Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Writing updates

I broke the twenty-thousand word threshhold today. The story's moving along very well, even if I am writing more slowly than I want to. My husband peeked at it the other day when I left it up on the computer and he commented that my writing is tighter this time around. I suppose that's good. Word count is important when you want to sell a book, but for the writer (or this writer, anyway) how it's told is more a concern.

I don't have a lot of patience with people who talk about the characters in the books they're writing like the characters have a will of their own (So-and-So just took over the story and refused to do anything I told them to do). If you aren't controlling where you're going to some degree, if you don't go into it with a plan and then roughly stick to it, the story will (almost invariably) fall apart before the half-way mark. That may not be as much fun as imagining that you have multiple people running around in your head, but it's far more honest and realistic. People who are a million times better writers than me, not to mention a million times more published, will tell you that writing is work. Often a work of joy, but work nonetheless, with good days and bad days, days in which it's easy and days where it feels like all you're doing is typing, but you forge ahead anyway. If you wait for the mood to strike, you wind up with an inconsistent mess or lose the thread of what you're doing and waste valuable time trying to track down the plotline again.

But I do get the "supernatural" aspect of this writing thing--the "right brained" part, that is. And I do occasionally find myself writing in surprises, though it's generally a matter of "Oh! Yeah! That would be a good idea!" and the idea leads the story off in a slightly different direction than I'd originally planned. But only slightly. That happened this time in a big way. I'd been fretting about a part of my plot that felt cliched, but, as the scene unfolded, I spotted a better way to handle it. The other thing I'd been concerned about was writing the same book twice. We've all read a series of books where, by the fourth book or so, we know the writer's formula so well we can predict what's going to happen and when. Again as I wrote yesterday's words, I spotted a huge answer on the horizon that resolved the entire concern. People who read the first book will think they know what's going on, but they won't.

Meanwhile I'm waiting to hear from four agents. One of them is just past their own "three month response" mark so I guess I'll give them to the end of the month and inquire about my work. That one makes reference to an overworked assistant so perhaps that's the problem. I keep scanning my inbox and my spam box in hopes that some response (Preferably a positive one) will appear. The first two or three agents who rejected my queries, responded within a month (one within hours, one within two weeks). So I guess the good news is that the last batch of queries didn't stink so badly that they were kicked out immediately. (Actually, at the risk of sounding arrogant, I know they didn't.)

Yeah. Lets go with that.


Scotty said...

Glad to hear it's going well and good luck with the agents.


Hal Johnson said...

What an illuminating look at your own writing process.

I think that many many would-be writers don't really grasp the need to accept that writing is work. I know a guy who makes a living as a free-lance here in my town, and he says, "Everyone wants to be a writer, but few are willing to actually sit down and write."

debby said...

I can't wait to see how this all turns out for you.

Mary Paddock said...

Thanks everybody! :)