by Susan May Warren
I wrote a novella in one week a few years ago. 31,160 words. That’s over 5K a day. Now, here’s what we all have to keep in mind – many of those words had to be rewritten or deleted. I had to go scene by scene and make sure I’d inserted storyworld, and the 5 Ws to anchor the scene. I had to ask what the main emotion of the scene was, and how to strengthen it. I had to tighten my writing, make it clearer, make sure I hadn’t overwritten.
I had to make sure I was telling the story between the quotes, and that I was wrapping up my dialogue with the right meaningful action and body language, adding zingers.
And, I had to make sure I all the ingredients of the Scene Tension Equation.
All these things are in my brain as I’m writing, trust me. But, if I want to forge ahead and give myself something to work with, then I have to be like Dori in Finding Nemo.
Don’t look back. Forgetting everything but my goal….reaching the end. (or, P Sherman, 42 Wallaby Way)
But how do we keep that focus? I know it can be hard, because even in the middle of a scene you suddenly think: WAIT! I just came up with something BRILLIANT and I need to add it into chapter 3!
No. No you don’t. NOT YET.
OR, you might get to the middle of your story and think…wait! Is this really going to work? You’ll be tempted at this moment to stop your fast drafting, go back, read through your story, and start over, fixing it. After all, you know your character so much better by now, right?
Speak these words into your brain: Don’t worry (Susie, but feel free to insert your name here). You’ll fix it AFTER your fast draft is finished.
In the meantime, here’s what you’re going to do:
You’re going to write down what you need to do either in the comments of your WIP, or in a notebook – or wherever you choose to store your brilliant ideas. (Wouldn’t it be great if we could use a Pensieve, like Dumbledore? But short of that…a notebook would work…)
You might also write a note to yourself in the MS, like, “Insert Storyworld Here.” or “Deep Emotion here.”
Basically, you’re giving yourself permission to just keep writing.
Here’s another fun trick I do to motivate myself. I write each scene in a separate word doc. Then, I combine all the scenes into the chapter at the end of my daily writing session (which gives me my daily word count).
THIS, I post on Facebook, to my friends, shout it down to my family and wait for the cheering.
Then, I take that chapter and paste it into my master doc. It calculates my total word count for my WIP.
And that reminds me that if I just keep swimming, I will eventually reach P Shermon, 42 Wallaby Way.
Go! Write something Brilliant!