Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Get it down, then get it right

“Get it down, then get it right.”

It’s probably the single best piece of advice I’ve ever gotten about writing.  What a shame I can’t remember where I got it from.  It’s also a shame that I seem pathologically unable to follow it.

I’ve gotten a whopping 20 pages “completed” in Book 2.  I’m not even going to go through the traumatic effort of naming it yet, because I suck at naming things.  Frankly, I don’t need that kind of aggravation right now.  Not while those 20 pages are stinking up my universe.

They stink because this is a sequel, and I’ve never written a sequel before, and all the backstory is pissing me off.  It’s clogging my literary arteries like a lifetime of chili-cheese fries, but it’s necessary.  I know that.  I know people will be confused if I come out of the gate with “Anaiiya flew off into the sunset.”  What?  Who?  She flies?  Why does she fly?  NO!!  (Slap)  That’s a BAD writer!

Ugh.  So I try to push through, dribbling some backstory in here, a little exposition there, a physical description somewhere off to the left, I think I’m on a roll…and then I make the mistake of re-reading it. Grief, despair, and self-hatred abound.  And yet I have to re-read it, because I don’t remember what I’ve already said.  And then I hate it, and spend an hour trying to rephrase everything and moving paragraphs around until I've forgotten what I'm doing.

I’m halfway to pulling a Paolini and just making the synopsis of Book 1 into a prologue.

You know what…no.  Not gonna be a Negative Nancy three days into a perfectly innocent month.  I have 20 pages done that I only hate sometimes, I got a "good" parking spot today at work, half the yucky things from last month have been resolved (sort of), the weather is still mild enough to keep the air conditioning off, and bin Laden is still dead.

I knew this was gonna be a better month than April.


  1. Ugh...I know the feeling. I tend to write down a mess and then try to fix into something wonderful later.

    And yes, May is off to a wonderful start.

  2. I know exactly where your coming from. A lot of writers suggest avoiding what you've already written for that reason.

    And please please please don't turn into Paolini. Pretty please with sugar on top!!!

    Sequels are NOT easy to write. I gave up on Duality's and now that the ending's all different, then almost everything I wrote for book 2 was moot. *Anger* But you can do it, Beckah! I have faith in you!

    And I HAVE TO KNOW what happens to Anaiiya, darn it. After reading your synopsis, you CANNOT NOT WRITE BOOK 2. I will whip you with the writing whip if I must. ;)

  3. Hi Beckah =)

    Why don't you write a series bible? It's tons of helpful. Take a look how Nathan did it: http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2010/05/series-bible.html

    And hang in there. I'm sure May will be way better than April! ;)

    - EEV

  4. Yeah, you just made me realize that I haven't put an ounce of back story in the sequel I'm working on... luckily I'm only about 12 pages into mine.

    So, thank you! You just saved me the frustration of getting half way through the book and having one of my CPs point out that I need to rewrite the beginning!


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