Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Musings on Writing

Once upon a time in early January I started in with Lazette Gifford's Two Year Novel class (2yn). This class, perhaps to be offered again this coming January at Forward Motion, takes the would-be writer from the kernel of an idea on through development of characters, worldbuilding, plotting, writing, and revising an entire novel. I had taken the 2004 class as well and loved Zette's approach. In fact, I used the notes from the first class to help me work on a couple of other projects in the interim.

For some reason I had a hard time getting latched onto Puppet Prince. I was focused on a difficult revision during the early months of this year. Strangely enough, it was my 2004 2ynovel... Then I carried onto revising Marks of Repentance. Then I was attacked by a new idea in August, which still has some issues to work through. Now I'm trying to do my THIRD revision this year, Quest to be Queen.

Planning and writing seem to take different mental muscles than revising. In January it seemed like a good idea to call this the Year of Revision. After all, for every first draft one writes, the story seems to need several MORE drafts to bring it through to some semblance of complete. So shouldn't a writer who wants to be published spend three times more revising than writing?


As of today, you couldn't convince me of that. I mean, it seems logical. But my writing muscles are weak. I'm afraid of creating another monstrosity that will require way too much revising. Nano is coming, and I want to be ready for it, but I feel like I'm rusty going in. I don't feel ready. I know I don't need to be ready today, but it's not that far off.

I've said I'm not good at multi-tasking in writing, though I'm good at it in Real Life. I'm a working wife and mother; I've had to be. I think the time is coming--and soon--when I need to train myself to multi-task as a writer. I don't think it will be optional in the long run.

Yesterday I opened my 2yn thread and read it, all 52 pages of printout. It hasn't been touched since May 14. It's hard to get back into that headspace. Today I did the next 2 assignments. There's just a couple more before they head into plotting and outlining. I think FM has a marathon for that in mid-October, so I'll probably hold off outlining until then. I love outlining in a crowd! And then, in theory, Puppet Prince will be ready to go November first.

I wish I could re-generate some of my initial excitement though. Hopefully I can rev myself up over the next few weeks. There are a lot of good ideas in the midst of my assignments, kernels of the plot, the conflicts, the themes. All I'm missing is the excitement. Oh, and the outline!

Part of me thinks I should crank up the YA Christian chick-lit that kept me awake in August for Nano, but it honestly isn't ready to be written. There are big enough holes in that mess to drive trains through. It'll come. It's just not there yet.

Part of me thinks I should write the sequel to Marks of Repentance. The characters and worldbuilding are all done for this being as it will continue the initial story. It even has a title, Children of Sacrifice. I have a fair idea of the plot in my head, and I'm totally in love with the world, the characters and the concepts. But I feel like I should be preparing a stand-alone for pitching first. (Marks certainly can stand alone, as far as that goes; it's the sequel that would find it harder...)

And meanwhile, I'm way sidetracked with the cookbook project and fighting to make even enough time to keep poking at Quest. If I need to leave the revision partially done over Nano, I'm not worried about it.

For the rest of this year, I'm going to try to ride out the writing life as I have planned it. Next year, however, is going to require a different strategy. I just need to find one.

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