This week has been both incredibly unproductive and incredibly productive for me as a writer.
Last week, I said that my focus for the upcoming week was going to be working on a short story for the Brighton COW competition. I was enjoying writing a humourous take on a vampire’s reaction to reading the Twilight series and the impact on his minion, Twelve. My intention, obviously, was to have the story finished and ready for entry by 31 May. Well, that didn’t happen.
I really like the story, and am enjoying writing it. I just didn’t have time to make it perfect, and I didn’t want to submit something sub-par. Besides, I was incredibly distracted…
All in all, I’ve written about 500 words (not including blog posts & comments) over the last week. Some people would say that’s a fairly poor effort. And I’d usually agree with them. But not this time. This time, I feel like I’ve spent the week incredibly productively. I’ve spent the week sharpening the saw.
In my blog reading, I came across a couple of really interesting and useful articles. The first is Nathan Bransford on How to Write a Novel. The second is Kristen Lamb on Story Structure & Action. I just happened to read both of these on the same day, and had a few amazing lightbulb moments in regards to plotting my novel.
At this point, please let me just remind you that I hate outlining. Nonetheless, I have often found myself in trouble at about the 40,000 word mark while writing a novel. At that point, I usually have an idea of how I want the story to end, but no idea of how to get the characters there. By that point, the characters I’ve come to know and love have often decided that they’re ready for a break, and are sitting around spending page after page reminiscing, planning, or just generally shooting the breeze. And while I’m happy to throw in a Chandler-esque man with a gun, doing so doesn’t always get me any closer to the final resolution that’s swimming around in my head.
So… lightbulb moment. I don’t have to outline. It’s okay to be a “pantser”. But it would help if I had some idea about the necessary conflict in the story before I start writing. It would also help if I knew when to finish the book. (I’ll write about this in more detail another day.) So I’ve spent the majority of this week planning/plotting my novel. Much of it has been in my head, and much has been done in the shower, or while taking my son bike riding, or when sitting up feeding my baby at some ridiculous time in the morning. But now I feel much more in control of my story and where it’s going.
Although I haven’t written a single extra word on my novel itself, I now feel Motivated (yes, it requires a capital letter) and ready to write. Now to find some time…