Thursday, June 26, 2008

Remembering to forget...

It's not like I don't have enough on my plate. I've got the revisions of "Probable Claws" to finish up (luckily, my editor is on vacation, which gives me some breathing room). And I've got my summer writing class to teach. But my agent is sending out my non-Theda manuscript this week, and so the time feels right to start on an entirely brand new project.

Sometimes, this part is easy. On Saturday, sitting at a cafe in Harvard Square, I started writing notes and bits of dialogue. They came from nowhere. But once I finally sat down to type them up and enlarge on them, I found myself second guessing everything. Should I start with a simple scene? Not let the narrator intrude so soon? Was I rushing the action, or was the pacing natural?

At some point last night, I remembered: I can't worry about this now. I've just got to get what's in my head out on paper. I can fix it up later. Years ago, a friend quoted pub rocker Nick Lowe to me, saying, "Bash it out now. Tart it up later." But, especially while revising "Probable Claws" and after polishing up the other ms., it's so hard to turn off that internal editor and just write!!

Anyone have any advice?

6 comments:

Caroline said...

I'm going through the same thing! I think the thing to do is just get it out now and worry about structure after you have a draft. Otherwise, you really do end up writing your first paragraph for three months. But it's great that you have the words coming, and the bits of dialogue. Sometimes I think we have to trick ourselves into getting to this stage--going out, cleaning closets, whatever.

Amy said...

Repeat to yourself: "I'll fix it later. I'll fix it later. I'll fix it later." Works for me and I am FOREVER trying to revise while I write.

Clea Simon said...

But but but... doesn't the opening determine so many things? So many choices that set you on a path? Aiee!

Robert said...

When I wrote "Rock & Roll Homicide", I took a chronological, start-to-finish approach to both the outline and the composition. I just finished outlining my third novel, and I would describe the process as taking a sewing circle quilt-making approach. I allowed myself the latitude to run with ideas as they came, secure in the knowledge that I could weave them together later on in the process. While it took longer to complete the outline, I feel like I now have a Mapquest instead of a Triptik.

RJ McDonnell

Linda L. Richards said...

Your instincts are exactly correct: ass in chair, get the words out. You are a writer, so of course you have the evil internal voice pop in occasionally just to try and screw things up. Ignore it. Forge ahead. After a while, it'll be a different moon cycle. The bad voice will fade and you'll be skating again.

Clea Simon said...

Thanks, Linda, ass in chair.

I also am reminding myself of the tap theory: Sometimes you just have to drain out that rusty, funny-tasting crap before the good stuff flows.