May 25th, 2012

ppbk cover

Writing the First Draft: Get Out of the Way!

If you were to see me around town, you might wonder what is going on with me. I might appear a bit tuned out or jetlagged or like I'm just not all there. It's because I'm not. I'm maybe one-third here and two-thirds in the world of the first draft I'm working on. Could be reversed, depends on the day. I've got one of those characters in my head that wants to have her say. She's feisty and obnoxious and has a chip on her shoulder that makes her into a pain in the a$$, and I adore her. What I love the most is that while I'm happily typing away, my brain moving faster than my fingers, planning the next thing she's going to say --- she makes my fingers type something completely different than what I'd planned. And it cracks me up! My brain keeps trying to make her more like me and she keeps laughing in my face and showing me how she really is. This is the magic of writing.

I love when a character comes around wanting to tell her story. It makes my job so much easier. I just have to get out of the way and let her do her thing. It can be a little scary sometimes -- to relinquish control without knowing where it's going, without knowing if this character can follow through to the end of a story. But at the same time, I know it will only be authentic if I let her lead the way. So chunks of my writing time are spent talking myself down, reminding myself to give her a chance to tell it her way, urging myself to keep my big mouth (or in this case, my typing fingers) shut (or still?)

Life has been hectic this week, so I haven't had as much time to write as I'd like. But my character is losing patience. She has things to say! And she is beginning to insist that I cut back on all that other stuff (life) so that she has more time. (I'm aware that this makes me sound crazier than I actually am.) But this is who she is -- a really sweet, caring kid who would absolutely despise that description of herself and would heartily disagree, who wants to be seen and heard and will stop at nothing to say her piece. So I (and my life) need to step aside and make room for her to be heard. She's on the rampage. So if you see me around town, it might be safest to stay out of the way :)