Rusty Fork VIII: Nearing the End and Looking Forward

Rusty Fork VIII: Nearing the End and Looking Forward

I have around 20,000 words left to write on my current draft of WCAG. In the grand scheme of things and looking at how far I’ve come, that is not a lot of words, but they are some of the hardest. All the pinning and pissing and lallygagging have led to these words.

I’ve been calling my current draft the second draft when really it’s more like draft 1.5. In January, I was stir crazy and decided to print off everything I had written. I felt like I was walking around a dark cave, bumping into rocks and swiping at unseen bats. I needed to shine a light on my progress. What I found was horrifying:

Boring chapters that led nowhere. Two useless characters eating up scenes. Plot that needed refining and motivations that needed a kick in the head.

I started over with the plot. Dissecting and rearranging scene by scene, trimming the fat, and sewing it back together. I noted the holes and the sore spots. I immediately cut two characters and about 20% of the writing without a second look.

Then I began the current draft. It’s a better draft. Not perfect. It’s still its own monster that will need to torn apart again, but it’s more cohesive and more to the point I’ve been trying to make all along.

For the first time, I feel like I’m coming to the end of something. I’ve started and stopped projects before, but nothing as ever been complete–only glimpses into imperfect daydreams.

I need a plan of attack…

Here are some of the writing goals for the coming months:

  • Finish my “second” draft around 100,000 words

Duh, this one is a given. I have a set a deadline of May 1st, but deadlines are always meant to be broken. I want to finish this draft as soon as possible, though, because I’m starting to grow restless. I have other stories I’d like to plot, but I don’t want to spend too much time on new projects when this is still unfinished.

  • Find a critique partner

This might be the hardest thing on the list, and I still have no idea how to find one. Any suggestions?

  • Take a break!

Read. Relax. Don’t think about WCAG. Stop it! Stop thinking about it! Let it simmer.

  • Take a mini writing retreat to review my second draft and make a game plan for the third

I want to take a solo writing retreat in Hickory, NC. In previous Rusty Fork posts, I’ve mentioned that the town in my story is based heavily on Hickory, NC. I’ve done research on a bed and breakfast in the area, and I would love to take that time for myself when I read through my second draft. I don’t want any distractions. Being at the location of my inspiration would also spark some much needed mood.

  • Vlog more of my writing experience 

I’ve already started this one! This will not become a weekly thing, but I would like to vlog my experiences whenever I’m feeling motivated because I have found others’ vlogs motivational to my own work. I would like to help entertain and inspire others. It would also be neat to have for the future reflections, as well.

So there is a simple list of some short-term goals.

It’s important to remember that the end of the second draft is not the end the story.

It’s all an endless pursuit of artistic endeavors. I can strive for something, though. I can polish the story until it shines, until the surface is clear enough for some reader to see something of themselves on the pages.

I have to make a human story out of a monster.

How hard could that be?

Link to Previous Rusty Fork Posts

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Rusty Fork VIII: Coming Back from a Break

Rusty Fork VIII: Coming Back from a Break

I began the initial outline of my current WIP in November of 2016 and started writing shortly after that. We are now entering November 2017, and I stand at 70,000 for the first draft. Based on the scenes left to complete, I have around 10,000 words left. Maybe. It’s hard to tell sometimes.

This is just for the first draft. I know there is a lot of work that needs to be done. Some of the first scenes I worked on will need to be completely overhauled for a more cohesive plot, but I am not discouraged. I have tried my best not to think about everything that needs to be re-done while there is still so much that needs to be done.

Every writer’s process is different. I think that is the hardest part about getting writing advice from others because everybody has their own way of doing it, and that is part of the journey–discovering your way or faking it until you make it (and even faking it once you make it).

In the Nanowrimo world that we live in, it appears you should have a first draft in 2-3 months. Which is mind-boggling! I know there is that fear of letting your story go stale. Trust me, I was fighting that fear through most of the spring, but I have discovered I am a slow first drafter. My work, lifestyle, and mental/creative abilities don’t allow for breakneck-paced writing. This could be seen as an excuse. “You should write everyday.” “Find the time.” I get it. If I was writing full-time, I could probably turn out a draft that quickly. If I wrote during the work week instead of going home to watch Real Housewives every evening, I’d probably be more productive. I’m trying not to focus on the ifs right now. I’m trying not to compare myself to other writers.

