“Productive” Writing Days

Man TypingNot all productive writing sessions are about scenes and dialogue flowing from fingers flying across the keyboard and ending with a huge word count. Don’t get me wrong–I do like those days. But word count is not the end-all be-all for a novelist.

COVER COMPLETE WENDALL'S LULLABY 2The completion and publishing of Wendall’s Lullaby was originally all about exorcism for me–casting out the demons of a nearly complete but unfinished work that had been languishing for nearly eight years so that I could justify starting a new writing project. But completing the novel reawakened my interest in and enthusiasm for the subject matter and the characters. The re-discovered notes for a sequel only compounded those feelings.

So on the blank backsides of scrap paper I started fleshing out the old and new characters. I outlined–some. Before my outlining–my story arc–was complete my enthusiasm got the best of me and I sat down at the keyboard and started writing. To say I was “in the flow” would be an understatement–easily writing a few thousand words each session. I hit a bit of a block at about 35,000 words, did a little research and brainstorming and did well until I hit about 45,000 words. Then I struggled again–getting to the just-under 50,000 word mark before I realized my ideas weren’t fully developed beyond that point.

The realization came as I tried to write new scenes and kept having to retreat to the last few new ones I’d written–and rationalizing that my little tweaks and additions to those were “progress.” It was, but not what I needed to start flowing through the last third of my story.

Delphys Rising screenshotToday I came to grips with that realization and rallied to spend most of my writing session in my head–alternately sitting at my desk scrawling notes, pacing through the house, staring through the trees swaying in the wind and taking some photos of the cats. My real breakthrough came early on–digging through notes I’d buried during last week’s cleaning of my office and finding a page scrawled with potential plot directions and twists. Viola!

While I know that some of the directions I’ll be going in the last third of the book will require some rewriting of previous chapters and scenes to add the needed nuances, I’m going to resist the urge to jump back and instead press forward until I reach the end of the first draft.

I’m just happy that I didn’t let myself get caught up–or caught–today by the need to conquer a certain word count. Instead I managed to step back and have a conceptually productive day that will lead to future days of flying fingers.

~ by kipwkoelsch on April 11, 2018.

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