Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Slow down, girl, you're going too fast!

Well, I can't say today's writing went badly. I wrote almost 3000 words in the end. 

My heart wants to go on, because I am this *pinches index finger to thumb* close to an important event in the story. As in, it should happen in the next scene. 

But, something bad is going on. My heart also wants to rush to the event, brushing past everything that still has to happen before the event can take place. 

So, I've let my brain pull the brakes for today. 

Someone once blogged about the fact that the rush was getting to him. That he had to fight the rush in order to let the end of the story do the rest of it justice. 

I have to admit that I used to think that he was over-reacting (if you're here, guy who wrote about this, I'm sorry), but I've started to feel the stirrings. That knowledge that I am the closest I've ever been to a real completed novel. 

I say this, because I'm over half way now at 46k words. The Doorways rough draft was only 42k words. 

So, yeah, completing this rewrite is going to be a major accomplishment. And I want to have been there yesterday. 

Because of that, story elements might get lost. Because I will get ideas for subplots that I should add in (i.e. more scenes from Darrion, Gawain and Ward's view point.) If I leave those scenes for the edits, I'm almost guaranteed to forget them. And they're important, not so much to only the story, but they set up the next three books. 

So I can't just leave them alone and rush to the end. After all this time of fighting to keep all the strings in hand, I can't afford to slack off on them now. I can't sell out on myself now, when things are picking up and racing to the end. 

I need to keep control over the Beast. 

So... have you ever gotten to the second half of the story and felt the urge to rush to the end? Did you? Did you regret it? Or did you get stuck in the middle? (I hear that's a common affliction among writers.) How did you get out of it?        

22 comments:

Michael Offutt said...

To combat the rush I usually just go ahead and write that part (skipping ahead) and then fill in later when I'm calmer.

shelly said...

I have to agree with Michael. Also, just write the end of your story and go back to fill in the rest. Works like a charm.

L.A. Colvin said...

I think it depends on where you are in your wip. If it's your first draft then by all means skip ahead and write your candy bar scenes. If your in revision....I don't know. I think I would slow down and write linear. With that said my current first draft is a hodge podge of candy bar scenes with nothing to stick them together and I kinda wish I went scene by scene.

Laura Josephsen said...

I actually talked about this just this morning on someone else's blog.

There are some particular events that I REALLY want to write (because they are fun, exciting, or I'm really looking forward to them) and sometimes I will hold off on some of these to give myself something to look forward to once I've written the more mundane stuff.

However, there are plenty of times when a scene is so strong in my head, and I want to write it so desperately that I will. Sometimes these scenes aren't going to happen for chapters and chapters, but they eat away at me until I write them. Or I want to write them because what if they're not quite as strong later? If I have the words in my head--if I know exactly how I want a paragraph to sound, for example, I'm going to write it down right away so that I don't lose it.

I know that there are people who only write in a linear fashion. I often write in a linear way, but I have found that writing future scenes can help me immensely. They can help me see what a character is going to look like half a book later. This often gives me a point of growth. I'm like "Okay, this is where my character is now--this is where they are going to grow to. How do I get them from point A to point E?"

On the other hand, there are some scenes I write for later that end up being completely irrelevant by the time I get to them. I don't ever count these as a loss, though, because these scenes helped me learn more about my characters and my writing.

I keep a separate file when I'm writing. I have my main novel file, and I have a file labeled "excerpts." Anything that I cut from my story gets moved to the "excerpts" file, because I've found plenty of times when I needed a paragraph or a sentence from something I cut, and so I try to save everything unless I'm positive I no longer need it. Anything that I write that doesn't yet go in my story, but will later, gets put in the "excerpts" file.

So far, I haven't gotten stuck in the middle doing this. I've learned enough over the years to know how I write, and to know which scenes I want to save (so I can look forward to writing them, as a kind of "reward). You'll figure out what works best for you, too--and it might be waiting, or it might mean writing ahead a couple of times and seeing if that helps you develop your characters earlier on.

I'm sorry, that was SO much longer than I meant it to be! I hope some of it makes sense. O_O

Steph Schmidt said...

I actually froze up for two weeks before writing the end scenes. I had so many things to wrap up, and sub plots to resolve that I just mulled over it in my head rather than sit down and try to write anything. It bugged my early reader to no end. They constantly asked me how does it end, how does it end?! I just didn't know, when I finally sat down to write so many things turned out differently because of the mulling compared to my early outline.

Stepping back is essential to make sure you're ready to write not just one emotional arc but all of them.

Cherie Reich said...

I've rushed things before and never got back to fixing them properly (generally with short stories), and it never works out well. If you can fix it later when you calmed down, then I think you should consider what Michael said. If not, then take a break, breathe, and return to it. :)

Connie said...

You really have to find what works best for you. I know some writers go ahead and write the "hot" scenes and fill in the rest later. And it works well for them. I can't do that because frequently the mundane things in between change what happens in the "hot scene." In my case, the changes are always for the better. But that's not the case for everyone.

Sorry, that doesn't seem too helpful.

Carol Riggs said...

Absolutely, difficult to slow down! But I did once and ended up having to add 3K words and 2 scenes in the end because I rushed the resolution (and the climax even, a bit). My last WiP drove me crazy cuz I WANTED to rush but forced myself to take it slower. But at least it all got in, that way. Good luck!!

T.D. McFrost said...

Well, I have the opposite problem. I have an ending to rewrite and though I know what to write, I just don't feel like it.

Am I the only one?

I'm so tired all the time and I find it difficult to write. Any remedies?

Bryan Russell (Ink) said...

Nope, beginnings kill me. Get that gorilla off my back, and I find it much easier to march on to the end.

