Wednesday, November 6, 2013

IWSG Post: Uncertainty in Revision

I have had so may insecurities the past few years, and a few successes.  The Insecure Writers' Support Group is the place to vent them, to read others' opinions, feelings, successes, insecurities, and to just generally share in the ups and downs of writing and publishing.  Participants post the first wednesday of each month, and can be found here.  If you just generally want access to the best hub of links and advice for writing, check out the new IWSG website.  It's amazing.  Thanks Alex J. Cavanaugh!  I am really enjoying reading through the site, and following the links.

Last year, I was so worried about completing a rough draft.  Then, in July, I finished a rough draft.  I wrote so often that I had the urge after Campnano was done.  I just didn't know what to do.  I didn't feel "done."

Well, it isn't done.   But it needed to sit awhile until I was ready to make any real edits, no matter my hurried read-through and obsessive notes after the initial completion.

There was a brain fog that moved in once I wasn't writing every day, and then I never quite got around to making any of the big changes.  I started... but it's still waiting to be done.

Now, I'm entering the November Nanowrimo, and I plan to finish it as well. December will be a month of brain-fog, and I should be ready for it.  After that, 2014, will have to be the year that I brave the revision.  I have learned just how much I need order and structure. If I have found a way to apply it to completing a rough draft, I certainly can do the same for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd drafts.

Do you have a system that you employ to make changes to your rough drafts, and if so, what is it?

Monday, November 4, 2013

Becoming a Writer Part 3: A Different Approach--All in My Head

All right, I know the "freedom" I feel is all in my head.  It's been there all along, there are likely even agents and editors that might like what I'm doing.  But I certainly feel more stressed when I think I need to impress others.  I'm just not good at it.  I can be friendly, and I have even enjoyed customer service jobs for the interaction with people. I know I often leave a pretty decent impression, but I've put so much more of myself into my writing.

Is it rejection that I'm afraid of?

Not exactly.  I am afraid of the same thing that has choked up so many drafts over the years, not producing a end result deserving of the idea, the character, the world and all the time I've poured into it.  Self-doubt. Perfectionism.

I have found that deadlines can combat these flaws for the rough draft level.  I am working on using process to fight off the rest of it.

Considering self-publishing means that I have to approach my writing with greater emphasis on deadlines, on the business of it, but with the underlining goal of being honest to the art of it, the idea of it. I am a paradox, finding certain limitations actually inspiring.  That's why I work well with Nano.

What am I doing differently?

I am exploring an organization to the chapters in my Rextian novels that are in line with the society that I've created, but not an order I'd ever have thought would go well for a "first novel." This is mostly because it isn't exactly something I've seen before, but it makes sense for the piece that I am creating.  

It also frees me to identify certain stories as possible serials.  Suddenly, I  can do all my ideas.  Beginning to end. I can build them my way, and use the very structure of the novel to build not only the plot, but also the context of the world. The outline is posted week by week on Story Snippets. I will follow up at the end of the week with my progress that week on the Nanowrimo project.

I'm very confident about my ability to generate a rough draft... but that's before the real work: the second draft.


Friday, November 1, 2013

Becoming a Writer Part 2: Rough Drafts

The challenge of Nanowrimo has helped me immensely.  The deadline helped me to finally and effectively manage my time in July, for Camp Nano.  I finished a rough draft and then read through it and then... let it sit.

The next challenge will be to revise what I have, but before then, I am launching into Nanowrimo. I have a new/old project.  That is, since I've been progressively re-approaching my main world, its history, the stories and characters that I've been building and playing with for years... why not?

I am approaching Nano differently this time.  I made an outline--suitably vague, and with a massive note to self  "achieve the main plot goals--but hey, change is okay."  But I know anything on Don-Yin will be epic.  In the real sense.  I can't expect to write the whole book in a month, but Rule of Magic--my July success-- was not a full manuscript.

The story was written beginning to end, but it is a stripped down version. I can expect to approach November's project with that same result.  That means my outline can be flexible, adjusted, as long as I have the characters and plot mapped out well enough to hang the novel on.

I think I have those things down.  I have, off and on, over the years spent enough time with the characters and plot that I am confident of my love for both, my drive to complete them, and now my newfound-direction that I know I can do this.

I will post my outline, in pieces, on Story Snippets, so if you're interested in following my progress, I'll track it there.

Writing with the idea of self-publication as the goal has changed the approach to the novel, from the beginning. I feel better able to embrace the artistry, and less pressure to compete.  That isn't to say this is not a competitive industry--I see just how competitive every level of the book business is when I go to work. Focussing on the need to compete, to produce a story that would both be familiar enough for the marketability to be easily demonstrated and original enough to seize the enthusiasm of an editor, made me worried.  So very worried.

But now, thinking that I can take control of my project, I can pursue all knowledge I need to produce a professional end product.  The interim, the beginning steps, are less stressful now, with more freedom for me to explore my own ideas of the story and the nature of  "good writing."

Much of this, I know, is me.