Friday, July 07, 2006

Goals and Goblins

I finally crossed the theoretical three-quarters mark in the first draft yesterday. Yay me!!! 60k down, approx. 20k to go. Shit. That's still quite a ways to go.

I wish I was one of those fab jackrabbit writers, the kind that can sit down and pound out a first draft in two months or less. But I'm not. I'm an agonizer, a double-thinker, a perfectionist. I'm working on that. And it's a good thing, 'cause the first few chapters? They're pretty damn cringe-worthy.

Setting goals is a good thing for me - as long as I'm willing to move the goal posts early and often. I started out with the (for me anyway) ambitious goal of 2k words per day. And it worked. For a few weeks. And then it didn't. So I said to myself, "Self, you're freaking out. Let's do 1k a day." So I did, and it went swimmingly for about a month. And then I got stuck. I wrote an emotionally tough scene and my mc stopped talking to me. (No, I'm not crazy - at least, not like that - I know it comes from me...oh, never mind, either you get it or you don't.) Anyway, for two weeks I had nothing. It totally sucked. Back on schedule again, but sometimes I could only get a few words down. Then another stoppage - more of a crisis of confidence because I hadn't the foggiest idea of what was going to happen next. As in no clue at all. And that was kind of scary. No story, movie, song, whatever is as scary as my mind's ability to mess me up. But the past few weeks (before and after TFest) I've been working pretty steadily and got a little over 10k done. Not much by jackrabbit standards, but pretty damn good for Angie standards.

And that's pretty much how my process has been. So today, I'm still going "wahoo!" I'm also wondering what the hell's going to happen next. I'm getting a little more comfortable in the land of "I don't know," though. Still freaks me out, but sometimes it's good to get freaked. Right? Right!


At 8:46 AM, Blogger Sandra Ruttan said...

Hey, congrats on getthing this far! You go girl!

At 9:19 AM, Blogger Bill Cameron said...

If I set a goal, I miss it. And I'm a noodler too. I have stared at a single sentence for half an hour, change a word, change it back. Agonizing. Then I move on. Two days later, I delete the sentence. But then I have to

I'm also not a rigorous outliner. I know broad strokes of where I am going, and I have a target that I'm aiming for. But the steps in between? Uh. Um.

And the end? My current WIP is at about 45K, though that doesn't count the 15K worth of scenes that come later which may or may not make it into the finished draft. I can imagine being able to see the end some time around the end of August. But my progress often feels like Xeno's Paradox brought to life.

To answer your question, yeah, I think it's good to be freaked out. The one time in my writer's life when someone asked me where I get my ideas, I said, "Pressure." A little desperation can be a great motivator, I think.

At 9:21 AM, Blogger Bill Cameron said...

Oops, I forgot to finished a thought.

"But then I have to...stare at the sentence that replaced it for half an hour...and so on."

Doh! ;)

At 10:53 AM, Blogger angie said...

Thanks, Sandra. I'm working on the whole "celebrating milestones" thing, rather than the "oh shit, why isn't it finished yet."

LOL, Bill! I can totally relate to the not-quite-right sentence & the urge to poke at it over and over again. Again, really working hard to just let it go and get through the draft. Pressure's good, but too much of it (always self-imposed) leads me to freeze up. And that's not so guido.

I'm not really an outliner, either. I have a general idea of the overall arc of the story, but in between major points is a whole lot of ummm, and then what? That's the super scary place for me, trumped only by the character shutting up and leaving me dangling.

Who'd a thunk it? A keyboard and twisted imagination is way scarier than any amusement park ride!

At 9:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can relate to the stops and starts. Thinking you've got a method only to have it screw on you. And agonising every step of the way. Still that's a huge achievement and keep inching along. It's the only way to do it.

At 2:09 PM, Blogger M.E Ellis said...

Awww I wish I was you! I'm 25 into 80, thinking, 'I want to stop, I'm bored!'

I hope I get back into it Monday!

Good luck with finishing!


At 5:09 PM, Blogger Elizabeth said...

After writing non-fiction for so long, the sound of not knowing what's going to happen next in your own writing sounds kind of good!


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