First person, third person, present tense, past tense, limited narrator, omniscient narrator, formal prose, chatty prose.
In only 55 pages, believe it or not, I’ve tried all of these techniques. And more too. I think there was one version written from the dog’s viewpoint, a la Garth Stein. (Not really. But maybe I should try it.)
So this book has morphed from five rotating, first-person narrators to two, third-person narrators telling their stories far from how I thought they would. And it feels like a better fit, so I’m going with it. I’m not even rewriting the beginning yet either. I simply inserted a few [SWITCHING POV HERE] notes into the prose, and moved on. If a scene isn’t happening for me, I insert [MORE TO COME], then work on one that’s more interesting.
It may seem like I’m creating a giant, winding jumble of words here with no real vision. Actually, though…well, yes. That’s what I’m creating. But working this way keeps me from getting bogged down to the point where I’m dreading the next writing session. And it makes me at least feel like I’m moving forward.
So what I can say about this writing challenge, so far, is that it’s forced me to get the words down, and that’s a good thing. But while I’d assumed (read: hoped) I’d be writing far beyond the 20-minute allotment each day, that rarely happens. I’m still having to remind myself to write, sometimes just before midnight. (And can I just say that a laptop might be in my future? Hauling myself out of a warm bed at 11:40 and stumbling down to the cold office where my ancient desktop PC resides makes me a wee bit cranky.)
So how’s it going for all of you? Are you making progress? What tricks do you trot out to haul yourself from the mud when you’re stuck?
6 thoughts on “Nothing Up My Sleeve”
Thank you! And for those of us who need it, here’s the American translation of “layby” — a highway rest stop. Korculablue, may we just say how impressed we are with your devotion to craft? Inspiration is such a precious commodity, and so crucial to this process. Please keep these helpful tips coming….
Word counts can be a trial on those days when the inspiration level is low. I too keep a notebook handy, not just for sitting on the bedside table. Sometimes I have pulled into a layby when driving to or from wherever to jot down inspiring thoughts. I find reading helpful blogs is another excellent way of keeping the enthusiasm at a high level when I feel I’m on a low.
Glad you didn’t go with the dog. I like the two third person narrator idea. My first drafts are always a mess, too.
Glad to know others have the big-hot-mess-of-a-first-draft syndrome. Actually that’s the definition of first draft, right?
Love it. Any guidance is more than welcome–especially if it advocates fun. And the notebook by the bed has long been an honored trick of the trade. Thanks, Leanne!
Recently, I’ve started to listen to The Right to Write by Julia Cameron audio book. Ms. Cameron recommends keeping writing fun. So she has no word count goals or time commitments. Instead, she keeps herself available to the magic of inspiration. That’s what I do, as well. For late night inspiration, I keep a pen and notepad by the bed. I highly recommend both of Julia Cameron’s books–The Right to Write and The Artist’s Way.