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Moving into the fast lane

It’s been just over five weeks since I started prewriting my new MS. I gave myself six, so I’m glad that my planned timeline worked out. Even though it’s been hard to wait, I wasn’t ready to cruise into full writing mode until the last few days. But finally, research, brainstorming, outlining, and character backgrounds are done.

For now.

I “officially” started writing on Monday, laying down a first scene that I’m happy with.

For now.

Over the next week, I’ll be shifting gears to get back into the flow of fast writing, NaNo style. I have to build up to the quick, never-look-back pace that I prefer because after being in edit/pre-write mode for a couple of months, my internal editor has made herself quite at home.

She’s got a chaise lounge and a full bar set up in the corner of my brain and she’s having quite a good time with the cute bartender. Getting her to leave is going to be a challenge, but if I let her overindulge in mojitos and run off with the drinksmith, maybe she’ll leave me alone while I get serious about pounding out thousands of word per day for the next two months.

It’s time to get back on the writing autobahn and leave that nagging chick behind. Or at least in the backseat.

For now. 😉

Blank slate

Yes, I covet office supplies... Photo:

I like to brainstorm on a whiteboard. In my dreams, it’s 6’x4’, rolling, and two-sided. In reality, it’s 16”x23” and lying unmounted on the carpet.

There’s something about using a dry-erase board that taps into my creative side. I can use colors, make connections, write upside down if I want, and—probably most important—easily erase at will. It’s kinetic and unboxed. I can stand and move while capturing my thoughts.

Yes, I could do this on paper, but I think the sense of permanence (and probably the sense of waste) stifles my creativity in comparison to the whiteboard. On paper, my ideas are not so easily erased or rearranged. My efforts become messy and require more paper. (I do have a stack of scrap for this purpose.)

The computer makes up for paper’s disadvantages, but requires a more linear approach without some kind of special software or mouse for freeform expression.

For some reason, when I use paper or the computer, I feel like I’m tied to the ideas previously written, and I tend to get stuck in a thinking rut. It’s purely psychological, but why fight it?

I also like the large space afforded by a board. I can write in big, bold strokes, change colors, draw lines and symbols, and just…spread out. With a big enough board, I can make notes on several different areas of the story at a time. Character stuff over here, plot ideas over there, and GMC notes at the bottom.

I use the computer to capture my freeform notes before wiping the board clean, and once I get to the writing phase, I prefer the computer. With Scrivener, of course. 😉

But for now, in my pre-writing phase, I’m getting a headache from the smell of dry-erase markers.

Trusting my process

I’m in pre-writing mode. It takes 4-6 weeks. I know this. And yet I still get frustrated when the process doesn’t go faster. I get frustrated when I think my outline sucks and the story premise blows and that I never should have started this story in the first place.

And then I take a break, read a book, work out, walk the dog, take a nap, anything to get my mind off the story and my suckfest of an outline. And then I decide to just write some scenes.

Maybe they’ll end up as backstory. Maybe they’ll never even be part of the story or the character at all. And once I decide that’s okay, the ideas start flowing and the scenes magically write themselves. Okay, not really, but the ideas do start flowing, and scenes appear with less effort.

At this point, I may not have adjusted the outline to my satisfaction, but every scene I write will inform the final storyline. That’s the whole point of my pre-writing phase, but sometimes I forget this. I want the rough—but essentially final—outline to be done so I can start cranking out the words.

But, I have to just trust my process, because when I don’t, I end up with a dead carcass of a half-finished story that’s going nowhere. Even though a month-and-a-half sounds like a lot of time to “waste” just to get started, it saves me months of agony and rewriting down the road.

So for now, I just breathe, and fume, and doodle, and write.

And trust that someday I’ll have another story.