[NOTE: This is a slightly updated repost from the original Dreamwidth entry from Wednesday night.]
I’ve been thinking long and hard about my writing lately, especially in regards to what processes have been working and what have not, and how to minimize the latter.
One thing in particular that had been bothering me was the fact that I had two projects in a row — the Apartment Complex story and now Can’t Find My Way Home — stutter to a halt, and both for the same reason. And that reason being that it just didn’t feel right. I know, I know…that sounds a bit silly and I’m probably talking out of my ass, but at the same time, the last two projects — Meet the Lidwells and In My Blue World — did feel right to me. Instinctively it felt like I was doing the right things, going in the direction the story needed to go.
Now, I knew it wasn’t just because of the story I was writing. Both ideas have a created world that I could have a lot of fun with. And I’ve definitely had my moments of the Don’t Wanna’s and the Oh God This Sucks with every project I’ve ever worked on, good and bad. But there’s so much less drama with those two well-behaved kids. So I had to really think about it — WHY was I having drama with the AC and CFMWH?
And then it occurred to me: maybe I need a change of platform.
Yes, I know, on the face of it, that sounds like one of the worst and lamest excuses I could come up with, but hear me out.
As you all know, Bob, I’ve been writing the first rough drafts of the successful stories in short bouts on 750Words. And all the rough outtakes of the AC that were well-behaved came from there as well. They were working well for many reasons:
–I’m always writing at a specific time.
–With each session, I’m writing a complete or almost-complete scene arc, which also sets up the next scene arc that I’ll write during the next session.
–I’m focusing only on the scene at hand. The novel-as-whole is secondary here.
–I’m allowing minor editing as I go, when I know that I can write something better.
–Each scene or partial is on its own screen; I can only access the other scenes by backing out of the one I’m currently on.
–I need to hit at least 750 words before I can call the session done for the day.
–These sessions are often very productive, as well as fast. And quite enjoyable nearly every single time.
And then I realized: This is the exact same process I used when I wrote The Persistence of Memories, which I consider a personal benchmark. Slightly different platforms, but the process was the same. It was enjoyable and exhilarating to write because I’d laid all those ground rules and stuck to them.
So I thought: what if I set up another 750Words account? I’d follow the same leads as above with whatever second project I happen to have going. This can be my evening writing session. MS Word would only be used for localized save points, revision, rewriting, formatting, and other post-production work.
So that’s what I’ve done, starting it Wednesday night.
And I started it with another trial run of the Apartment Complex novel. Despite my frustration with it over the past few months, my brain returned to it at least once a day. I took that as a sign that I should definitely return to it as part of this newly-implemented process. No giant outline, but just enough pre-planning to know where I need to go for the next couple of scenes.
One entry at a time, enjoying the moment.
Here’s to hoping this works!