is Re-Writing – and knowing the truth are two different things, but it’s an ah-ha moment I won’t forget when it’s time to write book four. Or book five. Or. . .you get the point.
So, set aside your doubts, insecurities, annoyances and Go Write.
-bria

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3 Comments »

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  1. One of the things that kept surprising me in the craft books I read last year was how many of them emphasized the need to give your self permission to “write a crappy first draft”. I’ve also seen a lot of references to “There are no great writers, only great rewriters.”

    I think one of the things I’ve had the hardest time with this year is realizing that just because something is on the page, it doesn’t mean it is written in stone. A scene or converstation or even your outline doesn’t have to go the way you write it down if it doesn’t come out right the first (several) time(s).

    Happy Drafting! You can do it!

  2. Thanks Kaige – I’m at that “encouragement is manna” stage of the book!

  3. Congrats on the epiphany! Every book is a new learning curve and an opportunity to discover new things about yourself and your process. It’s true about a lot of things–when I was expecting my second child, I thought I’d get one just like the first–WRONG. My second book unfolded very differently than my first, but was a smoother process because I knew what to expect. Sounds like you are making great progress. Keep it up!!


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