I was chugging along nicely with the novel for a while – it had been around three whole chapters since I last stopped and reworked half the rules of my fantasy setting – when I ground to a halt and thought: Right. Shit. This may not be working.
Hate it when that happens. Happily, after only three hours of staring into space and 507 words of notes, I was able to get back on track.
This is the fourth time this has happened since I started the book, to be fair. A couple of pauses back, I ended up moving a chapter two spaces forward and writing its replacement out of order. Also decided to introduce some extra suffering in the beginning, which needs to be woven into the rest of it at a later stage.
For the first time in my life, I have started a document with changes I will have to make as soon as I’ve finished this first draft – holding them in my memory was getting unreliable. A number of times, I’ve wondered why I’m bothering continuing writing the ending, when I know I’m going to do dramatic rewrites on the start, which may will necessitate knock-on changes to the conclusion.
I’ve decided it’s important I finish the thing, basically. I’ve seen it as advice in blogs, had it delivered to me in real life, and reached the point of agreeing. It’s psychologically useful to get to the point of “This book exists and I am tinkering with it,” rather than “OH DEAR SWEET MERCIFUL LORD JESUS I KEEP GOING BACK TO CHANGE THE START AND AN END WILL NEVER COME.”
Or at least, I’ve decided it’ll be psychologically useful to me. Your mileage may vary etc. I did briefly wonder whether the inevitable changes are so severe that I should rechristen this as Draft 0.5, but no, fuck it. That’s just dissing myself pointlessly. I’ve spent six months writing this, parts of it are pretty good, the potential is there. Be strong, Nick. Finish the book, then we can move on to the editing.
If you’re anticipating a lot of weekly WriteBlogs about editing once this draft is finished, then you are a wise reader. For now, though: I still have no story idea I like better than this one, I’m still determined to get it as good as it can be. Remind me to re-read this in January/February when the editing is beating me down.
If you want a writing-related blog by me with less stream of consciousness and more lists/jokes/focus, I did a blog on the Tuesday Serial site recently about my adventures in awkward webserial marketing online – try that. Also, no, little mention of NaNoWriMo in this blog besides the title. Not worrying about word count much at the moment, sorry NaNoFans. Maybe next week.