Thursday, February 18, 2010
Practice Makes Perfectionist?
The editing went smoothly, the writer's group was mostly happy, then I started to query... ACK! Very basic things I didn't know I needed to know... like word ranges for specific genres (say what?). Word limits overall. The nevers and alwayses of the field. So I started in on that particular cycle, but also kept writing.
And it felt good—it felt like I’d learned a lot and I was applying it. I wrote a book (fast, amazingly enough) that I felt was FABULOUS. I started another, then I started my NaNo and both seemed to go okay. In 3 months I went from having written 1 book to having written 4 (though knowing they all needed cleaning)
But I am currently in process of getting feedback on the first of those and typing on the second, and keep thinking WHAT THE HELL WAS I TRYING TO SAY?
I’m having a hard time thinking I’ve suddenly forgotten sentence level writing, but to look at ILLUSIONS as I type, it seems like maybe I have.
Crap, crap, crap.
I don’t think the whole thing is ACTUALLY crap. I think the story is pretty decent. I am just not feeling nearly as solid in my execution of the thing. Why?
LEGACY was written faster, but LEGACY nearly wrote itself. There are definitely improvements that need to be made, but I’ve gotten feedback from two people so far, and their recommendations are concrete and doable, not vague, like “what the hell were you thinking?”
ILLUSIONS though, I forced out quickly for two reasons—the first is that I love LEGACY and feel strongly I can’t finish and do the real rewrite until the WHOLE 3 book story is done. The second is I sort of bought into the NaNo thing where getting the story out is the goal of draft one, and rewrites are for fixing… but it is the first book I worked on in which I was thinking that way, so it really DOESN’T have the same level of care—it really WILL be a bigger rewrite job…
The Distraction Philosophy
It is the only one I wrote while writing another, completely separate work. Though honestly, the part I am typing right now was written before I started NaNo—I think I tried to finish ten chapters before NaNo started so I would have a solid chunk behind me… still, I was thinking about NaNo…
Or maybe, as my skill, experience, and eye are trained, I AM LEARNING. There is a novel idea for an over-40. Old dog, meet new trick. And I have no problem at all being tricksey… I just wasn’t really prepared for my change in analysis.
I’ve written a lot in the last six months. I’ve also done some first reader reviewing, which has been almost as helpful. I’ve spent a lot of time revising, reading about publishing… Possibly I’ve grown more discerning.
Hopefully what it means is I’ve also learned how to FIX problems. The sentence level stuff I can fix as I type, or at least begin to fix. But I suspect there are bigger issues, too… we’ll have to see how it all pans out, but I will keep my fingers crossed that it is just me getting pickier, and not my writing getting worse.