Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Pre-writing in the Post Writing Phase?

As mid-October approaches, and I realize that I haven't finished the revision of my novel The Crystal Sword, and every day I am tempted to spend more time pre-writing for my next novel, currently titled On One Wing. I realized that I am pre-writing in the post writing phase.

What I mean is, even though I had pre-written story starts for the Crystal Sword, I never sat down and did any pre-written world-building, supportive character files, or any major plotting. Last November, I had some pre-written stuff, that I mostly ignored, and I started new and went for broke. My first draft is awesome only in that I finished it. It has some crazy plot twists, some repetitive plot twists - my character battles sea serpents twice in three chapters and in much the same way, and a romance that basically dies in the first paragraph.

So, here I am in the my revision a year later, still figuring out my world building, and still creating character profiles, and trying to give my characters a swift kick in the right direction. Plus, I cut the romance - there's 10,000 words of utter drivel completely gone.

And I have to finish this second draft in the next 18 days because I promised myself it would be done already, and . . . On One Wing is kind of a sequel. This is both good and bad.

Good - I can world build for both, and still consider it revision, as well as pre-writing.

Bad - I really should have had a map for my "world" already - it would have made the plot for The Crystal Sword a little more sensible. I have some messy ones that don't make any sense . . . and I have to fix that. It shouldn't take a two week sea voyage one direction, and only three the other way.

Good - I know some of my characters really well.

Bad - I realized that my main character for The Crystal Sword has backstory that never gets used, and also has some gaping wholes in her character file. Considering that I am working with her every day, I really should know her better. Sometimes I feel like I've just met a stranger at a coffee shop when I'm writing on my laptop. That's really, really bad.

Double bad - I like some of my "new" characters better. Leander (despite his name) is reluctant, messed up, and has an attitude - but I like him. Clara is just too goodie goodie, even with her doubts and temper tantrums. Leander runs from fights, Clara (even with all her doubts) is triumphant, victorious and all "she-ra" when a fight comes her way. And I can't seem to change her, even when I do break her sword, and bonk her over the head. And now I'm writing about them like they're real . . . a sign of a crazed writer.

But somehow, writing all this makes me just want to open up those files on my laptop one more time, and add just a bit more, finish that novel so I can start the next one.

Anyone have similar issues getting ready for NaNo? Characters that just don't do what you want them to do? Maps that don't make sense? Romance that belongs in a shredder?

Also, if you can - please pray for my friends' daughter. She had a really scary surgery that went well, but her recovery is going rough. She's been in ICU for three days now, and needs help to breathe. Her name is Jessica.

"Guard my life and rescue me;
let me not be put to shame,
for I take refuge in you."
Psalm 25:20


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Prayers for Jessica!
I planned ahead for NaNo and really worked on the world-building before I began. I already had character sheets and several were returning from the first book. It's tough to go back and add some of that later. Hope you get it sorted out.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Thanks Alex!
I think I am getting it sorted out, and I hope that I am just being too nit-picky. My beta readers (family members) haven't noticed what I feel are "glaring" mistakes, and I gave them all red pens with the directions to use them freely.

Joanne said...

Prayers on their way for Jessica. Good luck with your story. I was working on a story and then I abandoned it for a while . Now I came back to it and I feel I don't know these characters anymore! Good luck with your story!
Blessings, Joanne

Emily R. King said...

I'm in revisions, too, and I'm changing my conflict... pretty important. It's been a pain to get it all sorted out, but I think I have a game plan now. We'll see if it turns out the way I want.
Good luck with yours!

Karen Lange said...

I am not getting ready for NaNo, but I have had challenges along these lines. Wish you the best as you move forward! Will pray for Jessica.

Matthew MacNish said...

Hi Tyrean. I'm here from the Pay It Forward blogfest and I just wanted to say thanks so much for signing up!

And I wasn't following your blog until just now, so the fest is working!

Pat Hatt said...

Yeah sometimes I also start work on the next one before I should, but I still have like 18 more in my head to get down, so I keep at it and I don't plug as much as I should either..haha

Lydia Kang said...

I often have a string of good and bads just like that with my writing. Hmmm.

I wish the best of luck for your friend's daughter. How frightening.