August 4, 2011

Marshland

I haven't talked about writing in a while, so I thought I'd take this beginning-of-August thing to give you all an update.

For those of you who don't know, I've been working (on and off) on the same book since last November, when I wrote what I like to call the spaghetti draft of my WIP during NaNoWriMo. (At least for me, NaNo is a really good way to get a spaghetti draft of a story down.) A few fun facts: 1. I'd been thinking about this book for about three months before I wrote the spaghetti draft. 2. Spaghetti drafting is my crazy draft. Throwing spaghetti on the wall, seeing if any of it sticks. I wrote a ton of stuff, and a ton of stuff out of order. 3. For those who are interested, my current WIP is a retelling of the fairy tale "The Little Mermaid." (I think that doesn't give away too much -- I mean, take a look at all the mermaid books that are out there right now!)

After that I sat on it for a while, until I opened it back up a few months ago and started chipping away at it again. Right now I'm working on moving all my out-of-order scenes into order, and doing a little bit of light editing as I go along. My goal for this draft is to get every scene in the right place, and fill in the blanks where there are scenes missing.

So, progress. I've been working seriously on this book for the last month and a half, and sometimes it seems like I haven't made progress at all. I know that's not true -- I've figured out a number of plot things and details about the world, and added in characters, and (hey!) written 10,000 words in the last three days... But to me, there's not a lot that's really tangible about that work. It's not the same as saying, "I worked for the last six weeks and now I have a completed draft!" Right now, I'm in the middle of the marshland, putting one foot in front of the other, feeling like I'm working hard and getting somewhere... but that it might just be taking me around in circles.

Fellow writers, do you know what I'm talking about? Are there milestones that, for you, really bring home the progress that you've made? Obviously there are the big ones -- finishing a book, getting an agent, getting a book deal, for heaven's sake -- and there are smaller ones, finishing one round of revisions, finishing a draft (and another, and another). But what about in between those drafts? What about the weeks and months it takes to move from one to the other? How do you keep yourself positive about the work that you're doing instead of getting mucked down in the marshes?

I'm going to take myself out to a (slightly) upscale restaurant when I'm done with this draft, and I already have the place picked out. But it still feels forever away...

1 comment:

  1. I'm there right now. I just started a new WIP with a blank page, and I'm about 6K in, and when I realize I'm only one twelfth of the way there...and that's only to the first draft....

    But it will come. And it will be beautiful. When you're feeling frustrated, just think of the line editing slog, and you'll feel giddy about the words flowing from your fingers.

    Good luck!

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