This is a thinly-veiled update blog with… kind of a point? Probably? I know, I’m so good at this I can’t believe it either.
ANYWAY. Update! You’ll notice if you look at the Life of Gaia progress bar that I’m pretty darn close to my newest goal of 75k words. (What’s Life of Gaia you ask? What the heck? Are you new here, or have you just not been paying attention at all? Go read the above-linked page, sillies! I’m writing a book!) Anyway, that’s pretty awesome, except that I’m like 100% sure that it won’t be don’t at 75k words and, quite frankly, I’m done guessing when it’ll be done. It’ll be done when it’s done, that’s all I can say. There’s like 3 chapters and an epilogue left, so feel free to try to guess that one. Hint: it’s really hard.
All I feel comfortable saying is that I think I’ll be done with the 1st draft by the end of the month, and that’s because I am determined that it happen that way. I’m sick and tired of still being on the first version of this thing. I’m ready to start Phase 2. I’ve never gotten to that stage on anything, and the excitement is killing me. (No, not literally, I’m fine you guys. Chillax.) The proof of this is probably in how much pre-revision my brain has been indulging in lately. Silly brain.
I’m going to be honest. I don’ think that this first draft is terrible. It has a lot of things that I think are good stuff. I’ve read worse things, and probably written some of them. But this is definitely not the version of this story that I want getting out. HECK no. Is it good for a first draft, a run through, a getting-it-out-on-paper-aka-typing-it? Sure thing! But like I said, I’ve already edited so much of it in my mind that parts of it hardly resemble how it stands now, and it has taken my Herculean powers of restraint to keep from going back and tinkering.
The old me was a tinkerer. I would tinker at sentences, paragraphs, turns-of-phrase. I would make sure they were perfect. Yes… A perfect three or four pages. Then nothing. Where was the rest of the story? Gone, because my inner-editor killed it dead while I was busy stressing about those perfect three or four pages. Fat lot of good THAT did me. I’m not sure what I’ve done this time to get that inner-me to shut up. Nothing special than I can think of. Not that it’s gone away completely. I was tired one night, for example, and wrote about a chapter and a half of terrible, terrible stuff. Awful. God awful. Just… the kind of filler-space writing that is only ever acceptable in Nanowrimo, when you’re trying to write 50k in 30 days and all of the rules are suspended.
And it killed a piece of me, making myself let that go. In fact, it haunted me for over a week. I didn’t write anything, couldn’t write anything. I was afraid that, after that, the only words I had left inside me were terrible ones. What if I’d reached the end of the road on anything decent? Could I really survive another 25 thousand words like the ones I’d last put on the page, just telling myself that I could ‘fix it in editing?’ It didn’t seem likely. Not to mention that I had completely gone off-script at some point, resulting in just the plot holes and awkward pacing that I had tried to avoid by scripting it in the first place.
The whole thing had gone to shit, and as I drowned in indecision over how to fix it, I lapsed into a writing funk.
I’m sorry, this post was supposed to be a fun little thing about all the stuff I’ve been changing, but it became a weirdly dramatic saga in my tiny writing career. ANYWAY. Long story short, tl;dr, I sat down this evening and wrote an inspiring post on my CampNano Board about how there wasn’t much time left, but that we should all rally anyway, taking the bad with the good and accepting that a word written is a word that wasn’t there before. Then, feeling rather sanctimonious, I decided it was time to do some more writing of my own–to bite that bullet, so to speak, and get past my obvious wallowing.
And, amazingly, I did. The minute I got my music going and opened my yarny, the words began pouring out. Not amazing words, maybe, but good words. Decent words. Reliable words. Enough to reassure me that I hadn’t lost my ability to string together a sentence. Enough to reassure me that this part too would pass, and then the fight scene, and then I would be at the end of the tunnel. So I powered through the sticky bits and added another few thousand words to my count. And it was beautiful.
So that, ladies and germs, is how I beat back the latest snag on this road to finishing.
And, just to wrap up earlier thoughts, the answer is I HAVE COMPLETELY RE-WRITTEN THE ENTIRE BEGINNING OF MY STORY. Not physically, not yet. But I have big plans, people. Big plans. My poor beta readers (well, more like delta readers, since this thing is going to go through quite a few rings…) will never get to see the thing, because it has to get past ME first, and I’m one tough customer.
But this manuscript is teaching me a lot, and that’s invaluable. No matter what happens to Life of Gaia, it’s already a winner to me. I’ll never forget this insanity, or the people who have chosen to listen to me complain about it. 🙂