Monday, September 11

The discovery journey

This picture doesn't have a single thing to do with this week's blog. I took it because I'm trying to lose weight--again, no, still--and I was so impressed because it's the only selfie I ever took that I didn't discard from the phone immediately. Anyway, here is the "before" picture.


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Isn't it amazing how you keep discovering things about yourself no matter how old you are?

I told Nan the other day that I was going to make an attempt to write straight through without going back and changing things every time a plot point jumped into the road in front of me. It would make me faster. More efficient. The story would probably be more cohesive if I did all those changes at once. Other than going over yesterday's work when I started each day, I wasn't going to go back.

Straight through. Right.

It lasted less than 24 hours. A change in plot--minor, not major--made that leap into the road and before I knew it I was back in Chapter One. Tightening. Nipping. Tucking. Adding. Subtracting. Chuckling here and there. Taking out extra words and slipping some in that add a little poetry to the prose.

With an explosive sigh no one heard but me, I gave in. So this is what I've been doing. I won't get many words today or tomorrow because of all that fixing.

I'm okay with it. Wow, did you hear that? Did you hear me admit I'm okay with a habit I've been trying to break for 20 years? And the reason I'm okay with it is--well, there's more than one, but the first reason is that I end up with a cleaner first draft. Number two, I won't forget things or have to make sense of my system of taking notes, which involves sticky notes, emails to myself, and comments made to friends that I expect them to remember.

The third and final reason is the best one, one I should have realized before. When I go back into a story, oiling its nuts and bolts, I am reminded of why I'm writing it in the first place (other than the contract, I mean). If I've gotten a little bored with it--an embarrassing thing to admit, but true--I'm reminded of how much I love both the story and the people who are telling it to me.

So, no, I'm not going to try to write straight through. Because it's not going to work for me. How about you? What's your method?

Have a great week.



24 comments:

  1. I think your way of doing it works great! I usually have to reread the last chapter at least (and, of course, edit, tighten, trim, etc.) to get back into the character's heads and the plot. Like an "on last week's episode" refresher.

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    1. I do that every morning, too--it gets me back into the story.

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  2. I write the same way. See absolutely no reason to change. ((((HUGS))))

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    1. Oh, thank you! Now I know there are at least two of us. :-)

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  3. I write mostly straight through - I make a rough outline, and then as I'm writing I read the last scene I wrote the day before, and then start with fresh writing. Great post, Liz!

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    1. I don't know how you do it, but great for you. Thanks, Kristi.

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  4. I always write w/o fixing anything until I have to stop. But when I come back, yeah, I read through and fix typos, or other minor changes before I dive in again:) You're not alone!

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    1. There are just times in the process when I feel as if I'm swimming against the current and this is one of them. I do realize there are a lot of us in the water, but sometimes it feels lonesome!

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  5. Not sure if this is an editor/author thing or just the way I do it, but I generally write like you, nipping and tucking all the way through. Although I will say that I mostly write Saving Sarah straight through and did the nipping and tucking at the end, which I have to say was more painful than the other way, so I don't honestly recommend it. By then, the words and ideas are my story and it was harder to figure out how to change it. Make sense? Probably not...

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    1. Makes sense to me. It's when I have to "plant" plot points that I have to go back. And back. And...

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  6. Oh, I'm a ditz! I meant to say nice picture! You look terrific, but you always do!

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  7. I'm allergic to taking Selfies too, but yours looks great! As to writing methodology [is that a thing?] do whatever is best for you. Sounds like you're not happy with your current system--the emails / sticky notes sounds too unwieldy for my household. Maybe a dedicated notebook might be more manageable--especially if you have it with you at all times--won't run out of battery power and always portable. Best of luck, Maddy

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    1. The notebook is an excellent point and one I need to try. I have this book in my head (just when I thought I might retire...)and I think a spiral notebook might be just the way to get its bones onto paper.

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  8. Great picture, Liz! I pretty much hate every picture I've ever had taken.

    I think whatever works for you, works. Just go with whatever feels right.

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    1. That's what most of us do, I think, but I only do it accompanied by plenty of angst! :-)

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  9. Hi, Liz. We all have our own way. I just let fingers fly and then go back and revise, revise, revise. It's slow, but I'm happy like this.

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    1. That's what's important, that we do the right thing for ourselves. It's accepting what IS right that gets in my way. :-)

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  10. You are so NOT alone in this, Liz! I've tried both ways and I keep coming back to the 1 step forward, 2 steps back. Brains like to rework plots and characters constantly, then don't reveal them in a polite, timely manner. My friend Virgie always referred to hers as "The Writer Bitch." You have a good system...don't knock it! And the self is great, too!

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    1. Thanks, Valley. In truth, I've always wanted to be efficient--not just in writing but in life--and I'm just so...not. But I think at the age of 67, I should decide I'm all right with that, don't you? :-)

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  11. I like Ann Lamott's concept of the "shitty first draft." Get it down however you can. Revise later. So that's my philosphy and goal, but revisions call to me as I go along, and I can't help but follow....
    - Judy Meadows

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    1. Yes, what A. L. said was what I was trying to make myself do, but I just can't make myself do it. I think it's like leaving dishes in the sink--I can't do that, either! Lol. Thanks for coming by!

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  12. It seems like whatever you do, it's working for you, so why change it?

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    1. Because even though it's working, the struggle is ongoing and real. :-)

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