drafting · Genres · Writing

I’m Not Dead!

Really! I’m not!

What I AM is really, really busy.

I’ve completed 2 Shitty First Drafts so far this year. They’ve been cooling their heels for a month, and I’m going to start revising them on May 7th. In the meantime I’ve been working on a 3rd Shitty First Draft…I’m ALMOST done with it, but it’s going to get set aside next week because dudes, WIP 1 and WIP 2 are calling my fucking name, and I gotta answer. I just gotta.

Anyway, I don’t have much time, but I did want to pop in here to share some of my recent findings.

1-This is the first time I have ever attempted working on multiple projects at once and I FUCKING LOVE IT!!!! I know “juggling” is a thing a lot of writers do, but I always assumed that it would be next to impossible for someone like me who works a full-time job and only has time to write on the weekends. NOPE! For some reason, it made it EASIER. Whenever I got stuck on one of the WIPs I just switched to the other one. It took me so much longer to get tired/bored/blocked, which made me SO MUCH MORE PRODUCTIVE. Now, that was just for the Shitty First Draft phase…we’ll see how this works out during my revisions, which are typically “work for 8 hours and then realize I haven’t stopped once to eat or drink or even pee.” I’m planning on working on one book on Saturdays, one book on Sundays (but swapping which is which every weekend just in case there’s a day I work better). I’ll let you know how it goes.

2-I tried something previously unthinkable to me, and…it worked out pretty well. So, if you’ve read my previous posts, you’ll know that I have a big ol’ boner for research. I love it. It’s like my favorite thing EVER, aside from actually writing. And USUALLY when I would decide to start working on a book, I would first figure out all of my plot points, and do a ton of research, and etc. etc. But I realized that this method was making me too plot-heavy. I was making my characters do things not because it was organic to them as people, but because I had this Really Cool Plot Point (TM) that I wanted to hit, and they needed to do something specific to get there. Sooooo guys? These Shitty First Drafts I’ve been working on since the end of December? I didn’t do any research. I figured out the plot at the MOST BASIC LEVEL and then just………….wrote. It was fucking terrifying. It felt like deciding to go on a jungle adventure and buying a sloppily-patched rubber raft and not much else…and then I’m happily paddling down the Amazon river, slowly sinking, realizing that fuck…I don’t have any FOOD…and then I get speared in the face and have to administer some pretty heavy first aid with only banana leaves and spider webs. At least, that’s what it felt like while I was writing. Once I was done, the brainstorming hit like a Category….11? Is that a thing? (I’m from Southern California, so I have no fucking clue). I made a ton of notes, and now I am so energized to start my revisions it’s ridiculous. I’m going to have to see whether this translates well to the rest of the process, but for right now I have characters that made most of the decisions instead of maybe 5% of the decisions. It’s insane. I love it.

3-Another favorite thing of mine to do was to read a bunch of books like the one I was working on. I saw it as an inspirational thing, but I didn’t realize that it was bogging me down. This kind of goes hand-in-hand with the no research thing, I guess (so you’re really only getting 2 revelations instead of 3…personally, I’d ask for a refund. This is NOT the amount of revelations that was advertised). But ultimately…and this sounds super obvious to the point that I feel stupid admitting I didn’t know this before…GOOD WRITING is more inspirational than sticking within your genre. Stupid-obvious, right? Right. But like…I don’t know, I always had this THING where I wanted to see what’s been done before, so I could do it differently. Then I realized: it doesn’t fucking matter! I’m gonna do things differently ANYWAY, because I am a different human than the humans that wrote those other books. So instead I just read whatever, and found some AMAZING stuff (Six of Crows oh my goooooooooooosh) and it fueled me, made me try harder, fired me up, forced me to think differently. My Shitty First Drafts were BETTER because of it. YAY.

Some other super random thoughts I’ve been having:

-I love love love traditional quest fantasy as a READER, but…guys…I don’t know if that’s who I am as a WRITER, anymore. I used to think so, but these SFDs are not fantasy at all, and I’m having SO MUCH FUN. So I’ve been re-evaluating my writerly identity a lot, and realizing that it’s stupid to try and label myself as ANYTHING (like “I am a fantasy writer”) when really I’m just going to work on whatever I feel like.

-The above has made me a better writer. Turns out having fun is super fucking important. Did you know that?

Okay, that’s it for now! See you in another few months, probably!! Happy writing!

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