Pacing

Well, here I am again, having spent the whole day up to this point (the ‘day’ starting for me at around 3pm, ugh) not doing any work on Tallulah. So let’s fix that.

Now, I know what I have to do, and I was going to write about it and repeat myself all over again like I’ve been doing for the past week or so, talking about all of these things I’m going to do, but instead I’ll save you all the time and just inform you that I worked it out:

  • My deadline to finish the Tallulah Triumvirate – write a ‘what I’ve got’ proposal for draft 2 tonight, then write a list of all the things I want to have happen in the story without worrying about how, and finally to re-read and make new notes on beta reader feedback – is the 3rd of July, which is when I’m seeing the graduate adviser at uni to discuss study things.
  • Then after that, I’ll have – in theory – the three pieces of the Triforce necessary to awaken the Seven Sages, who will grant me the magic meter necessary to draft Proper Proposals for draft 2 from the 3rd of July, and once semester begins – on the 22nd – draft 2, the actual writing of, will commence.

And that’s the plan. That’s the whole plan. It’s done. It’s set. It’s official. The loop has been skipped over.

Now to talk about Writing.

~~~

Writing those two scenes out of my head the other night gave me an exciting and dangerous new idea, which is to just do more of that instead of writing the ‘what I want’ list. Exciting because it felt SO GOOD to write new stuff, dangerous because, well, it felt so good to write new stuff, and it could easily end up derailing me. So perhaps I can pick scenes to write from the list of stuff that I want to include in the story – or, to be more accurate, stuff that I like the idea of including in the story. That way I need to write the list regardless of whether I write the scenes, and if I do want to write scenes, I am allowed to – once the list is done, or at least while it’s getting done.

And again, I’m not going to worry about how it might or might not actually work; I’m just going to get it all out of my head so that I can process it better, as is my general drafting strategy, and it’s worked pretty well thus far.

What I noticed, though, while trying to write my draft 2 proposal, was just how much of this new stuff was creeping its way in, and that’s part of the reason why I stopped; it felt gunky and messy, and I didn’t want to continue with something that had been, for lack of a better word, corrupted. I lost focus and got distracted, as I did when I started writing chapter summaries. The past two days, while I didn’t get a whole lot done, I did at least spend detoxifying my workspace (read: brain), and that was worth the halt in productivity – although I’d say getting your workplace in order if it gets messed up is productive.

And part of the reason for this new stuff creeping in was an issue of pacing.

Just restricting myself to writing up a proposal for draft 2 based on what I’ve got to work with, without adding in anything new, means that I can see where all the gaps are that need to be filled. That was the original plan, but the more I started investing thought into these exciting new possible things to happen in the next draft, the more I lost sight of that original goal, hence the ‘corruption’. Makes sense, right?

In other words, what I was trying to do was make this proposal make sense in terms of pacing, and how it flowed. Which is, like, fair enough. At this point I was thinking of this as being the be-all and end-all of my draft 2 proposal, because I had tunnel-vision, so the whole thing about leaving in the gaps to see where they needed to be filled up was totally disregarded – until today, when I looked it over again, and realised that I’d done it.

It wasn’t unintentional, either; I remember thinking ‘well something needs to happen here‘ and then putting in an idea for a new scene to act as a bridge, and that’s the point that I do want to get to – after I’ve written the Bad Continuity version. And the list of all the new things that I think are really shiny and awesome, most of which will probably not make the cut. But you never know what you’ll need until you don’t have it. Or something like that. Actually that’s very fatalistic; let’s not go with that.

The urge to make things look right on the page is really not something I can ever hope to get away from – and I don’t want to. At some point down the road, I’m going to be completely relying on exactly that urge; it’s just a matter now of learning a bit of impulse-control. And making notes for this ‘indecent proposal’ (references to movies I haven’t seen used as puns for the win) as to where the gaps are and how much they annoy me, because coping  mechanisms are important.

It feels really, really unintuitive, even thinking about doing things this way. But I think it will be useful to do. The operative word here being ‘think’, but still, I at least know the theory behind why I’m doing it, and the theory seems sound enough to me. It’s just getting it done that’s always the hard part.

But also the fun part. Important to remember. Writing is, in fact, fun for writers. Who knew.

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