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Delete

I had another one of those writing days where I print out pages, cut them apart paragraph by paragraph, and sometimes line by line, and tape it together to try to make sense of it all.  I think I ended up moderately successful (finally) and have set aside the final read-through until tomorrow.  But this brings me to a lesson today.  Delete.

I’m sure we’ve all heard the phrase “kill your darlings” and it definitely felt that way today.  I had written and rewritten chapter 74 on Lazarus Machine a dozen times.  I had paragraphs I really liked but they didn’t seem to fit together.  I had two paragraphs I liked, but they said the same thing.  I wanted to mention this and that and the other thing, when, in the end, it all just really needed to go.  I had to delete things.

I’ve been stuck on this chapter for ages (mostly not working on the story at all because I was so frustrated with it) and what really sucks is that it’s not even a particularly important chapter!  I won’t say it is a filler chapter, but it kind of is.  The last chapter I posted ended with something of an exclamation mark, and this one is where the characters move into doing their own things.  Sherlock has his investigation and John has his medical work.

I swear, I can see the end of this story and the moves needed to get it there, but I’m just not putting in the work it takes to get it that final few steps.

At any rate, I managed to finally slice down the pages to a flowing, comprehensible chapter and not even feel the need to post things in my outtakes bin.  Yay!

On the other hand, I have only one more day left of my vacation and I am nowhere near close to accomplishing any sort of writing goal I had for myself.  It is April, and Camp NaNoWriMo has started.  Now, I’ve never managed to do anything during Camp, no matter what month.  This year, I told myself that I would take my week off and use NaNoWriMo principles to push forward in Lazarus Machine to try to at least draft through the end.  I was going to skip over where I had difficulties and press through the next chapters.  Easier to have a sloppy draft to work with than nothing.

I didn’t make that happen.  I didn’t say to myself every day that I was going to push myself to that goal.  I admit that.  I did try making myself sit down most days and focusing on it, but some days it was only successful for ten minutes, even if I was butt-in-chair for nine hours.  I am highly distractable these days.

Nothing was helped by immediately screwing up my previously reasonable sleep schedule and sleeping from about five in the morning until noon each day.  For pete’s sake.  This means that when I work at 7am on Tuesday, I will likely get no sleep at all.  Le sigh.  My own damn fault.  I’m just not a very structured individual, am I? 🙂

 

 
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Posted by on April 5, 2014 in Writings

 

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What to do?

Well, it’s October 13th, which means NaNoWriMo is about 2 1/2 weeks away.  Last year at this time, I was completely lost as to what I was going to write, having too many ideas.  I ended up starting a week late and not winning, though I put up a good fight through the end of the month.  I don’t consider it a loss, of course, because I am still working on the project and am (slowly) closing in on 100,000 words.  Actually, if I counted the extra pages I slipped off into another file for later use, I’d be over that mark.  I have, however, been lapsing on the writing altogether in the last few months.

Summer has generally been a tough writing time for me.  It’s not that I’m out doing things or anything, but more that I’m miserably exhausted and hot and can’t really manage much else with my day after work.  I gave a half-hearted attempt at Camp NaNo a couple times, but never made it much further than a day.  I can’t imagine how November works for me at all, being that work is busy and exhausting with holiday setup and such, but I can’t complain.

This year for NaNo, I’m again not sure what I’m going to do.  Again, I have several ideas.  I need to finish both Lazarus Machine and John’s Gamble.  I had hoped to have them done by now, but my emotional state has not worked out in my favor.  Job-hunting and crippling depression have been highly distracting.  My reduced work hours should give me more time to write, but it mostly just gives me more time to feel shitty about myself.

So, options on the plate include, but are not limited to: a historical romance novel that has been swimming in my head for several years now but has less than two chapters written; finishing my current projects, which, paired together, would most likely yield the required number of words; something entirely random, taking the no plot, no problem concept to its purest meaning (least likely); or devising a goal system for revising any of the prior NaNoWriMo novels I’ve written to finally end up with a relatively salable product.

Given my financial situation, the last would be the most advisable and realistic, really, since I really need to finish something, make it presentable, get to a point where I can say, this is DONE and I don’t have to consider/think/fidget/worry about it anymore.  I’ve tried this, albeit somewhat half-heartedly, in months following November, such as December, January, and Camp during the summer, but have never been quite successful at keeping to any sort of schedule.

I also fear ripping apart what I have done and stalling.  That is what happened to my very first complete novel, written in college.  I wrote steadily every week, had several hundred pages at the end, and then started to revise.  I ended up wanting so much changed upon revision, that the manuscript ended up feeling like a huge waste of time.  I’m not so sure that some of the things I wanted to change needed it (particularly in light of certain events in Twilight) but at the time, certain elements seemed childish and ridiculous (*cough*).

So what happens if I rip another one to shreds and am left with no useful scraps worth piecing together?  Should revision be this terrifying?

 
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Posted by on October 13, 2013 in Uncategorized, Writings

 

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