Shayda Bakhshi said...

I got stuck at the almost-but-not-quite middle. I wrote a scene I thought had no business being in my novel, had a mini meltdown, and worked on something else for a month.

When I got back to it, I realized the scene was spot-on, and from there on out it was 2-5K a day.

Wish I could say the same for THIS WIP. Congrats on the word count, too! It's always nice to get some good words under your belt.

M Pax said...

Yes. More so with short stories than novels. Weird, huh? With a novel I can have patience. I tend to lose it easier with shorter works.

3,000 words is great. You go!

Louise said...

I rush, and have to remind myself it's not a race. But my worse trait is doing too much at once instead of concentrating on one thing I try and do several and end up getting in a right old mess!

Crusader saying hi. Pop over to mine. I've a competition going on.

Sarah said...

I often feel that urge to rush. Sometimes, I even write a pivotal scene and then fill in the blanks before that. I thought that was weird until I attended a writers' workshop on plot where the presenter encouraged folks to do just that. Good luck--it sounds like you're making incredible progress!

Trisha said...

I know the feeling of being over-eager - I am that way too! ;)

Elaine AM Smith said...

If you are on a flow, I think you should enjoy the rush. Don't drop the threads either. Maybe just make notes when you think of them so you can add elements in revision. The thing I learned is that the end of the first draft is the first third of the work you will be doing on the novel.

Theresa Milstein said...

i know how you feel! My rough drafts are always too spare, and I need to fill in the details later. in fact, all of my previous rough drafts were spit out in a matter of weeks. The one I'm working on now if the first one I'm taking my time with. Let's see if it pays off.

Good luck!

Maria Zannini said...

If I'm on a roll, I will not slow down. If it means I have to rush through the manuscript to get the passion in, I'll do it because I can always go back and fill in the gaps in the rewrite.

But...if I'm in a rewrite, I slow down. I savor every scene because I want it to be important to the reader. If it's not, then it doesn't need to be there.

Follow your gut. Do what's right for you.

Hart Johnson said...

My first draft almost always has that rush in the end. I let myself do it and then try to fill in the necessary extra on the rewrite. Good for you being able to put a pause on it!

stickynotestories said...

When I'm close to the end of a story I always want to rush ahead and just finish it already. So I'll end up with quite a few rushed scenes that need major editing, or even just some dialogue thrown in as a place marker so I can hurry up and write the ending. But I try not to skip ahead and leave nothing leading up to the last scene, because then I might completely forget how it all does lead up :)

Talli Roland said...

I hear you on the rushing! I always need to tell myself to sloooow down. Story of my life!

Misha said...

Michael, I usually do that too, but I can't afford the risk this time. The Beast will eat me if I let it. Skipping ahead will be like tenderizing myself. ;-0)

Shelly, I do a version of it, (writing the end in my head before I even start), but too much has to happen before I can actually pen the end down, because the stuff I need to write can have an effect on the finer points of the end.

Lisa, I'm doing rewrites, looking to fix the things that affect flow and confuses the story... So I have to write linear. :-)

Laura, your excerpts idea sounds awesome. I only keep my old drafts and leave every subsequent scene as is. I.e. When I write a scene, I consider it set in stone until edits and revisions. Because I have too many strings to hang on to to chop and change often. My story is built like a domino path. Everything I do has an effect on everything else. Besides, I find that my first attempts are better than the fifth self edit. For now... But yeah, what you said makes perfect sense. I will definitely keep excerpts files handy in my other WiPs.

Steph, I can see how mulling things over can have an effect. I think I'll give myself a week just for the last scenes. (My crit partners are at least two parts of the story behind me, so they shouldn't even notice.) ;-)

Cherie, that's what I'm afraid of. I already going to have spent three times as long on the first half as the second. I can't just rush like a crazy person now, because then I won't do the end justice.

Connie, I'm just like that. Those "mundane" scenes are what makes the exciting things possible (even three books from now...) :-)

Carol, I think things will be a lot easier for me in edits if I just keep my head now. I'm trying to add layers to everything. Rough draft was the bare bones. Rewrite is to add story/drama/characterization/conflict. So I can't just rush the end, because if I do, I'll have to add the above when I was supposed to be polishing to a shine. :-)

T.D. That happened to me before I started the rewrite. I just lost that passion needed to write the story. I spent two days on other stories. It just gave me the boost I needed for my mind to place everything just right for me to start. Maybe try it. :-)

Oooh, Bryan, nothing as daunting as the very first page... :-)

That's awesome, Shayda. I hope you hit the right scene on this WiP too. :-)

M, I think it makes sense that you find short stories more difficult. Novels sort of breed patience on their own. After all... how could 80k minimum not make one at least a little more patient to get to the end?

Hi Louise, that's the reason why I backed away from two other first drafts. I really want to get Doorways done to the best of my abilities. I will definitely head over to your blog now. ;-)

Sarah, I sort of do that too, although I don't put the scenes on paper. I just use them to guide my story in the direction I want it to go. It would be too easy to get lost otherwise. :-)

Glad to hear I'm not alone, Trisha. ;-)

Good point, Elaine. I'll keep it in mind. :-)

Theresa, I hope it does pay off. I found that taking my time on draft one saved me a lot of time on the rewrite.

I do it exactly the same as you (or should I say trying?). I usually wrote massive chunks of rough drafts at a time. But for the rewrite, I'm trying to go slower to add more meaning.

Thanks Hart! :-)

That's why I'm trying to go slow, Rebecca. It will be months before I get to those scenes again. I'll have forgotten the lead ups by then. :-)

Hahaha good luck with the slowing, Talli. ;-)