Took an extra couple of days to get around to write this blog post while trying to (still) diagnose this vexing wifi problem that I’m having with my router. I’ll update you on the status of the problem at the end, but this particular problem has reminded me of something very important: the greatest piece of advice ever given to me (and sort of my unofficial motto)–if it ins’t broke, don’t fix it.
There was nothing wrong with my old router. I just happen to live in a city with ridiculously fast Internet Fiberoptic speeds (for a reasonable price). My old router (manufactured in 2006) worked just fine, but it was unable to allow me to access all of the blazing speed of my service. The new router has new tech and specs that will allow me to access much more of the speed (although still not all of it as my 2008 computer can’t access the highest wifi “a/c” spec needed for the fastest speed). But this has been a nightmare to get working.
Surprisingly, though, the feeling of frustration is familiar. It is the same feeling I get whenever I try to attempt a novel. Nothing that I do works when I try a novel. Every strategy that I’ve read or come up with on my on doesn’t seem to translate into a longer form work.
My writing process is dead simple. I start with a TITLE. To me, the title is like a “seed” or a “vision” of what the story is going to be. whether I write long or short, creatively or academically, 99.9% of what I write starts with the title.
Then I move on to the ROUGH DRAFT. This is where I “tell” myself the story from beginning to end. Doesn’t matter if I don’t know character names, place names, or anything specific (I just use placeholders such as “the knight,” for instance), all I need is the Plot (events) that I want to specifically remember to put in the story. It reads like a stereo manual. Blank did this, Blank did that, so on and so forth . . . no dramatization at all.
After that it is the WORKING DRAFT. I call it a Working Draft because it is the draft that is a “Work in Progress.” It may (or may not) end up being the final draft of the story, but the ultimate finished story will look a LOT like this draft. This is the draft that gets the dramatization. This is the draft where characters become set, emotions are acted out, and where the action follows the old writing cliche’: Show, don’t tell.
Lastly, I finish with the EDITED DRAFT. I shy away from using the word “Polished Draft” or “Final Draft,” personally because even when done, it seems like there’s ALWAYS one more error to find and corrected, or that even after I’ve submitted it, there are changes that I really want to make in the story. An Edited Draft (for me) means that I’ve pretty much gotten the story “locked” down the way I want it (it matches on paper the idea that I saw in my Mind’s Eye) and ALSO that I’ve edited it and made it as free of mistakes as I possibly could. This is the draft that I send out to editors.
Somehow, I’m NOT following this procedure for novels. I’m getting the Titles down just fine (I’ve got at least 10 good possibilities for really evocative stories/story ideas based on cool titles). Somewhere I’m getting lost between the Rough Draft and Working Draft phases. I have the whole idea for Project Skye written out on the Notes app of my iPhone, but the chapters are getting off base. For instance, in the rough draft, Skye is in a massive dogfight with pirates, but in the chapters she’s running away from the pirates. I NEED her in the dogfight for the events to unfold so that she can get to a “floating city,” but with her running, the plot doesn’t work and she has NO reason to go to the city. Somehow, I’ve messed up from rough draft to working draft and I don’t know where I went wrong because this doesn’t happen when I write short fiction. When I write short stories, I write in Sections. Sort of like mini-chapters because each of the sections usually has its own title. These sections give my stories a “wrapper” as it were and gives me an idea of what will be going on in each section. Not sure how to do this in long form writing, yet. How to give my longer writing some sort of “wrapper” so that I can complete it and join the ranks as a published novelist?
Not sure yet.
2015 is the year where I challenge myself to figure it out! 🙂
WEEKLY WRITING UPDATE
- New Short Story Started – HawkeMoon (Tentative Title) – Rough Draft (done), Working Draft (In Progress)
- New Novel Idea Started – Project Star – Rough Draft (In Progress)
- New Novel Idea Started – Project King – Rough Draft (In Progress)