Monday, December 27, 2010

My Writing Process--Riding the Groove

Woo hoo! Finally the writing mojo is back and I hit my stride again, wrote 2,500 words today. This book's been a little slower in getting started than projects in the past. Probably b/c I jinxed it by breezily saying to others, "oh, I write books fast, most of the last book was written in a month." Yeah. With this one I've barely been keeping up with my word count (I set a goal of 1,000 words a day). [Side note on word counts: Some people hate making word count quotas for themselves. I've heard some authors say it makes them produce the required amount of words, but then later they just end up cutting most of it! Not so for me. If I can push through a scene or two, it's usually a usable first draft.]

But still, it's been a bit like pulling teeth, until today. I'm finally IN the story enough (third chapter) where I'm familiar enough with the characters again and the words and scenes flow out like smooth, smooth butta. It's a good feeling, because I was afraid I'd lost my magic. Lo and behold, it just took two weeks of getting back in the writing groove to find it.

Really, what it took was getting excited about the story again. I'd outlined this book, and it's the second book in a trilogy, which I've never done before. I've written about 4 1/2 manuscripts before, but each time I started a new project, it was totally fresh, with new characters that were jumping like popping popcorn in my head to get out. With this one though, I'm picking the story back up that I'd brought to resolution in the last book and having to work hard to build up fresh tension and interest--both in the story itself, and in myself FOR the story! But it's like I finally reminded myself why I loved these characters in the first place, all their many complexities and quirks that made me so interested in them as I created them in the first place. And their relationships with each other, which is really when the pages start to fly.

The writing process itself is a little hard to describe. We writers keep trying to explain it, and I imagine it's different for everyone. For me, pardon my mysticism, it's kind of like magic. Not like there's some divine aura or muse directing my words or anything. I use the word "magic" to mean that it's just something I don't really understand. When I get in the groove, I lose sense of the world around me, what's playing on my mp3 player, how far down the page I am, page count, etc. The scenes happen. I look up, realize seven songs have played on the album I'm listening to and I've written a bunch of pages. Magic. Like dancing or any activity where you lose sense of time and are totally absorbed in the moment and the movement without thinking ABOUT what you are doing. You just groove.

It took two weeks to catch the groove again, and I only get one more week to spend before I have to put the book down again. I'm taking Agent Dude's advice, and am not going to put a lot of energy into this one till Book 1 sells. But still, I'm giving myself another week to luxuriate in it. After that, it's time to put this away, then turn to working on my thesis. My advisor said she needs to start seeing chapters by the end of January!

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