Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Layered Writer

Trying to meet a deadline for the Nocturne Cravings pitch at eHarlequin.com has taught me a few valuable lessons about writing.

First, I'm a very slow writer, even when I'm trying to free write. When I was younger, words flowed out of me like a river over a waterfall; those days are apparently over. The river has dried to a trickle. I can accept that as long as the water is still there.

Second, writing can be fun, but it can also be work. Before this, I had never had a real writing deadline. I wrote when I felt like it. If it wasn’t fun, I didn’t do it. To make this deadline, I must write for several hours every day on one project. It’s like having a second job. Don’t misunderstand; it’s hard but it feels good, like I’m seriously accomplishing something worthwhile.

Third, where once I was a one draft wonder, I am now a layered writer. I’ve discovered my mind can no longer see/write everything at once. I now need to layer my stories in multiple drafts. My first draft consists of description and action. This is how the characters look and this is what they do and say. In my second draft, I work in thoughts and emotions. These are the reasons the characters do what they do and say what they say. My third draft is for mechanics: grammar, spelling, style. And, so on.

So, even if I don't get my novella done in time for the pitch, I have discovered a renewed enthusiasm for writing. After the writing hole I've been in for so long, it feels amazing to actually enjoy writing and to look forward to it instead of avoiding it.

16 comments:

  1. Hi,

    slow and steady wons the race (although rich and well connected also helps). I'm going round following fellow A-Z writers,be back soon.

    regards
    mood

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  2. I find when I free write I spend the first 3 minutes writing 'oh no, I've got nothing, what will I write about? Come on muse... still nothing!" etc. Some of us just take longer to get into gear than others, but hey, it's what you end up with that counts.

    Love the design of your blog :)

    Wagging Tales - Blog for Writers

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  3. Found you from the A-Z Challenge, sounds like it’s going to be a lot of fun, with maybe with a little bit of stress thrown in!! I’m now following you on GFC and I hope you have a chance to check out my blog!
    Monica
    http://oldermommystillyummy.blogspot.com/

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  4. Writing is HARD. Like pulling a beachball from a pencil-sized hole.

    Some equate it to giving birth. Well, maybe. All the screaming yanno.

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  5. stopping in from the A to Z
    http://baygirl32.blogspot.com

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  6. I feel your growing pains. And I understand being a slow writer. I've never been terribly fast either.

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  7. I know how you feel. I'm stopping by from the "A to Z" challenge and I look forward to reading more from you.

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  8. Yay for you that you got out of a long writing funk. I know how that goes. Your last paragraph says it all. Good luck!

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  9. Nice to meet you through the A-Z challenge! Hope to see you around!

    Good Luck with your A-Z!!!!

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  10. I like it!
    Layered is so much more tasty!

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  11. I think you read my mind.. The noc cravings pitch was making me feel totally "pressured" as well.. Last year, I would've enjoyed the challenge.. ;) Did enjoy .. but I steer clear of pitches and Nanowrimo's... I prefer doing things in my own way than in any predefined way !!!

    Nice to meet you!

    Following you from A-Z challenge!

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  12. Like an onion or a cake :) Just stopping by from the A-Z challenge. Lovely blog!

    Sarah Allen
    (my creative writing blog)

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  13. layering can be good--you uncover something new with each new layer you peel off, adding more depth to your writing.
    great meeting you through this a-z
    nutschell
    www.thewritingnut.com

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  14. It's great that you got yourself out of a writing hole. I imagine we've all been in one kind or another. I had an extremely long dry spell where I always had an excuse not to write, even though the ideas were still coming. I'm trying to catch all that time up and make it right.

    I also ended up doing layers, though it wasn't intentional from the outset. I edited that way, as well. One good read-through to begin with where I printed the whole ms up and red-penned that sucker, then edits to look for specific things.

    Good luck with your deadline and the rest of the A to Z Challenge!

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  15. That's a good approach, the layering.

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  16. Such a great post! Love visiting your blog!

    Lola x
    http://lola-x.blogspot.com

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