Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Roughing it

Ah, the excitement and the anxiety of a rough draft. I'm a mess when I'm writing a rough draft, because my inner editor is constantly breathing down my neck. Fix that, it's crap, she says. I tell her to shut it and try to keep writing...but it's hard! I'm a perfectionist when it comes to my own work, right down to each sentence. If it doesn't sit right I'll rewrite it and rewrite it and rewrite it some more. Sometimes it becomes the victim of the delete button. The most difficult thing about writing a rough draft is stifling the urge to edit as I go along.

The one thing I do LOVE about writing a rough draft is the thrill of discovery. I'm not much of a planner when it comes to writing fiction. I usually get an idea and dive in and start writing. Sure, I'll have a basic idea where I want it to go. I'll know who my main characters are, plop them in a compromising situation and make them find their way out. But I don't really know for sure how it will turn out. I work out all the kinks along the way and sometimes the things I thought would happen end up not happening at all.

Then, when I'm away from my writing, I'll daydream about my characters. (Did I mention I love daydreaming? Hey, it beats the monotony of my job, and I might as well put my brain to good use...)  I'll imagine what their personalities are and how they'd react in certain situations. They'll act out a scene in my head and get me excited about  typing the words into my computer.

Then words flow into my computer keyboard as fast as my fingers can type them and my inner editor is waiting on my shoulder, saying nope, nope, that's not what you envisioned. She'll tell me I suck and that maybe I should just go have a glass of wine and zone out in front of the television and/or read through some crazy internet message boards. So I cover her mouth with duct tape and lock her in a closet. (No, she's not a real person !)

And the cycle continues until that first draft is finished... 

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