I’ve been watching all the posts on Facebook and Twitter with pictures describing the frustrating life of a writer. I have to say, I can identify with most of the frustrations. Stereotypes have a way of ringing true, even though we hate to have anything reduced to them.
As far as informal classification of writers goes, I’m what is known as a pantster. There are planners and pantsters. Planners work with outlines and such, planning and creating plots in advance for their creative works. Pantsters, on the other hand, write by be the seat of their pants (trite I know). How about we call it making things up as we go along? I don’t depend on pre-planed outlines or work with a map in mind. I caddiewomple. (Great word, isn’t it?) It means I travel purposely toward an as yet unknown destination.
The result of which is this. When I work through the rough draft, I’m excited. I want to find out what my characters will do. I watch the story unfold as the typing proceeds.
The entire draft is a matter of discovery — waiting for things to unfold like a young flower. I watch my fingers create the story.
It sounds almost creepy.
I know I have a good character in the making, or a working ensemble when they start telling me what and how to write. I do love it when that happens. It sounds crazy; maybe this is one of the things that lends credence to the thought that all writers are crazed fools who barely have a grasp on reality. Dunno.
I do know that I have an enormous amount of fun waiting for things to unfold. Pleasure in this spot in itself is not so different from the preponderance of writers. I’m not alone in the enjoyment of the rough draft. We all have fun.
Now please don’t jump to the conclusion that my days are pain-free at this stage. They are not. However, I will say that during the rough draft, my eternal quest for the perfect word is somewhat lessened, but this draft is more for situations, plot, and digging my characters into and out of trouble.
As I said, the bottom line point is this – the rough draft is fun.
After the rough draft comes editing.
Several of my writer friends loathe this part. Editing is the point at which we throw things away and cut stuff out, all because the words don’t quite belong in this particular work. Many writers wail, ululate, and lament how unfair life is that they have to hack away some of their best work. But they must keep in mind the truism, “If life were fair, there would be no surgery.” Hell, I will go even further. If life was fair, I would be six feet tall, devilishly handsome, and have a dimple in my chin. I wouldn’t have grown older either.
But alas, I’m not; not this either; not even a hint of one. And son-of-a-bitch, I did get older. So cutting I must go, yes editing I must go, high ho the dairy oh …
The difference in me, compared to other writers, is this. While it does pain me to scribble and scratch-out the dead passages from my manuscripts, It enthralls me with how my Work In Progress (my WIP) reads once I toss out those words. One of the constants in my world of writing is this: my craft always flows better after I go a few rounds with a professional editor.
Oh. I’m not there yet. I’m still talking about self-editing.
Anyway, during the editing portion, I dive deep, looking for that perfect word. What I love about this part is my WIP takes on more vibrant color and fleshes out more. All this to help the readers envision the things I’ve written. There is a by-product at this stage; I learn new words and increase my vocabulary. Words have always fascinated me. In the next edit, I tie-up lose ends and close any open plot loops.
The last self-edits polish the work, and then it’s ready for me to send off to an agent or professional editor. More magic happens with them. These people are vital to the success of any written project. Their fresh eyes, along with their massive intellect and incredible insight, help me reach the vision I had throughout the project.
After all their fresh eyes dissect it, the work may be ready to publish, and I loved every step in the process.
I am at this point with my next novel, The Great-Zero Sum. I am so close that the cover reveal is going to be this week. I love the cover, and I think you will too. The only people who have seen so far are the designer, Jojo W. Shelly, and I.
So, stand by. Big things are happening – I will reveal the cover and then comes release day.
The Great Zero-Sum Is on the way!
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