Thursday, May 14, 2009
Writing Vs. Thinking
I have been working on my second novel, and I feel like I am spinning my wheels. The first book seemed to write itself. I would sit down to create, and before I knew it, I had ten to fifteen pages. The first two chapters of the second book were that way, too. But I seem to have hit a road block. All week, I've been wondering why, and today it occurred to me; I'm thinking too much about it. While writing Tick-Tock (that's the title of my first novel), I just wrote whatever came to mind. I had these characters I already had fallen in love with, but I had no idea what was going to happen to them. The story unfolded as I was writing it. I didn't worry about punctuation, spelling, or even over use of adverbs and adjectives. I just wrote. My first draft was 122,000 words--WHOA!--that's a lot for a young adult novel. But then I edited and rewrote. My second draft was 110,000 words--still too many--so I edited and rewrote some more. I cut entire paragraphs and even a whole chapter, which was like part of me dying, but this chapter wasn't necessary for the outcome of the story, so it had to go. My final draft is 85,000 words. According to some, this is still too many, but it is already down to bare bones; I can't cut anymore. My point is that I was flying by the seat of my pants when I wrote Tick-Tock. I didn't worry about rules and conventions; I didn't follow an outline; I didn't worry about how long it should be; and I wasn't worried about getting it published. I just wrote for the pure pleasure of the process, and it was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Every step of the way was success to me. Wow, I wrote a page! Wow, I wrote a chapter! Wow, I finished a book! So what changed? Well, my mind is filled with the rules now; I'm working from an outline; and I'm trying to write what I think an agent will want to see, instead of what feels right to me. I'm wondering how I can get back to writing like I used to. For now, I'm going to set it aside and try to clear my head (perhaps my house, too) of the clutter. By the way, I thought of a fourth reason I write this blog--it's an excuse not to work on my novel!