Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Striking the Right Balance

I originally thought of titling this blog post as "Finding the Right Balance", but chose not to because finding assumes you know what you did to get there. Whereas striking to me seemed more like a metaphor for playing music and knowing when you've hit the right note.

Like most of you, I struggle with balance. The demands on our time can be overwhelming; if it's not your job, your spouse, your kids, home ownership, or just the desire to flake out in front of the TV and watch an episode of Supernatural because you feel like it. And there are those days when you feel like you've struck the right balance, done just enough of everything to make everyone happy, including yourself!

And there are those other days where you can't get to everything and can't make everyone happy, including yourself. You can't linger on those days. Reset yourself and focus on the next day perhaps starting with the items or people you couldn't get to.

With my writing projects, I feel the same way. I can spend a narrow window of time writing and really feel accomplished whereas another time I can spend hours struggling and end up giving up, questioning if I have what it takes to be a writer. Keep both of those kind of days in mind. Savour the good ones and work your way out of the tough ones.

Just keep writing, keep those fingers moving on the keyboard and you'll find your way.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

A few thoughts on tackling second drafts

There's the notion that you'll clean everything up in the second draft. I'm writing the second draft of my novel Spirit Quest and I'm finding that it is indeed when you clean everything up, but I never expected to be cutting so much material and rewriting. Perhaps this effect is due to the NaNoWriMO process, which I treated as getting 50,000 words on the page.

I've had a secondary character push herself to the forefront of my story and demand to be cast as a co-protagonist. Rewriting the early part of the story, she fit more naturally into the story and seemed like the perfect character through which to introduce the supernatural. One of my alpha readers also raised this issue as a concern as the main protagonist doesn't really come into play until chapter 3 and is first seen through that secondary character's pov.

I'm not really fighting the process. It's evolving and I'm writing my way out of it. I never expected the second draft to be as volatile as it is. As this story is meant to be the first in a series of novels with these recurring characters, it's actually added more fun to the concept in that it doesn't all have to revolve around one character and each character can shine at different points in the overall story structure.