Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Intimidating? Not really

Unhingey once asked me and Kaige if we didn't think we were over-analyzing the writing process. I some ways I do, and some ways I don't. And maybe that makes me wishy-washy, but in some ways, I can see where looking for answers has become Galahad's Grail quest, and maybe that's why so many of the Stallings have Arthurian names. I haven't found my Grail yet.

There is no one way to write a good book, no magic chalice. It's hard, slogging work, and everything looks like hell. When it's bad, just the thought of sending it to Cowboy makes me cringe.

People say a real writer doesn't need rewrites or edits. But that's not true. Rewrites are where it all comes together. Every bit of craft and technical know-how goes out of my head during rough draft. Only the things I've forced myself to remember--that have gone back brain--stick. Like check your outline and make sure if you skip a scene you leave a note. Don't overuse the same kind of sentence structure. Tags that end in "ingly". Had. Misplaced modifiers.

When I'm done, I can look back and say, damnit--my under structure went MIA and everyone is running around in blue screen. Not intimidating at all, just long and hard.


Unhinged said...

Some people like the (frick, I can't spell the word--anal-i-zay-tion) of the craft. Like you and Kaige (and editors, I suspect).

Some people like to jump head-in. Kind of like me, only with a pseudo outline of sorts. For the most part, I just like to sit and write and see what's going to happen. Give my brain free reign.

It's when I start thinking too much, and too long, that I run into problems. I tend to over-complicate things.

That's why I think I'm best at writing a craptastic first draft (worthy of the best bulimic), and working with what I've cranked out.


Some people spend more time BEFORE the actual writing, some spend more time AFTER the actual writing.

I wonder if you were presented with two stories, an example of each, if you could tell which was which. You know?

Kaige said...

Probably not, Andi. =)

I'm not a real jump-in kind of person. I learn best by doing, fiddling around the edges, but I also have to know WHY I'm doing or should be doing things a certain way. I'm not a trailblazer.

I want to finish this rough draft I'm working on and then let it sit for a while again before looking at it.

Bria mailed the copy of Revealed she scribbled all over this week and I haven't really looked at it since I finished it back in November. Can we say anxious? *gulp* Just make sure I have a nice basket ready for my first submission.

The "rewrite" process is going to be an interesting one with Revealed. I already know some fixes that need to be made, but discovering the others, especially through Bria's fresh eyes, is going to be a trip.

I've heard the saying "There are no good writers, just good re-writers." And I think that's partially true to be wishy-washy as well (Hey, I'm in good company!). I think rough drafts can come out well, but they'll all probably benefit from a round of polish.

Now... I do think you can polish the life out of something too. The trick is knowing when to stop and release it.

I'm rambling so must go sleep now.

jodi said...

...the two of you stay up late, lol. And here I am just shutting down to go off and write.

I dunno, Unhingey. I'd expect both versions to be about the same, just skewed in time placement(like you said)

Trust me, Kaige--I polished and polished, and got to the point where I was getting ready to shut down my HC file. You're right. There needs to be a stopping point. I can see it plainly in other people, but I can't see it in myself. It's why I have Cowboy--so he can tell me to back off.

Alice Audrey said...

Ditto. I've never had a manuscript I saw no need to change, just manuscripts I was no longer willing to deal with.