Tag Archive: editing

Endings and such

I don’t know if it’s aftereffects of the blarg or numbing effects of too many hours of chippercheery Christmas music or dulling effects from too many hours saying the same things over and over and over, but I keep thinking of things I should write or desperately want to write only to sit down at my computer hours later and think “fuck it. I’m tired. Imma read instead.” So I do.

My brain, meanwhile, goes wheeling off in weird directions at the worst times. Question: when is a good time to come up with a fun backstory idea for one of the worlds in the novel? Answer: not while in the middle of cutting dividers to stick between wine bottles so that they don’t clink. And not when in the car driving (though this is inevitable, I think), nor when some customer is regaling me for twenty minutes about why education is important (though that was a fun character study), nor when I’m in the shower (again, probably inevitable), nor when I’m attempting to fall asleep (*definitely* inevitable). I’d be fine with all of this if I could just remember it when I got the computer so that I could scribble notes down. I have three files open at all times: the main novel file, a file of notes on the world/characters, and a file of plot notes – theoretically, all I have to do is click to the write file and start babbling. So if I could just get the timing better, I feel like things would be working out a little more than they are.

I have figured out that I have a problem with endings. Like, I’m not really sure how to get them to function correctly. It’s basically like this (I should stop using the word like!): I’m all ready and raring to send the characters off on Final Rollicking Adventure, but I got to thinking about it. What, exactly, is the point of Main Character finding out the information she finds out at the journey’s end? And I’ve thought through it and thought through it and thought through it, and I’m not sure. Like, I’m not sure exactly why what she’ll find out is a big deal to anyone but her – it would certainly change her, but it wouldn’t drive a plot so much.

The result of my angsting over endings is that I’ve decided to complicate a whole bunch of stuff to see what happens. Like MC is the subject of a prophecy at the moment, which makes her Object of Interest to the Powers That Be. But prophecies and Chosen Ones only work if done right (seriously, I just mistyped that as “write” – I NEED SLEEP) and I don’t think I figured out enough backstory on that before plunging into NaNo. I’ve been thinking through it and thinking through it and I know I’ve had all kinds of glimmers of ideas but no idea if I’ve gotten to the right one yet. And I’ve let things be way too easy for MC – she’s generally been able to find people when needed, had no problem getting around to find info, whatever, which is unacceptable. It’s not that I think she needs an unmanageable level of hell to deal with, just that I’ve let her deal with some situations far too easily.

And I think that writing in First Person Present Tense really works beautifully for one major scene. The rest of the time, anything that’s happening could just as easily happen in past, so I need to flip tenses on the rewrite.

To sum up: I need to figure out a bunch of stuff so that I can finish the draft so that I can tear it apart and rewrite the vast majority of it. However, I refuse to rewrite (edit, dare I call it?) until I’ve finished a draft all the way through. I think I need to have a completed draft so that I can remind myself, when in the middle of rewriting and all that, that I really can get through it.

I recently linked to Reasoning With Vampires under my lulzy linkage because I read a few of the sentence autopsies and about choked from laughter.

A couple of days later, I’m considering moving the link to the writers’ resources area. That blog is, in some ways, the best sentence-level writing instruction I’ve ever seen. She points out the flaws, the unnecessary words, the repetitive headdesks, the needlessly purple prose with an endless supply of snark, so that I keep reading and laughing and reading more. The best thing, though, is that while reading I notice things that I do in my own writing. I think reading chunks of Reasoning With Vampires before going into major editing fits will be immensely helpful as a reminder of what I’m looking to cut.

And then through all of this, even while laughing my ass off, I find myself feeling a little bad for Stephenie Meyer – honestly, it’s gotta suck to have someone combing over your writing and mocking it at a sentence-by-sentence level. Like, mortifying. I recognize that being an author means having to have titanium-level, unbreakably thick skin, but still. Ouch.

But still, I laugh. This potentially means that I’m a bad person and I should feel bad, but I’ll survive. It’s funny.

ETA: I *am* a bad person. I just came across this picture in Reasoning With Vampires:

I effing HATED Huck Finn.

I *did* hope that someone would catch that truant little fucker. And most of the time, I kinda wanted Jim to get sent down the river.
Reader, I suck.

ETA 2: I wanted that to happen to Jim not because of what it would mean to him/his character (which would be getting shoved back into slavery, which would be no-lulz terrible), but because it would give Huck nothing noteworthy to do, which would mean that THE STUPID BOOK WOULD END. Honestly, my main reaction to Huckleberry Finn was to read on in hopes that Huck would drown in the Mississippi.

Which lead me to think about plotting. It’s not actually at all easy: just figure out what needs to happen to make the book end (i.e., let “someone [catch] that truant little fucker”) and prevent that event from occurring. Simple, non?

I’m thinking plotting because I’m thinking about NaNo often. More on that at not-1:30am.

I’ve been trying for two nights now to write a rough draft of my entry for Steph’s blogfest. I’ve been getting nowhere thanks to the deadly combination of fussing over every word and overthinking every detail. I was beginning to wonder if I was going to manage to write anything at all, fearing that my first blogfest entry would be some sort of pomo-bullshit “this is a blogfest entry” accompanying a picture of some text or some such nonsense.

And then, as I was sitting here, beginning night three and feeling already frustrated, it occurred to me that I ought to try what I’ve told others to do, and I popped onto Dr. Wicked’s Write or Die. I told the program 800 words in 45 minutes. 42 minutes later, I have exactly 1000 words of rough draft. I had to write: when I didn’t, IT RICKROLLED ME.  Bastard.

It badly needs tightening, I haven’t figured out a good name for any of the three characters, I need to cut some dialogue and spend a few more moments narrating. But here’s the thing:  I can do all that in editing. And now I have a draft, so I actually *can* edit it.

Glee! Productivity feels lovely.

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