Well, i don’t want to jinx this, but i’m back on the novel again.
If you’ve been tracking me for awhile, you know i’ve had to restart on this silly book like four times now. I think part of the problem of throwing myself publicly back into writing is i’m afraid people are just going to think i’m the boy who cried novel.
But i like doing this stuff publicly. The fear of failing publicly motivates me. So here we are.
The last big boost on working on the novel was an agent showing interest and a friend saying, “yeah you got to send those pages to her!” My friend offered to go over the first 50 pages so i got them to first draft quality and sent them to her.
But i think waiting to hear what she thought (and wanting to put all that energy into polishing the first 50 to send to the agent) left me unmotivated to go forward on the rest of the book.
[Insert long period of time and much angsting here.]
Well screw that. Yesterday (on a $10 dare with Sean Markey) i picked up at page 51 and am now to page 59. And, sure, much more of the book is written, technically, but a lot of the older stuff is crap and i consider these first 59 pages to actually be good enough to call Draft 1. There’s a lot more work to do, but this is the stuff i wouldn’t feel too embarrassed to show a first reader.
So, how am i able to write again? I’m still the same neurotic low-self-esteemy mess i was two days ago. But yesterday (along with the looming threat of losing $10) i went back to my friend Bruce‘s advice:
Break everything down into such small chunks that it’s impossible to feel overwhelmed. Stop thinking about agents and contracts. About famous friends who might look at the book. Stop thinking about rewriting the whole damn book once you finish this draft. Just write the next freaking sentence. Then the next one. Then the next one…
So that’s what i’ve been doing. I know the freaking book. I’ve been sitting in it for long enough. And i know the damn characters. It just boils down to writing sentence by sentence: Is this sentence saying what i want to say? Does this tell us something about the character? Does this contribute to the larger book? Is it interesting?
If the answer is “yes,” i move on the the next sentence.
If the answer is “no,” i rewrite. If something feels under-described or rushed, i add. If something is pointless i cut.
So far, so good. I may have to come back and read this post myself.
Expect novel updates.
Grá Linnaea, novelist.