I moved into an apartment with my boyfriend around June (yeah! for taking the next step and boo! to rent). My WIP sat, abandoned, in farthest corner of my mind it had ever been. My WIP was malnourished. I thought I was losing it like so many story ideas before. But I learned to feed it. Slowly but consistently. I listened to the playlists that once inspired me. I reread scenes, so I could fall back in love. I wrote out notes to plot solutions that were plaguing me from the beginning. I researched topics that I found interesting. I wrote on work nights. (Gasp!) Maybe only 100-200 words at a time. I wrote writing prompts from the POV of my characters, so I could find their voices again. Like I said, everybody is different. I’m not sure how to tell if a story can be resuscitated after a break, but I did it because I have believed in this story from the beginning. More than any other story before it.

Coming back to a story after a break is much like coming back from a break in any relationship. You have to work at. It cannot be forced. Don’t force yourself to be happy with a story you don’t believe in anymore, but remember, if you still feel it, deep down, you can climb out of any hole, like Samara AKA that chick from the Ring movies.

Other Rusty Fork Posts:

Rusty Fork I: The Why

Rusty Fork II: Strength

Rusty Fork III: The Tools

Rusty Fork IV: Location, Location, Location

Rusty Fork V: Character-sitter

Rusty Fork VI: CAMP NANOWRIMO

Rusty Fork VII: I failed CAMP NANOWRIMO

 

I am not doing NaNoWriMo

I am not doing NaNoWriMo

Liz, you haven’t posted anything the last two weeks. I know! Jesus, you don’t have to remind me of my failures or shortcomings. I am going to be completely transparent here. I have not been reading the last three weeks or so, and because I have not been reading, I have not been inspired to write posts about books. Honestly, I have been fully engulfed in the story I am planning. There have been highs and lows. There are days of brilliant inspiration and days of utter shame and despair. I had a spark of an idea during a run back in April or May. I thought about it all night, and I wrote out a 5 page outline of what was swimming in my head. I then immediately forgot about.

In July I started thinking seriously about my idea again. I plotted out some more, I wrote a few scenes and shared them with family members and friends, and I wrote a lot of back story to this thing that has taken over my life. I will admit I have been harping on the back story the last two weeks, and it has hindered my creative juices. I’ve spent so much time trying to figure out all the plot holes that I haven’t written anything. So I am going to combat this beginning November 1st.

photo-on-10-29-16-at-11-08-am
“That’s why her notebook is so big. Full of secrets.

The title says you aren’t doing NaNoWriMo. I know this, and you really are a smart ass, do you know that? I am NOT doing NaNoWriMo. I know my daily schedule. I know my mental capabilities and stress levels. I know that I will not complete NaNoWriMo. I don’t think it is a defeatist attitude. I think I have a realistic grasp on my writing habits, and I do not want to set myself up for failure. I am very serious about this story. It is something I want to pursue full heartedly. I have true faith in it. I think the spirit of NaNoWriMo is amazing, though, so I want to be part of it in some way. There is something wonderful about so many people starting projects at once and lifting each other up, so I am going to force myself to stop planning and second guessing and start WRITING on November 1st. I have set a more realistic goal of 50,000 by the end of the year. I think it will still be a challenge but more acceptable to my lifestyle. I am not going to be utilizing the NaNoWriMo site, but I have signed up on MyWriteClub.com which is a simple, social media site that allows you to keep a word count of what you have written and set goals. You can also follow friends, and see their goals and progress. It really brings out my competitiveness, and I think it will be a great way to keep me accountable. You can follow me here.

I will end this post with five things about my story:

  1. It follows three best friends.
  2. One is gay.
  3. One is bi.
  4. All three are female.
  5. One of them beats the shit out of a man while completely naked.