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Writing is not always fun. Sometimes, it's all you can do just to plunk yourself into your chair and force out the words. It really sort of depends on where you are in the process, and what ideas you have brewing in your mind. A blank page can be hard if you don't have good ideas or don't know how to express them. Or it can be fun if you have a great idea--planned out or not--and you're not afraid of sucking, so you dive right in.

The middle can bog you down if you suddenly realize you don't have any idea where this thing you've been writing is going. Or you can not even notice you're in the middle because you're too busy getting words on the page.

An almost-finished manuscript can be fun if you have this Awesome Climax to the story in mind and can't wait to write it. Or you can be like me lately, dragging myself to the finish line because I need to get this draft done, even if my head is already fifty miles down the road imagining the second draft.

I have noted in here before that I am somewhat of a Pantser, which makes the first draft of the story basically a really long, complicated, meandery "outline," the primal goo out of which the "real" story will emerge in later drafts. I am a Pantser because no matter how much I try to outline upfront before I start, 90% of all that hard work will evaporate in a puff of smoke when I start actually writing and learn who my characters Really Are and What They Want, and what the Story is Really About.

I'm eager to get past the really long prose narrative outline I call the "first draft" and start planning out the actual story now. But I have, I am figuring, about four chapters to go. So I am forcing it out, because I won't have a good idea how the story ought to end unless I make at least one attempt to write an ending.

My second draft process is going to have some upfront work before I start writing. I want to do a little Plot Whisperer analysis and some big-picture planning of what I am determined is going to be a book series. I hope all that left-brainedness doesn't suck my enthusiasm dry. There will be right-brainy stuff to take the story to the next level, to pull the novel--and the series--out of that deep, hidden part of my brain where it's hiding.

Comments

( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
cactuswatcher
Jul. 22nd, 2012 04:10 pm (UTC)
I've decided it's insane to start if you dont' know the end first. Yes, I used to start stories figuring the ending would just come to me.

Getting past that, the worst part is sometimes, as you say, finding a way from the middle to the end. I suspect it's why many novels I really like start dragging about that point. It isn't just rank amateurs like me that have problems with that!
masqthephlsphr
Jul. 22nd, 2012 04:20 pm (UTC)
My problem is, even if I know the end, the end I end up with isn't the end I envisioned when I started writing. The writing process itself reveals the story, and that reveals the true ending. So I can plan up front all I want, doesn't mean anything, really.
cactuswatcher
Jul. 22nd, 2012 04:26 pm (UTC)
I don't really have that problem. The characters may end up being very different than I originally envisioned as they get more depth. But the bang up finish and riding off into the sunset (or whatever) usually doesn't depend on who my characters decided to be. ;o)
cornerofmadness
Jul. 22nd, 2012 05:50 pm (UTC)
I understand this all too well. I inevitably have troubles with the middle and actually ending things
masqthephlsphr
Jul. 22nd, 2012 06:00 pm (UTC)
Several writing blogs were talking about trying to "bring the fun" to writing. Sometimes it's big fun, when things are going well.

I'm sure there's always a way to make it *deliberately* fun. Sometimes, you have to suffer for your art.
cornerofmadness
Jul. 22nd, 2012 08:23 pm (UTC)
it's often fun for me though I'll admit it, there are times when it is not. My suffering wears another name. it's called editing.
masqthephlsphr
Jul. 22nd, 2012 08:27 pm (UTC)
Sometimes, my suffering is composing, as well. When the words aren't coming easy.
cornerofmadness
Jul. 22nd, 2012 09:26 pm (UTC)
yes there are those days. I usually find my first readers and other sounding boards and bounce stuff off them to get me going
masqthephlsphr
Jul. 22nd, 2012 09:58 pm (UTC)
I think that having a reader (one, who does only minimum con crit), is keeping me writing because she pesters me for the next chapter. But it also changed what I wrote, made it less experimental. One reason the next draft will remake the story and I won't share it with anyone. That inhibits my writing severely.
cornerofmadness
Jul. 22nd, 2012 10:44 pm (UTC)
yes you've mentioned that before. I'm very glad not to have that problem. It allows me to be free to be part of various writers groups.
masqthephlsphr
Jul. 22nd, 2012 10:55 pm (UTC)
I readily workshop later drafts, just not the original composition.
cornerofmadness
Jul. 23rd, 2012 02:06 am (UTC)
right. THe difference between us is I use the workshops to keep me writing the story by using their input where as you might find that a hinderance
masqthephlsphr
Jul. 23rd, 2012 02:09 am (UTC)
Having my friend read and cheer-lead has helped me whack out this first draft. But, as I said, I'm not entirely happy with it and will probably have to reinvent it without letting her read it at all.

Not that it was time wasted, not al all - I have a LOT of material to draw from now in re-envisioning the story.
cornerofmadness
Jul. 23rd, 2012 02:15 am (UTC)
exactly and now you know that it is just not your writing style to have others inputting on the process
masqthephlsphr
Jul. 23rd, 2012 02:28 am (UTC)
Oh, I've known that for years. This was a deliberate choice in order to motivate myself because I knew my GF would not judge. But I still judged myself through her (if that makes sense) - worried about what she thought and made story choices based on that.
cornerofmadness
Jul. 23rd, 2012 03:33 am (UTC)
yes I can see that
masqthephlsphr
Jul. 22nd, 2012 11:06 pm (UTC)
Point is, I don't feel like I'm losing anything keeping the first draft to myself.
cornerofmadness
Jul. 23rd, 2012 02:02 am (UTC)
probably not. All it means is if you get stuck you have to come up with a different method than I would to get out of it.
masqthephlsphr
Jul. 23rd, 2012 02:07 am (UTC)
True, that.
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )