The Perils of Sprinting

I tend to write in sprints. Get a wild hair – you remember my wild hair, don’t you? – and I’m off and running. So it was no surprise to me to realize that the other day I had written 6k words on the new novel. My most productive day during NaNoWriMo saw me write 14k.

I was pleased with what I had written. Parts of it were delightful to me, but most of all I had put in some good work toward getting my main character’s voice down. As you can imagine, that’s pretty important when writing first person! I knew I’d have to go back and rewrite some of it already because developing the hang of her voice had taken some time. The earlier parts of the writing didn’t quite have the feel they needed. All part and parcel of the creative process.

Something was whispering in my ear, though. As I wondered what it was, I opened my browser to catch up on tweets and such. There it was, no longer needing to whisper. @Bubblecow had tweeted a link to a blog entry titled “Avoid Tunnel Vision” by Jordan E. Rosenfeld. Busted!

I had written 6k words toward a great exercise in getting to know my main character: her voice, her back story, her desires. Some of it was even good enough to stay in the book itself. Most, maybe, in the long run. However, I hadn’t paid attention to building the scenes. Focusing on getting ahold of my main character had cost me detail in others and most notably the conflict each scene needs. I hadn’t kick started the book with something attention-grabbing.

What could our heroine do, dear Reader? She laughed. She shook her head. She opened a new document.

Oh, I won’t get rid of a word I wrote during my sprint. In fact, I’ve already used several portions of what I’d written that first day in the new document. I’m still writing at a pretty good clip. I don’t really know any other way to write! I have slowed down a bit, though, and I take more breaks to read what I’ve written. I try to evaluate it using the guidelines in that article. It’s not completely new advice, but it is well laid out and was a good kick in the seat of my pants.

And so, after a false start, I’m off and running again. The bouncy ride I promised has begun.

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