Sunday, November 20, 2011

What Now?

I get to a point when I'm writing that I see the end (sort of) and something in the middle (sort of) but I've just written myself into a hole. Literally, I'll be writing and thinking "Yea, I got this, look at how fast I'm writing," and before I know it, I'll sit there at the screen and think, "Shit, what now?"

Sometimes I'm able to just play on facebook or twitter for a bit and get myself and my characters out of it, but sometimes the hole swallows me and it takes a little bit more to get out.

It's usually at that point I just keep asking "What now? What happens next?" It's also usually here that the crappy, quick, incoherent writing comes out so I can get back to the good stuff. But I'm okay with that. I'm okay with writing poorly. When I was at PNWA one of the panelists said something along the lines of, "Most everything you write is going to be crap. And that's okay." That's kind of the mindset I have. It's understood, you have to write crap to be able to write well. Me? My first draft is ALWAYS crap. Second draft is like mixed soft serve ice cream. Some of it's good, some of it's bad. final draft is what I start sending to agents.

But before all of that, before the draft is even finished, how do you go from being stuck in a hole, to crawling out? For me, I take time away. It's why for the more shallow holes I can go just play on some other media source. Sometimes that'll trigger something, or just allow my brain to slow down and stop getting frustrated. If that doesn't work, I step away from it. I go out with friends, take Baxter for a walk.

As you'll see, sometimes he just really wants to go...

If when I come back, I'm still stuck...I know I have to start writing again. (It happens sometimes, that I take too much time away from the work, don't think about it enough...etc. Oops!) The biggest thing that helps me is going back, sometimes only a couple of pages, sometimes all the way to the beginning and re-reading, getting re-acquainted with the roots of the story. I always find something I can add or take out. Once I catch up to the last line I'd written, I remember where I was, plus, I just added in that whole section (holy crap! 2,000 words! Yes!). Seriously, that happens sometimes.

This is why I'm not a plotter. Because as I write the story, it evolves, and I'm able to go back and make it stand for itself. Sure, sure, I have an idea when I start the story, I have situations I know I'll want to write in.'s connecting the dots and just going with the flow where the real writing (for me) comes in.

Happy NaNoWriMo!


  1. Walking helps me dig my way out, too! That, and folding clothes, for some reason.


Please know that if you comment and I don't respond, it's not because I don't love you. It's because I don't have wifi, but I do have a bad memory.

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